Summoner’s Circle present a new release so well-balanced between beautiful production value and grotesque metallic sludge that makes for a monument within blackened metal, furthering the dynamic of their theatrical, progressive death metal sound.

Release date: May 24, 2024 | Black Lion Records | Bandcamp | Website | Facebook | Instagram

There’s nothing quite like a good, blackened, progressive death metal record full of insane riffs, swingy rhythms, incredible drum fills, atmospheric and cinematic layers, and of course, powerful vocal work. Luckily for us, this fresh new release from none other than Knoxville, TN’s finest, Summoner’s Circle, has all that and more! Cult presents a message the band describes as ‘our personal indictment of organized religion and all of the harm it has done throughout the ages‘, and yet somehow – this one is sure to make you a believer. Well, maybe not for any religious thing, per se, but definitely in the band!

Pulling no punches from the word ‘go‘, the album hits you with full force on the opening track “Apostle’s Dogma”, followed up by the mind-bending track “Cult of the Dead Son”. Given the repulsion seen with religious ideals being a sort of excuse used by some political figures as well as other organizations to carry out less-than-morally-sound fundings and operations that, in actuality, should not at all correlate to any religious values, this album releases at a great time to remind us all just how corrupt and morally grey humankind can be. One wouldn’t have to look too far through present or past to find any number of reasons to relate with the message Summoner’s Circle highlights here, at the very least on the principle of ‘hey, maybe we need to do better – maybe someone claiming their religion doesn’t always absolve them from being an awful person‘. Be that as it may, I’m definitely not here to translate what takeaways you should get from Cult, but I will tell you how awesome I think it is.

“Shroud of Humanity” echoes an energy similar to a Fleshgod Apocalypse track, which seems fitting given much of what Summoner’s Circle composes tends to have its theatrical, layered, almost atmospheric elements to it. The operatic style vocals at the beginning of the track, mixed with clean vocals found later in the duration, just add a significant layer to the tone of the song that makes you feel as if you are being ushered into a gothic cathedral to be sacrificed to a deity for, if we’re following the theme of the album adequately, likely all the wrong and most annoying sanctimonious reasons possible. Like something meant to soundtrack one of The Exorcist films, this song remains dark, brooding, and sinister in tone from start to finish. Between this and “Irreverence of the Cross”, the anti-religious bases are absolutely covered.

The extremity doesn’t let up even deeper within the 7-track span. Closing out with “Profit of Death” and “Dogmatic Defilings”, Summoner’s Circle want to make it very clear that, as history has unfortunately shown, the ‘church guys‘ are sadly not exactly the ‘good guys‘, even as much as they might tell you otherwise. What you really need in your life is to join the Church of Summoner’s Circle-ism, clearly. What is the message behind said church, you ask? Well, mostly just exceptional musicianship and being mad at false Christians, no big deal. Maybe sometimes they host some cool cookouts.

Regardless of your subscription or lack thereof to any theisms, Cult prevails as a powerful metal record that succeeds in blending doom, blackened, and progressive metals with such a precise and seamless chemistry that even Walter White would lose his mind trying to comprehend it. The quality is sharp, but somehow it doesn’t feel too polished to where the beloved edge of a raw metal record feels too lost; It has its clarity without feeling too digital or overproduced. Summoner’s Circle have absolutely captured a pinnacle of their capabilities within this record, and any returning fans will have a hard time not replaying it again and again. Although, I’d venture to say newcomers might also find that same effect, because this would be a hell of a place to discover the band on for sure!

Out now on Black Lion Records, this is your divine sign to break from the church, and align your life with the metal gods (or maybe demons? depends on who you ask, I suppose) of Summoner’s Circle and become enriched and enlightened by their newest addition to the discography, Cult, as soon as possible! Whether your choice be Bandcamp, Spotify, or elsewhere…the 7-track audiobook of hymns will open your mind to a new kind of praise and worship, if you will. As a follower of the band for about a few years now, I will say I’m proud of the trajectory they appear to be maintaining. This concludes the sermon for today, now go buy the album and donate graciously!



Easygoing weirdo with a love for life, music, art, culture, outdoors, meeting new people, seeing new places, and trying new things. Oh yeah, and I guess I never shut up about the things I love, too. That’s a quality!

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