I have...I have been a sword in the hand and
I have been a shield in the fight and
I have been the string of a harp and
I can shift my shape like a god!
Summoning was formed in 1993 by drinking buddies Richard Lederer, Michael Gregor and Alexander Trondl, who met in a pub
in Austria. They secured a deal with Napalm Records in 1995 and released their debut Lugburz
, a traditional Black Metal
album that was quite different from their later projects.
Shortly after recording Lugburz
, Trondl was kicked from the band for being "a commercial-thinking asshole". Lederer and Gregor continued as a duo, and instead of getting a new drummer changed to keyboard percussion to produce a more epic, atmospheric style. They combined this with low-key guitars and multi-layered synthesizer and keyboard melodies mimicking a full orchestra, while retaining the growling vocals to produce what would become the trademark Summoning sound. Most of their lyrics were inspired by the works of J. R. R. Tolkien
, with some songs taking lyrics straight from poems/songs in The Hobbit
and The Lord of the Rings
. Some of the songs on Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame
are also inspired by the works of Michael Moorcock
They released five more albums in this style: Minas Morgul
; Dol Guldur
, which put more emphasis on more complex and melodic guitar work; Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame
, the first album to feature clean vocal sections; and Oath Bound
, characterised by relaxed, arpeggio-style guitars.
Since Oath Bound
, both members have taken time out to work on other projects, with Lederer working on music for a full-length release while waiting for Gregor to finish recording the next album for his solo band Kreuzweg Ost.
They announced a comeback in 2012, and the new album Old Mornings Dawn
was finally released in summer 2013.
Their current line-up is:
- Richard "Protector" Lederer
- Michael "Silenius" Gregor
Former members include:
- Alexander "Trifixion" Trondl - Drums
- Ray "Pazazu" Wells - Guest vocals on Lugburz
- Tania Borsky - Guest vocals on Stronghold
Their discography is:
- Lugburz (1995)
- Minas Morgul (1995)
- Dol Guldur (1996)
- Stronghold (1999)
- Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame (2001)
- Oath Bound (2006)
- Old Mornings Dawn (2013)
Summoning and their music provide examples of:
- Badass Boast: Farewell
- Bilingual Bonus: Usually from Tolkien's Fictionary.
- Black Speech: Mirdautas Vras
- Concept Album: All of them.
- Doing It for the Art: As is common for black metal musicians. They fired a drummer for being a "commercial-thinking asshole". They don't perform live, and once they have finished the songs they never edit or play them again, focusing on next projects instead.
- Ending Theme: Farewell was used for the closing credits of Damnatus.
- Epic Rocking: Most Summoning songs clock in at 7 minutes or more.
- Fanfare: Mirdautas Vras is a rare example of a villainous fanfare, and qualifies as Crowning Music of Awesome. Listen here.
- Bauglir might count as a fanfare as well.
- Garfunkel: Averted, as both Lederer and Gregor provide the vocals for different songs.
- Genre-Busting: After Lugburz they went from Black Metal to...atmospheric metal? Epic metal? Ambient metal? Summoning still classify themselves as "black metal" and most people go with it just to simplify things.
- Grim Up North
- Heavy Mithril
- "I Am" Song: Farewell
- Indecipherable Lyrics: Most of the tracks from Lugburz qualify.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: The cover of Mortal Heroes.
- Instrumental Theme Tune: Each album traditionally starts with a short instrumental piece.
- Looped Lyrics
- Lyrical Dissonance: They always sing in growling vocals, even when the lyrics come from one of Tolkien's more upbeat compositions. This occasionally leads to The Cover Changes The Meaning (see below).
- New Sound Album: Closer to a full-blown Genre Shift, from Minas Morgul onward (as explained above).
- Shaggy Dog Story: Northward
- Spoken Word In Music
- The Cover Changes The Meaning: The Shadow Lies Frozen On The Hills. By taking the more sinister verses as lyrics and adding Psycho Strings, they turn a hobbit walking song into Nightmare Fuel.
- The Song Before The Storm
- Theme Naming: Their first four albums are all named after towers from Middle Earth. Also, every album cover except "Mortal Heroes" has a picture of a mountain on it.
- Title of the Dead: Land of the Dead, the final song of Oath Bound.
- Villain Song: Mirdautas Vras is meant to be narrated by Sauron.
- Voice of the Legion: The choir segments in Farewell, Might and Glory and Land of the Dead are actually sung by just Lederer and Gregor, with a reverberation effect.