Roused ev’ry blurry morning to climb the stairs toward the Sun’s rising in sorrowful Orphic penance, seek an enriched afterlife in the light of Plato’s Good. Seat upon on a lotus adorned with with one thousand rays and burn willingly afire by the glory of the far-shining, deathless Helios. Undoubtedly for the sake of the Muses, Homeric verse suggests “substance that cheers the heart” is a pollination bestowed as naturally as ancient devotion to ‘Gods’ fruiting miracles; Today the Earth aflame and suffocating beneath Helios’ limitless radiation might rethink their association from miraculous life-giver towards fearsome great destroyer. The chillingly subterranean blackened death metal of Portuguese quartet Summon aim damned worship towards ‘Helios’ on their latest EP now seeing no great differentiation between the fires of Hades and the ruin hailed upon mankind from above.
War, malevolence, blasphemy and the infinite horrors of the dark have been expressed in suffocating form by way of Summon since 2016 where Archaic Tomb would conjoin and Graves would offshoot. As a trio, these Lisbon based musicians would render obscured and deeply-hidden cavernous atmospheric black/death metal first on their ‘Aesthetics of Demise‘ (2017) EP and soon after their debut full-length (‘Parazv Il Zilittv‘, 2018) where the focus was upon darkness, war-metallic depths not more than a stone’s throw from Genocide Shrines, Grave Upheaval, and Uttertomb. Gasping vocals and burly Incantation-esque atmospheric horror made for a stunning debut that’d reviewed well on my end but hadn’t yet convinced the greater populous to sway towards their infectious ruin. ‘Helios’ is the step in-between full-lengths on the path towards their upcoming second LP, ‘M.O.R.T.E.’, slated for release later this year.
The original goal of this project was to burn to dust the bones of humanity, brutal annihilation through extreme death metal form, and they’d soon realized that’d involve leaving the cave behind and spreading their uniquely atmospheric horrors under the burning light of day. ‘Helios’ is the two-fisted burst through rock and soil by the great screaming daimonian vengeance held within the caverns of Summon for these last four years. Though this brand of atmospheric death metal will be no great surprise in terms of style for the initiated, the sound design of the relatively brief 20 minute EP is something to behold. Raw and gnashing in echoing furor as its three parts express, ‘Helios’ approaches a ritualistic breakthrough for the band in the midst of its nigh war metallic battery.
Just as previously foggy genius within Portal, Temple Nightside, and even Bölzer have found crackling electricity as fuel for brilliant recent ventures so lifts Summon from the chasm but, they’ve not lost their dark and imposing sound only given it the body of a flailing and smoking live wire. Sparks shower from this (still very cavernous) blackened death metal band’s sound with infinite echoing dual vocals and myriad shards of dread-inducing riff swells. The absolute roar of ‘Helios’ presence is quite different from previous releases but shouldn’t shock the already attuned listener. “Helios II” is the most intentional, transcendent piece of the trio with it’s inspiring second half with grand buzzing sustain and wailing lead guitar shrieks. The sensation of this peak is ecstatic and I’d only wished it’d have lasted a minute or so longer before “Helios III” brings even more massive turbulence to the echoing storm of madness Summon conjure throughout this EP. My only issue comes with the nagging five minutes of ambiance that finishes off the second half of “Helios III” where it would’ve been just as meaningful an event if clipped of about three of its minutes. Nonetheless I believe this is a fine way to catch up with this killer Portuguese black/death band if you’ve missed out on their stuff ’til now. ‘Helios’ should sate the nagging void of the atmospheric death metal fan best and serves as a great primer for their upcoming second album, a moderately high recommendation.
Moderately high recommendation. 4.0/5.0
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