ARTIST: SUMMONER’S CIRCLE
TITLE: BECOME NONE
LABEL: PAVEMENT ENTERTAINMENT
WORDS: SEAN HUBBARD
Summoner’s Circle debut full-length release has been on the books since they released their EP ‘First Summoning’ in 2015 and strives for greatness but falls just short. They describe their sound as blending “elements of doom, death, black and progressive metal into what they refer to as simply ‘Epic Metal.’ The result on ‘Become None’ is certainly interesting at times but relies on black metal stereotypes too often to be truly great.
Ethereal opening track ‘Ex Terra’ begins with the sound of running water and a slow piano piece, while Gregorian chanting in the forefront sets the scene for the album’s dark tone. The intro fades into ‘Worm Tunnel’ with frontman Blind’s dark scream just as the fast riff and double kick drum hit, keeping up a punishing pace throughout. ‘Minotaur’ is slower and reminiscent of Summoner’s Circle’s doom metal influences, but speed is back in the twelve-minute ‘Legion’ with further kick drums to maintain pace, especially during the “Rise!” chorus.
“synth-led interlude ‘In Ut Ambustio,’ is anything but generic, and is one of the most interesting pieces of music a darker metal band have produced”
Title track and halfway point, ‘Become None’ opens with a slow two-minute organ intro before the rest of the band re-enter amidst repetition of “become none” ahead of a guitar solo. However, the second half wastes the excitement of the introduction, and could have been lifted from any black metal band’s back catalogue. This is redeemed on synth-led interlude ‘In Ut Ambustio,’ which is anything but generic, and is one of the most interesting pieces of music a darker metal band have produced, sounding as far from metal as possible. The synth segues nicely into the intro for ‘Balrog General’ which describes the power of Gandalf’s enemy, while the guitar throughout mirrors the synth introduction before a long drum solo disrupts the flow and other instruments are gradually reintroduced. This track feels like an attempt to give all of the members of the band time to shine, but would work better if the solos were throughout the album instead of all in one song.
‘Overseer of the Internal Construct’ is the album’s worst song, it lacks progression, and merely plods along to a middling drum beat for eight long minutes, slowing the pace of the album’s remainder. Penultimate song ‘Temple of Suffering’ opens with clean vocals and is reminiscent of Iron Maiden and other theatrical metal bands. It changes up the formula of the album and more experimenting would be an improvement, but instead after the first three minutes it returns to the guttural screams that define modern black metal.
“a solid example of a black metal album, which occasionally hits the Epic feel that Summoner’s Circle were aiming for’“
Closing track ‘Further into Dis’ begins with more clean vocals before launching into a brutal double kick drum and slow wailing guitars along with more of Blind’s signature screams yelling “they come in shadows” about the metaphysical evil of the album who are said to be coming to devour the protagonist.
This is a solid example of a black metal album, which occasionally hits the Epic feel that Summoner’s Circle were aiming for, but often falls short, and does nothing special to reinvent the genre – there are flashes of excitement with the synths in ‘In Ut Ambustio’ and the clean singing in ‘Temple of Suffering’ which deviate from the black metal formula, but for the majority ‘Become None’ shies away from these experimental areas which would’ve greatly improved the album if explored further.