Friday 15 November 2013

Summoner - Atlantian - Album Review

Atlantian cover art

Summoner is a Stoner Metal Band from Boston, MA, USA

The members are: Scott Smith, Chris Johnson, Joe Richner, A.J. Peters

I am a huge fan of Summoner as I have featured them multiple times on the blog. I reviewed their “debut” album – Phoenix back in 2012. Plus I interviewed the band in 2012 as well. Though these guys actually did release an album under their old band name Riff Cannon. Phoenix was critically acclaimed within the Stoner Metal scene for its style of Stoner Metal Riffs that mixed Doom and Sludge Metal to great effect.

Well 18 months later, the guys are back with their equally stunning 2nd album – Atlantian. Has much changed since Phoenix. Well yeah, a lot has. The familiar style of fast-paced riffs is still there but Summoner has mellowed out since Phoenix. They have added a calmer approach to their music by adding ambient noises and textures, which gives their sound a multi-layered feel. Can I say that Summoner have ventured into Prog-Rock territory on this album. Maybe a little but it is a decision that pays off big time.

Atlantian as the album title implies is primarily focused on the oceanic waves as Summoner have added a sea of tranquillity vibe to their music especially on superb instrumental track – Changing The Tides – which makes you feel you are drifting blissfully underwater. The track goes from blissful ambient-based vibes to intense Stoner Metal riffs. Though maybe I am jumping the gun here. Let us go back to the beginning. This album feels like a concept album of someone wanting to escape his or her current surroundings for greater things. I feel all of us can relate to that aspect.

1st track – The Gatekeeper – sees Summoner on familiar form with fast-paced riffs and stunning lyrics to match, telling a captivating story. You can tell that Summoner is starting to create their own unique take of Sludge/Stoner Metal with this track. It is the first major highlight the album offers the listener. It will have you intrigued from start to finish. If you are only here for the riffs then do not fret, Summoner has 43 minutes to impress you with.

Summoner’s songwriting skills have came on leaps and bounds since Phoenix as Atlantian plays out like a thrilling tale from a lost undiscovered world. Though Summoner provide more clues of this lost world on the 2nd track – The Prophecy. The Prophecy adds layers to the exciting journey that lies ahead. All told through the power of Summoner’s majestic vocals and riffs.

The album has a truly mesmerising vibe that makes it virtually impossible to stop listening to. As with Phoenix, I could not stop listening to this album. It puts the viewer in a deep like trance with the band hypnotizing you with an avalanche of superb riffs.

The 8 songs on the album are beautifully put together. It is an album that has something for everyone. Sludge, Stoner, Prog Rock, Riffs, Riffs and even more great riffs.

You can tell when the album is moving into dangerous territory when the riffs become heavier and faster than ever especially on excellent track – Under the Crystalline Sky – A track that will thrill the heck out of you. Blazing riffs matched against pitch perfect vocals, which feature some of the albums finest lyrics.

Atlantian proves that Summoner is one of the most creative bands within the Stoner Metal scene and I can see this album finally launching Summoner onto bigger and better things.

The only complaint that I do have is the final song – Taken by the Sea. A stunning 7:18 minute acoustic epic. I felt this song should have been included some heavier riffs to end the album on a perfect finish. It’s beautifully written and played but there are no riffs to rock out to compared to the earlier tracks. I suppose as part of the concept album it’s the right choice to end the album on a sad note. But purely on a Stoner Metal album level – this track could of done with a heavy burst of riffs along the way.

Apart from that Summoner have delivered another outstanding album for their fans to listen to. I loved the creative vibe running through out and it’s a different beast compared to Phoenix and that is a good thing. Summoner are a band willing to experiment with their sound but still maintaining their old sound for fans to recognise.

Atlantian is a brilliant album that Summoner should rightly be proud of.

Brilliant. End Of.

Thanks to the band for sending me a promo copy to review. Atlantian will be available to buy from Magnetic Eye Records on DD/Vinyl from November 19th 2013.

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