I heard a couple of great Summoning inspired bands back in 2021; Norway’s Urdôl Ur and their debut, Seven Portals To The Arcane Realms and  Withered Land‘s The Endless Journey. But nothing so far in 2022.

Enter Hungary’s duo WitcheR, Lélekharang (‘Soul Bell’) which is unfortunately not based on the Andrzej Sapkowski books or Henry Cavil show, but based on Hungarian folklore and myths and delivers a somber, almost doomy take on Summoning’s epic keyboard drenched atmospheric black metal with 4 rangy songs, an intro and a cover of sorts.

Much of the excellence contained on Lélekharang is due to the keyboards of Karolina Gere. Not to discredit guitarist, drum programmer and vocalist Roland Neubauer, but Gere’s haunting and utterly beautiful synth work is what drives the mood, atmosphere on the album with wondrously gloomy allure. And like Summoning, the programmed drums are a bit flat and the simplistic riffs played by the guitars a bit thin, but Gere makes it all worthwhile.

As while Summoning certainly is the primary influence, just imagine if they were a bit more bleak and even more somber and not having some of the triumphant brass tones or choirs that Summoning use. Just listen to the haunting despondency of “Hamvak” (‘Ashes’) or the 10+ minute title track with some truly haunting piano work.

And like Summoning, they occasionally up they pace just a little to a steady, double bass plod here and there as heard on “Csendesen” (‘Peacefully’) or “Hazatérés” (‘Homecoming’),  though still steeped in Gere’s majestically morose synths, especially the last minutes of “Hazatérés”.

The ‘cover’ that closes the album is not what you’d expect. It’s Beethoven’s “Midnight Sonata” and simply meant for Gere’s simple, dulcet piano work and its a fucking perfect end to the album.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
December 5th, 2022


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