Whenever I hear Summoning, it’s hard for me to take it completely seriously.
Of all the cheap, digitally produced, questionably played, horribly cheesy and intensely derivative bands in the modern “symphonic black metal” scene, Summoning has the most artificial production – consider that the only “real” instruments they use are… the keyboards… even the vocals are autotuned – sloppiest playing, and boring generic music of all of them.
Hands down. No contest. They are, for all intents and purposes, the worst band in the modern black metal scene. Worse than Watain, worse than Deafheaven, worse than Satyricon. In fact, they’re so incompetently bad on nearly every track I’ve heard by them, I fail to see how people view them with some sort of legitimacy.
Maybe it’s a conspiracy by death metal record labels to make all black metal fans look like wimps and homos. Just speculating.
It’s pretty clear that Summoning is only “popular” online, and amongst a small segment of non-metalhead fans. They could never rival even the dumbest of slam death bands in terms of real audience and fan following, so they resort to online astro-turfing. That’s not even controversial, it’s well admitted that big labels pay journalist when appropriate, and otherwise use bots and sock accounts to artificially hype their own releases (Nuclear Blast was caught doing just that on Metalious.com and Metal-Archives). The real question, in the case of Summoning, is cui bono?
Everywhere I turn I see people “reviewing” Summoning like it’s a serious black metal – the same people that would dismiss this as “Nintendocore” if it was made by a Norwegian kid in his bedroom claim to love this because the band members are affiliated with a certain politically motivated organisation? Seems fishy.
There’s an interesting thing about Summoning: whenever you read a review of a Summoning album that’s positive (actual rare outside of Metal-Archives, home of hundreds of Nuclear Blast fake accounts… go check the score of “Dol Guldur” on Metalious and compare), the reviewer tends to go on and on, describing the superficial aspects of the album, the lyrics and the history of the band – and its fight against those intolerant black metal elitists! – and the production in detail, but when it comes time to actually talk about what is functionally good about the music, they’re mysteriously silent.
That’s because there’s nothing to say: Summoning, for all its trappings as a grim, mysterious, true black metal band, is really just an entity of style and fashion like the worst of hipster USBM.
There’s nothing of enduring value here, just pretense. If the use of fake MIDI instruments on every album since Lugburz hadn’t clued you in, you are dealing with a hype creation and media astroturf, not a genuine “symphonic black metal” band.