Hailing from the sweltering heat of Portugal, Summon unleash their nightmarish debut L.P, Parazv Il Zilittv, on 30th April via Iron Bonehead. The death-doom trio started their hellish journey into the abyss back in 2016. Their Aesthetics of Demise E.P came out last summer, also on Iron Bonehead. Summon’s ‘Sepulchral death metal’ has a character all of its own. Terrifying, haunting and angry.
In typical metal fashion, the album opens with an atmosphere setting soundscape. “Whisper of the Black Moon” begins with a droning, modulating synth. Faint strings fade in, as more industrial rumblings bubble away. Everything is calm and gentle, but all is not right…..
As the opener decays, “Howling Graves” sets the expectation moving forward. Mangled chords ring out over an agonising, slow pace rhythm. Throat grating whispers, soaked in reverb lurk in the background. Vocals never front and centre, always just another part of the sonic landscape. The solemn tone of the guitar remains throughout in a dirge of horror.
A bell tolls at the beginning of “Cult of Abomination”. This track being a much more up-beat feel compared to the previous song. The verses have a Swedish death metal level of intensity, a no nonsense, punk influenced beat driving the crunchy, thick guitars. In the space of two songs after the introduction, a wide spectrum of tempo has already been explored. Slow, roomy dirges to blast beats and church bells.
“Shapes of Darkness Transcending” follows. After the feedback from the guitars fades, a sinister riff from the guitars crashes into action. This track has a black metal quality to it with the melancholic melodies from the guitars. As the sections shift the bass drum rolls pound through the mix, tempo is upped as Summon pummel through another mean, sombre riff. All while the vocals whisper in the shadows with tortured despair.
Inhuman vocals begin the fifth track of Parazv Il Zilittv, “Below Death Splendour”. As the band kicks in, a vulnerable sounding melody from the guitars features. The song is driven at an excruciatingly slow doom pattern from the drums that seems to be pulling back at all times. It’s a really powerful song that seems too short whenever it finishes.
Title track, “Parasv Il Zilittv” starts with a humming synth with a melody that sounds like it may be some kind of reversed guitar effect. The tone of this melody has a pan-pipe quality to it. It’s merely a soft introduction into what becomes the most punishing song on the album. Absolutely brutal and primitive. It is a relentless barrage on the senses that takes you through rapid fire intensity one minute, and a wide open, spacious crawl the next.
The last three tracks before the closing interlude at the end are the three longest. They come in a 5, 6 and 7 minutes. “Impetuous Sacrifice of Thy Wom” is a winding, weaving example of their ability to develop their songs and keep it interesting. The album reels you in and keeps tight hold of you. It is suffocating, intense and highly atmospheric. The vocals are unique compared with other death-doom acts about at the moment and I find it interesting that the focus is on atmosphere first.
Although boasting some death-doom conventions you would expect; the pounding drums and slower tempos having a larger presence for example, Summon’s focus on creating a demonic, ethereal feeling is effective and helped by a powerful and clear production that retains a certain griminess and grit.