The instant that Iron Bonehead announced it back in early January, Lisbon, Portugal-based death/doom trio Summon‘s Parazv Il Zlilttv immediately leapt to the top of my ‘Most Anticipated Albums of 2018’ list. I can’t imagine this coming as a surprise to any of our loyal Vault Hunters, who are already well aware of the depth of my love for Portuguese kvltness. Yet there’s something about Summon that sets them apart from the norm.
When I reviewed their debut EP Aesthetics of Demise shortly after it came out last June, I said “there are definitely moments where it seems like there are interesting things going on musically, if only they could be heard […] I do like Aesthetics of Demise quite a bit, but I’m somewhat frustrated by it as well because by all rights it should be a much better record than it actually is. I guess the production does give the EP a more ritualistic feel, but it also really straddles the line between being kvlt and being background noise. It’s a shame, because these songs deserved better.”
Fortunately, Parazv Il Zlilttv sounds exactly the way I wish Aesthetics had – there’s still enough grime on it to give it that underground feel, but it’s clear enough that the textures I felt were missing from the EP can all be heard, and the atmospheres all come directly from the riffs instead of what the promo materials call “the obfuscating murk which has become so de rigueur (read: TRENDY) in the millennial metal underground.” From the caustically slow and tense doom sections on tracks like “Shapes of Darkness Transcending” and “In Ordem Mortis” to the sepulchral death metal of “Howling Graves” and “Parazv Il Zilittv,” this album is massive, malevolent, and masterfully executed.
It is our great pleasure to be exclusively streaming Parazv Il Zlilttv in its entirety today here at the Vault, ahead of it’s April 20 release via Iron Bonehead Productions. I also had the chance to interview…well, I’m not entirely sure how many members of the shadowy trio I actually talked to, but I’m not going to question it – as far as I can tell, this may be the first time Summon has talked to anyone at all. So hit play below to descend into the maelstrom, and then check out what the band had to say about the album.
Indy Metal Vault: So for starters, thanks for agreeing to an interview. Given how shadowy and secretive a lot of the current wave of Portuguese black and death metal bands tend to be, I’m a bit surprised (and definitely grateful) that you’re willing to answer some questions. Let’s start with how astonishingly quickly Parazv Il Zilittv follows on the heels of your debut EP Aesthetics of Demise. I think it was early January when I got the press release announcing Parazv Il Zilittv, and my thinking went from ‘right on – a full-length!’ to ‘wait…already?’ in the span of about five seconds. Aesthetics came out last June, and Parazv will be out on April 20. That’s really not that much turnaround time between recordings. How much of a gap was there between when you finished the EP and started working on the full-length?
Summon: The process was quite fast, since we’re not properly a band to schematize and drive things to a certain common behavior. There’s always the chance to make three or four releases in a short time, or be silent for a long period.
IMV: As a follow up to that last question, according to the bio on your Facebook page, Summon came together in late 2016, which makes your level of productivity in less than two years especially remarkable. It actually makes me wonder if at least some of you are veterans of other bands. Without asking you to get into specifics, have any of you been in an actively recording and/or touring band before? Have any of you played with each other previously?
S: All of us have been involved in other bands, plenty of activity with albums, demos and gigs as well, this is nothing new for any of us. We’ve known each other for a long time, but curiously never played together before…
IMV: The biggest difference between Parazv Il Zilittv and Aesthetics of Demiseis obviously the production. To me, Aesthetics sounded like a mix of The Ominous Circle-style black/death metal, with this production style of one of the Aldebaran Circle bands like Ordem Satânica or Voëmmr. Parazv Il Zilittv, on the other hand, seems to have much more of a death/doom feel to it than any kind of “blackened” influence – particularly on a track like “Impetuous Sacrifice of Thy Womb,” with its slow, tense intro section. When you started recording Aesthetics, did you intend for it to sound as raw as it does, or was that just the way the sessions turned out? Did you change your songwriting approach at all between the EP and the full-length, or were those elements always part of Summon’s sound and are just more obvious now because of the cleaner production?
S: The recording process and the production is all made within Summon, and we feel that Aesthetics of Demisehad to have that production. Therefore, it has always the chance of transmutation, like we have in Parazv Il Zilittv, even though there are many similarities in both releases. For example, the vocals were recorded on a millennial necropolis. The approach for Parazv had to be a little bit different, since we added more elements, and if we kept the same production as in the previous work, we would get too muffled sound, inaudible I must say.
IMV: I can’t find any recording information anywhere online – do you record DIY, or do you actually use a studio? Was it the same for both the EP and Parazv Il Zilittv? And what your studio rigs look like? Is Summon a band that cares about gear and carefully dialing in your instrument tones, or are you more of a plug-and-play kind of band?
S: The main structure is build within the four walls of the lightless studio of our mate Bruno (Rock ‘n’ Raw). We have relative concern with the equipment to be used. High distortion and hell dissonance is necessary so we can reap mankind once for all.
IMV: I generally ask at least one question about lyrical themes, but Summon may well be the first band I’ve interviewed who essentially offer no clue to the content of their lyrics. The title of the new record, Parazv Il Zilittv, doesn’t help much, either – I can’t seem to find what (or even if) language it is, much less a translation for it. Based on your song titles and statements like “Death is our guide, and we are His scythe,” in your Facebook bio, my guess would be that your primary subject is death, possibly with a few occult elements thrown in. Is there a reason you’re so mysterious when it comes your lyrics? Are there any underlying philosophical or narrative elements that that tie them all together?
S: What you hear are the chants of a morbid soul. We summon the spirits in each line regarding our duty to our guide. What is unveiled in English is enough, I think. About the album title, it is a metamorphosis of an ancient language, you can translate as “cult of the spirits” but not so lineal as you may think…
IMV: The cover art for Parazv Il Zilittvalso has a remarkably different feel than the art for Aesthetics of Demise? Who did the cover this time? How closely did you work with the artist on the cover concept?
S: The cover concept had to be made inside the entity, since we draft all the elements together and it was the only way to work. The full album artwork was created by N., he handled all the elements of the recording process. For our EP, the cover was made by Alex (Nether Temple Design) and we were very pleased to work with him, it was simple and concise.
IMV: Summon will be making their live debut at Caverna Abismal’s Masmorra Fest in June. Are there any plans at the moment to play any other dates, or are you looking at the Fest as a one-off kind of thing? Or does it ultimately depend on how the gig goes?
S: It could happen both ways actually. We’re not concerned with creating an agenda for gigs. We have already rejected some invitations, since they were not with the proposal to spread the stench of Death.
IMV: Thanks again for being willing to answer a few questions. I always like to leave the last word to the artists – anything else you want to add?
S: Thanks for the interview. Death is our guide, and we are his scythe.