Don’t be fooled by the incredible teaser, which features the grinding doom and screaming vocals of Amenra. The Summoner is a subdued album that culminates in cacophony. But watch: here are the dozen stringed instruments, the long, slow draws. This is prelude; this is anticipation. None of the instruments are played as expected. And there’s Kreng, sitting cross-legged on the floor, surveying it all. Strings snap, wood buckles, stems are hit; it’s the sound of everything falling apart. In the moment when all hell breaks loose, the artist is insulated behind glass, examining untamed emotions through an opaque barrier. This leads to the concept.
The Summoner is grown from grief. In the course of a year, Kreng lost several close friends, and after another year, he began to compose this mini-symphony on the stages of mourning. The five major stages are present: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. A sixth stage that Kreng calls “The Summoning” is added just before the last.
The choice to begin in silence is wise, as denial can also be called shock. After the vacuum, small sounds begin to weave their way through the recording, culminating in strong string segments. The heart is churning. And great restraint is shown in “Anger”, which bubbles and stews for many minutes before erupting, falling silent in shame, and erupting anew. This second finale, a portion of which is present in the video, is the album’s high (or low) point, depending on one’s interpretation. It’s also the segment that will remind most of Kreng’s filmic work. Will this be enough to connect old fans to the new material? One hopes so, because after the retrospective Works for Abattoir Fermé, it seemed that the time was right for a second phase of Kreng’s career. As mentioned in our Winter Music Preview, the new album marks a shift from external haunting to internal haunting, and while The Summoner is Kreng’s most subtle (save for the Amenra track), it retrains the grandeur and eloquence that fans have come to expect. By the time Kreng has reached “Acceptance”, falling spent on the floor, we come to realize that he’s a changed man, honed by loss, now ready to re-enter the world. (Richard Allen)