Summoning, a renowned name in the Black Μetal scene, celebrate this year their 25th anniversary. In an interview for This Is Black Metal, Silenius shared with us stories from the very beginning, his first contact with Black Metal, some turning points for the band and last but not least he talked about Summoning’s new release “With Doom We Come“.
This Is Black Metal: Thank you for this interview and congratulations on your new album ” With Doom We Come”! This year you celebrate the 25th anniversary of the band, but how did the idea for Summoning came to life? What was your first contact with Black Metal?
Silenius: In my youth i was a big fan of all kinds of metal: from Melodic Hard Rock like Magnum to Death Metal like early Death or Autopsy and all in between. It only was important that the band transported a kind of fantasy or occult image lyrically and visual. So it happened that i came in contact with BM rather early. As far as i remember i already knew Celtic Frost but did not find them too attractive but then blood fire death of Bathory was released and this was the wakening call for me. I ordered all the older albums and was blown away. Nevertheless i still was only a fan. The wish to start a band of my own came later with the Second Wave of Norwegian BM. especially the second Darkthrone album and the first four or five releases of Burzum have been a massive inspiration for me. This time it was an initial to start an own band and so things began to roll. In those days i moved to Vienna, started a job at virgin mega-store (so all the cool new releases went through my hands first) and of course get known to relevant people who have similar thoughts. All this helped me to develop Summoning at a very early point of time when the BM virus was still only a Norwegian or maybe Scandinavian phenomenon but has not reached the rest of Europe yet….
TIBM: When we look back to your first album we can say there was an evolution of the Summoning sound during the years, i think Minas Morgul was a turning point. Would you agree?
Silenius: Minas Morgul was the most massive turning point and formed the sound of Summoning as you know it today. A lot of different happenings and decisions lead to this. First we kicked out our drummer and did not replace him. As a kind of revenge we used keyboard drums and made them sound as slow and bombastic as possible in contrary to his hectical fast drumming. Second we started to compose our songs only on keyboards and not on bass and guitar as before and third we wanted to distinguish lyrical from Abigor who were far more popular in that time and whom i was i member of. So the occult and satanic lyrics changed into this dark side of Tolkien concept. Beside this there always were smaller changes and turning points. For example the first Cd Lugburz was our first professional work compared to the musical chaos of our demo days. Also stronghold was a bigger turning point. We lost a lot of old BM fans but a whole new generation followed..
TIBM: One of the most important concepts about your music are the lyrics with all the details from Tolkien’s books which makes the listener travel to middle earth with all the epic, dark atmosphere of the music…why did you choose to write songs about Tolkien’s universe in the first place?
Silenius: As i mentioned above the basic motivation was to distinguish from the strictly satanic concept of Abigor. But it also was a natural change as a consequence of the musical change. With the keyboards the sound became epic and we used the drums less as rock drumming but integrated all these a typical marching drum rhythms and sounds. So it was a natural decision to change the lyrical concept into something more fitting and as i was a big fan of fantasy literature and naturally a big fan of the godfather of this genre named Tolkien. He was one of the few authors who also integrated a lot of poems and songs into his lyrical universe and so we could draw from the full…
Summoning – Lugburz (Full album)
TIBM: When did you read Tolkien’s books for the first time?
Silenius: In my late youth when i was around 18 i guess. I was reading tons of fantasy books at that time. The genre still was young and developing and still has not reached its commercial peak. In beginning i did not want to read the books of Tolkien because i already knew the animated movie and a friend told me how it was ending. But later i gave it a try because i realized that nearly all the books i read were advertised with some reverences to lord of the rings. In the end i became a Tolkien fanboy and bought everything i could get from and about Tolkien and this was already a lot even it was more than a decade before the movies were made that made him ultimately popular.
TIBM: What are your other inspirations when writing and composing music?
Silenius: Meanwhile i am experienced enough to act more or less independent from outside inspirations. In former times of course my Metal education inspired and helped me a lot how to compose songs. Maybe i should mention early Candlemass who had a quite important impact because they showed how to sound Heavy and Epic without being fast and you always could hear clearly where the riff begins and where it ends. I liked this clear structures. Otherwise i always got inspired from my mountain runs. This helps me to get my head free, to relax and think problems over how to solve them. I always have some music with me and in combination with wide nature landscapes it helps me to keep the flame of inspiration alive…
TIBM: Would you ever considered finding a new drummer for the band?
