Knoxville metal outfit Summoner’s Circle have crafted a curious calling card in the form of the 10-minute video for “Become None,” a song from their forthcoming debut full-length release. The clips starts with a young woman attending her father’s funeral, remembering him less-than-fondly (“You always were an asshole”) before casting a lone flower atop the coffin and turning away. Later, going through her departed sire’s belongings back at the homestead, she happens upon a ceremonial dagger, and an old book full of occult symbology. Blood is shed; organ music creeps and drones; black-hooded band members march ominously into the room. Heavy metal mayhem ensues.
It’s all part of an elaborate schtick crafted by members of the six-piece Summoner’s — vocalist Blind, guitarists Gog and Absalom, bassist Y’takt, keyboardist Sol and drummer BG Scios — one that casts them as refugee wizards from the planet Mercury on an unholy mission to conjure dark forces through the sacrament of Metal. There’s an elaborate story behind it all — viewable on the band’s website — one that draws as much inspiration from the classic doom rock of Sabbath and Candlemass as it does from the cosmic horror tales of H.P. Lovecraft.
“Our foundation is in old-school doom, but we’re not just another doom metal band,” says guitarist Gog. “Everything is big and bold. Everything is on a grand scale. We’re an epic metal band — that’s what we call it. We don’t mind being over-the-top.”
Gog tells that members of Summoner’s Circle got together in 2015, with the notion of creating a metal outfit with a theatrical bent. “We wrote a riff, and called the riff ‘Summoner’s Circle.’ That name spoke to me, so I said, let’s use that name for the band.
“I had grown up with theatrical bands like Alice Cooper. And we’re all nerds, D&D fans. So we decided our songs would tell stories, and that we would all dress to look the part, and be a part of those stories ourselves.”
But Summoner’s Circle are more than just a novelty act; their rhythmically infectious brand of metal malevolence will likely appeal to fans of slow-burn genre staples like the aforementioned Candlemass as well as to modernist aficionados who prefer a pinch of death metal seasoning with their doom-rock crunch.
Also worthy of note are Gog’s sinuous lead guitar lines, which shrewdly mix bluesy phrasing and modern metal shred, and vocalist Blind’s glottal gymnastics, his powerful voice plumbing the depths of extremity while still holding some tether to notions of tonal center and melody.
“Blind is great,” says Gog of his frontman. “It’s a voice that’s so raspy, it’ll take the paint off walls. But at the same time, he can be so low and boomy.”
Summoner’s Circle released their debut in the form of the “First Summoning” EP in 2015. Now they’re looking to follow that up with the full-length “Tome” later this year. “The songwriting is becoming more intricate and more epic,” Gog says of the songs for the forthcoming platter. “There’s some new elements, and some classic elements. And of course, there’s plenty of spilled blood and human sacrifice. We’ll have some fun with it before it’s all through.”
Summoner’s Circle will appear at Funny Ears Fringe Festival Saturday March 24 at 9:30 p.m. at Scruffy City Hall.