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Album Review: Sumeru – Summon Destroyer

Very seldom do you come across a band that hits almost all of the genres on the heavy metal spectrum.  Sumeru are one of those bands, and their upcoming record Summon Destroyer does nothing to disprove it. These Australians display elements of black metal, death metal, and doom metal, all painted over with a sludgy finish, and founded on heavy metal roots.  There’s definitely plenty of space to cram all of this, because Summon Destroyer is a longer album despite having only eight tracks. Most of them reach seven minute or longer run-times, so put your attention span goggles on before diving in, you’ll need them.

First and foremost, this isn’t a track-to-track approach where each song uses a different format.  Instead, it’s consistent, and everything meshes all genre ideas together within every track, which prevents any from really standing out.  The slow pace and dropped down guitars give this that doom metal element, and this welds heavy metal stylistics with it that when stripped to the bone, come off somewhat Sabbathy.  When it does speed up, usually tremolo picking is incorporated for the main source of support. This then causes a noisier atmosphere, thus the two together giving it a blackened feel.  The vocals are where the death metal ideals come into play, but really this is quite seldom.

When all angles of attack are executed, they all wind up sharing one thing, and that’s the sludgy overlay that I mentioned previously.  This is very easily heard in the vocals as well, and keeps them from lacking much melody or range. Sumeru also like to sprinkle in atmospheric affects, giving it a very evil feeling.  Unfortunately, when all of this is bound together, there isn’t a very strong flow, rhythms aren’t as tight, and it just seems like a huge journey that winds up going nowhere.  With so many different ideas, it’s almost bizarre that I would call it boring, but the length, the lack of direction, and unclear rhythmic direction ultimately kill it. Then again, some people thrive on that, so don’t push it away too fast.

A band that comes to mind is Mastodon, but far less energetic and a lot darker.  They’re a band I’ve also had trouble getting really deep into, so it could be a lack of understanding on my part, but even after two spins it didn’t do much.  Summon Destroyer is well worth checking out, as there are few bands that do what they do, but a couple things need to bare in mind. You need a focused attention span, you can’t expect the build-up to lead to anything exciting, and be ready for an overwhelming amount of styles blended together.  

On a positive note, Summon Destroyer is quite fitting for Halloween, and it will be out just in time.  October 26, 2018 is when this will hit the scene, available via Wormhole Death Records for CD and digital copies, as well as Medusa Crush Records or Mallevs Records for a tape cassette.  It will also be available on Bandcamp.

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