If we could slap ye olde RIYL stickers on Bandcamp pages, maybe “like Justin Broadrick on the ISS remixing the last five years of metal!” would get pasted on I, Voidhanger’s stream of Summit’s full-length debut, The Winds That Forestall Thy Return. Such a badge would attack eyeballs with that traditional hyperbolic zing, at least. But then again, maybe it’s not so hyperbolic. Italian Gabriele Gramaglia, Summit’s solo maestro, certainly fuses the many-rhythms complexity of the Vindsval-influenced/Broadrick-indebted atmospheric post-metal that has forever tethered together words like “crushing” and “meditative” in the modern metal lexicon. Better still, by grouping these styles, Gramaglia hides tropes behind strengths. Monotony and the stagnation of samey atmospherics, the bane of sludgy post-metal, is banished by the forward momentum inherent in prog and esoteric black metal. Likewise, solid, recognizable grooves make sure wanky pretentiousness is reigned in. It’s a great balancing act, and one especially impressive considering the composer is in his early 20s; old enough to be well-versed in this material, but young enough not to be beholden to longstanding problems.
Winds, like efforts released under Gramaglia’s other solo project The Clearing Path, is best taken in as a whole, though “Pale Moonlight Shadow” is a fine way to get your feet wet, and not just because this is the one with the vocals. Yep, Nicholas McMaster, he of Krallice, Geryon, bands upon bands, has a guest spot that’s all sort of muscle and flame emojis, but “Shadow” also shows off Summit’s deep reservoir of 21st century metal know-how. Opening with the feel of one of those sci-fi establishing shots framing a swirling, gaseous giant, Gramaglia then goes full crawl, kicking ethereal ambient duty over to AMSR signing. However, when McMaster starts to roar, notice how the air gets sucked out of the track, thus making the bludgeoning that much more immediate. This push and pull between the various musical elements helps “Shadow” to perform a subtle sort of orbit around a central idea. By the time the blackened, blasty section kicks in, the frequent style miles have accrued to such a point that a look in the rearview mirror makes you appreciate the distance covered. Closing with space rock’s sort of astronomy, “Shadow” leaves behind earworms aplenty. Your encouraged to listen to the rest of the record (the second part of the title track, in particular) if “Shadow” strikes a chord. All in all, Summit is another I, Voidhanger contributor living up to the label’s unstated vision of releasing deep, layered albums that have the legs to live alongside listeners.
The Winds That Forestall Thy Return is out this month via I, Voidhanger.