Summoning was one of the first black metal bands I ever really gotten into, in a time when I was younger and the discovery of black metal had opened up a whole new musical territory for me. I went through all the mandatory bands like Mayhem, Burzum, Darkthrone and all that jazz, but none of them has ever managed to hold a candle to Summoning as far as I'm concerned.
The band consists of just two dudes from Austria who call themselves Protector and Silenius and who are really going the extra mile in preserving their band personas, as their band photos often depict them as otherworldly wraiths enshrouded in cloaks or as dead warriors, impaled to death in some elven forest. They're total J.R.R. Tolkien nerds and it's really hard not to love them for that, because they pour their hearts and souls into making music that captures the amazing atmosphere of the Lord of the Rings books. Relying mostly on melodic keyboards, buzzing guitars that drone in the background, programmed drumming that sounds like a thousand war drums being beaten inside a cave and growling choirs, Summoning's music is the very definition of Tolkien metal.
Words like epic and majestic come to mind when trying to describe their music, but you really have to give it a spin for yourself in order to truly appreciate the authenticity of how they sound. The atmospheric keyboards, the massive drumming, the uruk'hai choir vocals, the lo-fi production, the lyrics that deal exclusively with Middle Earth lore - it's a dork's ultimate musical fantasy.
Oath Bound is my favorite Summoning album, but you really can't go wrong with any of their releases. Many fans claim that Stronghold is their best album, followed closely by Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame, but whatever. They're all exceptional and they all follow the same musical recipe, so you'd better put your mithril armor on and stand up defiantly against the armies of marauding orcs. Summoning is the best soundtrack you could ever hope for.
Oh, and did I mention they wrote a whole song in the Black Speech of Mordor? NERDGASM. Check it