Silenius: No never. This really never was a possibility. In the time we started this with Minas Morgul it still was a kind of unique selling point and together with the keyboard walls it was of course very risky. I was not an idiot. Of course i knew that the combination of keyboards and “unreal” drumming was a total blasphemy within the metal scene and seen as total untrue. But on the other side the rising BM scene broke with many values and tore down many many rules that were present within the scene until then. I liked this fuck you all attitude and so it was natural to develop Summoning just as we wanted to….
Summoning – Minas Morgul (Full Album)
TIBM: Your new album “With Doom We Come” was released in January, how was it received by the public and media in general so far? Did it meet your expectations?
Silenius: As always we were criticized a lot. Bad sound, boring songs, awful vocals, shitty cover and so on. But this happens with each release. For me it is not really important what people say five minutes after an album is released but seven to ten years later. Then i can estimate if an album could stand the test of time or has become a stinker. For example Minas Morgul or Oath Bound were criticized to the ground at the time they were released. Now they are classics within our catalogue and reference releases for Summoning. On the other side Dol Guldur was liked most in former times when our fans just were BM heads. Today this album ranges at a rear rank…..After all seen from a commercial point of view it was a success so far, but personally it is not my most beloved release, maybe that’s because i had so many troubles with Protector at the time of production. Within the world of Summoning this album should be seen as a second part of Old Mornings Dawn, as many of the new songs were built from material of that session both releases build a unity.
TIBM: It was written from the ashes of Old Mornings Dawn, we can say it’s a following on the story of Old Mornings Dawn, covering all the ages of the Middle Earth concept?
Silenius: Yes as i said above. It is similar to Nightshade Forests. the four songs of this Mini Cd were leftovers from the Dol Guldur session. This time we had no full leftovers but a lot of riffs and unfinished song ideas left. We put them all together and used it as a starting point to build something new out of it. In contrary to Nightshade Forests this time we tried to make a similar sound so that everything fits together in a more fitting way.
TIBM: Why did it take you 5 years to release this record since you used riffs and melodies already written for Old Mornings Dawn?
Silenius: First of all, having material left from an older session does not mean to have a fully composed song at hand. It also needs time to finish it and second this time the problem was not the process of creating. The real problems started when we searched for the right sounds for all the different melodies. I wanted to make more experiments with new sounds while protector prefered the traditional sounds like horns, strings etc.. And third we always take our time. We are not in a hurry and it always can be that there are longer breaks between the working sessions…
TIBM: If you had to choose a favorite song from the album, which one would you choose?
Silenius: That’s easy to find out, because normally those songs are our favorites where we add our vocals. In this case Silvertine, Herumor and Mirklands are my favorites and the other way round concerning Protector…
TIBM: What studio did you choose this time to produce the album?
Silenius: Protector always produces the releases in his own small Home-Studio called Nachtschattenstudio. In the beginning we have recorded and mixed our albums at Hörnix Studio which meanwhile is closed as far as i know. Only the Nightshade Forests EP was recorded outside of Austria in a studio in Lichtenstein. That’s because Protector had contacts to WeltenBrand at that time and they offered this possibility.
TIBM: After so many years how would you describe your relationship with Napalm Records?
Silenius: It is still a good one. Somehow we are the last dinosaurs on their label. Of course it is obvious that their label politics changed drastically since the early nineties and so nowadays a band like us would not be able to get on this label so easily anymore because they focus on total different types of music. But i have no problems with this situation. The other bands need not like us and we need not like them…
TIBM: Have you been working on new material with your other musical projects?
Silenius: Yes i did the vocals on all the latest Abigor releases. The new album “Höllenzwang” is just a few months old. And i did some Session Vocals for a new Amestigon song which is not released yet. This will be part of a split up with other bands and released on W.T.C. Records later this year. Protector is working on a new Ice Ages Cd, but it is not clear yet if there will be a physical release or just for download and streaming.
TIBM: What are your views concerning the Austrian Black Metal Scene?
Silenius: I just have contacts to the veterans. Somehow it’s apartment became the center were people and bands meet. But as i am still reading metal magazines i realized that there are a lot of younger bands around that keep the flame alive. Harakiri for the Sky seem to be quite popular nowadays, but all in all i have no contacts to the younger generation and my musical preferences are located in other fields.
TIBM: I have no further questions, please leave a message for This Is Black Metal readers!
Silenius: Thanks for the cool interview and as always, up the hammers to our fans worldwide…
TIBM: Thank you for you time.
Summoning – As Echoes from the World of Old