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Review: Summoner's Circle - Cult
Summoner's Circle

Label: Black Lion Records
Year released: 2024
Duration: 33:38
Tracks: 7
Genre: Black/Death


Review online: June 23, 2024
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Readers' Rating
How do you rate this release?

Rated 4.33/5 (86.67%) (3 Votes)

I've been casually following Summoner's Circle since I first heard and moderately enjoyed Chaos Vector, going as far as to get one of the handful of remaining copies of their debut, Tome, at their booth during the first Metal Devastation Festival. Judging from those albums and their killer live performances, it was clear to me that they were a band brimming with ambition that wielded the talent to seize it, but despite flashes of greatness, they had a bad habit of putting in every idea they had into their songwriting, which often left it bloated and more than a little baggy. That's all in the past, though, because with their latest album, Cult, they finally get their shit all together.

They've always been a very musical and theatrical band, and that hasn't changed with this release. Each song is stuffed with technical musicianship and detailed songwriting that swings from ferocious, sometimes symphonically backed blasting to quieter moody segments often leavened by excellent lead work, which isn't exactly new for the band. The big difference is that the songwriting is much tighter than before, capable of sustaining all these musical ideas without overstaying their welcome or losing focus like they did in the past. This is also their leanest release by a fair margin, barely clocking in at over half an hour and containing only six songs outside of a brief intro, but holding back on the excess while retaining their complexity has given the songs a depth and density that they once lacked, with tracks like the hateful advance single "Irreverence to the Cross," the haunting "Thirst of the Vulture," and the massive "Profit of Death" standing as their strongest material to date, with the other half only falling short by a slight margin.

I'm always rooting for bands with big ideas to fully realize them, and while I find the lyrical themes a bit typical in their approach, Cult is absolutely the album where Summoner's Circle figured out what they wanted to do and fucking nailed it, and in a just underground, it'd only be the start of their rise to greatness. A killer release from a band I only expect to get even better.

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Review: Chaos Vector (reviewed by Mjölnir)
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