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Product Details

CategoryCDs
ThemeBands
GenreBlack Metal
Media formatCD
Media PackagingJewelcase
Available since 03.05.1999
Product code410464

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Combining black metal influences with an ambient backdrop, Summoning have created something truly special here. Never the ones to sound predictable or similar to their contemporaries, Summoning proudly walk down their own path of musical genius. This type of music can't be faked, the emotions and atmospheres that Summoning create are unparalleled on any release thus far this year. Soaked in keyboards, _Stronghold_ is one of the better albums I've heard to fully utilise them. At times majestic and at others chilling, an entire spectrum of emotions are explored in the full hour of music here. A sure top 10 entry of 1999 in my books, Summoning's new piece of work won't go unnoticed in the black metal / ambient scene. This can't come more recommended.

As is to be expected, the lyrical themes for Stronghold are largely taken from various Tolkien works, most notably from the Books of Last Tales, although some are drawn from other sources; "Like Some Snow-white Marble Eyes" is taken from a poem by Robert Frost called "Stars" and "The Glory Disappears" taken from William Wordsworth's poem "Lines Left upon a Seat in a Yew-Tree", the lyrics for any given track often being taken from more than one source ("Rotting Horse..." takes some lyrics from Tolkien and some from Wordsworth, for example).

Stronghold is a powerful and evocative album full of wonderful melodies and memorable chorus' but I feel it is not up to the same standards of LMHSYF and Oath Bound, both of which defined epic keyboard-driven metal, but at the same time it is superior to Dol Guldur and Minas Morgul due largely to the excellent vocal melodies, memorable choruses and cinematic scope and feel of the tracks. Of course these qualities were evident on the earlier albums, but from Stronghold onwards Summoning were a much more focused band and their songs became tighter and more cohesive making for a better realized experience — the tracks don't seem as drawn out as those on Dol Guldur, and Stronghold is a more satisfying listen because of it. By the time Stronghold has finished you feel as though you have embarked upon and returned from a great journey, one that you will want to repeat, or perhaps parallel by launching straight into LMHSYF.

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