Summoning - _Nightshade Forests_
(Napalm Records, 1997)
by: Henry Akeley (8.5 out of 10)
According to band member Silenius Gregor [see CoC #18], this thirty-four-minute MCD will conclude Summoning's reliance on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien as a main source of lyrical and musical inspiration. Hence, the music presented here is faithful to the tradition begun on _Minas Morgul_ and refined on _Dol Goldur_: stirring, layered compositions which evoke the aura of fantastic places past and far away. "Kotirion Among the Trees", "Habbanan Beneath the Stars", these songs and two others weave together emotive, dominating synth lines, buzzing backline guitar, mostly laid-back beats, and black metal vocals which blend eerie whisper and lonely rasp. As always, the music is crafted and constructed with considerable feeling and skill - and without reliance on a bunch of "true unholy" cliches. It's great stuff from start to finish, with "Kotirion Among the Trees" easily taking its place as one of Silenius and Protector's most stirring songs yet. "Flesh and Blood" is cool, too - hell, they're all cool. All in all, I think that _Dol Goldur_ still represents the pinnacle of the band's work so far, but _Nightshade Forests_ is a greatly enjoyable set of songs nonetheless. (By the way, the -song- "Nightshade Forests" from _Dol Goldur_ does not appear on this disk; all the material here is new.)

(article published 14/7/1997)

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