Knoxville, Tennessee, might not be a city one associates with sweeping occult death metal, but Summoner’s Circle are about to put it on the ancient, blood-spattered map. With their new album Chaos Vector, the six-piece sonic collective have embraced their sound to its fullest, creating a looming yet tangibly destructive tempest of extreme metal. The record’s running concept — the ol’ humans looking into forces beyond their comprehension that eventually consume them — feels deeply appropriate given the kinetic weight of the songs thereon. Lots of bands write about Lovecraftian horror, but few sound as much like it as this one does.
Before blasting our exclusive stream of the record, we reached out to vocalist Blind to find out what drives Summoner’s Circle. Here’s what he came back with…
How has the band grown between Chaos Vector and 2019’s Become None?
I think we’ve settled into a style that is more us. We’ve gotten more comfortable with what we do as opposed to playing just within the confines of the doom metal box. With Chaos Vector, we were able to draw more from the music that inspires us. Every member brings their own unique style to the writing process and I think this album shows more of those colors.
In your words, what’s the running concept/theme behind the album? What led you to this narrative?
The theme of this album is a cosmic horror story. I initially had this bizarre dream about ten years back that just stuck with me. That dream was later written as the lyrics to “Apostasy”. From that gruesome dream of a human sacrifice, I imagined a story that lead to that moment and past it. I love cosmic horror and I’ve been working on this one since before the band formed. So, when we thought about doing a concept album I was like “I have just the story to tell!” I enjoyed every minute of working on this album because it allowed me to tell the entire story instead of just a part of it like we’ve done in previous songs.
How did you bring this story to life musically? How are the songs’ themes expressed through your music?
That’s actually kind of a funny coincidence. Since we started writing with more influences, the sound was evolving and that meant we could go to more places with feeling. So many bands stick to one thing and one thing only. And that’s not a bad thing, but when we have such varied tastes in the musicians themselves, it just seemed right to encourage that to shine more. So for a song like “Chaos Vector”, the feeling should be chaotic and mental. “Vessel” is one that is meant to feel creepier and leave you unsettled. And I think the music fits that atmosphere. For “Terminus Egress,” I said this one needs to be depressing. It should convey a feeling of complete hopelessness and loss since the lyrics are about making the decision to kill oneself to delay an apocalyptic event, but also damn your child to follow in your tormented footsteps. It goes to some dark places and I think the music achieves that narrative and atmosphere really well.
Is there a track you feel stands out as the best expression of where Summoner‘s Circle are now?
I think I’m okay to say that with the inclusion of more black metal riffs in these songs, that is a direction we’re moving towards. But we’re not a black metal band. Nor are we strictly death metal or doom metal, or prog metal. We’re just enjoying the amount of atmosphere we can create with more black metal inspirations. I think if you want an idea of where we are going with the next album, you’d probably have to look at the album as a whole. We’re not afraid to play with sub-genres and make something that feels good to us. And I think you’d also get a different answer to this question based on which member of the band you asked. If I had to pick one that stands out above the others and is most telling of our sound, it would be “Terminus Egress.”
Knoxville is not a place one associates with occult death metal. Has it informed Summoner‘s Circle’s sound, and if so, how?
So far it hasn’t. It’s no secret that doing an occult-themed metal band in the heart of the Bible Belt will lead to a lot of negativity from your local scene. We’ve been fortunate that most in our scene accept us for what we do. There were some in the beginning that seemed to enjoy throwing hate our way. But after a while, much of that has gone away. Despite the reputation of the south, it has become a great source of inspiration through history, Appalachian ghost stories, and even the horrible things that go on. There is no lacking in source material for songwriting. If you want to make something pretty and uplifting, Tennessee will have your back. And if you’re pissed off and looking to rage about something that bothers you, Tennessee will have your back. And if you’re making occult music, there will be an audience for it. Albeit significantly less than other forms of artistic expression.
Stream Summoner’s Circle’s Chaos Vector below:
Chaos Vector comes out Friday, August 27th, via Blood Blast Distribution, and is available for preorder.
Words by Chris Krovatin