By Jonathan Smith
Summon is the latest from New York sludge doom band Bloody Panda, and it is hardly easy-listening material even by metal standards. It’s an album that is largely about the atmosphere it creates, and it doesn’t waste any time in getting to it. Opener “Gold” begins with a rising drone, expands into dirty power chords, and leads into vocalist Yoshiko Ohara’s unique singing that more often than not turns into shrieked words and the occasional out-right scream. While things do speed up here and there, the main emphasis on Summon is its slowly building sense of dread, with enough mysterious backing growls and off-sounding chords to keep the listener from getting too comfortable. The entire project is drenched in pulse-quickening synths, and the mood invoked is tense and suspenseful. This works best on the “shorter” tracks such as the afore mentioned “Gold” and “Pusher.” The major epic on the album, “Miserere,” sounds less effective in its many changes of direction and overlong running time of twenty-one minutes. Trying to describe the album does not do justice to its atmosphere, and although the album can feel boring in spots, when things work they work quite well. Summon would make a great soundtrack to an avant-garde horror film, and like such projects, its individual faults are often compensated for by its sheer grandeur.