Photo: Alex Cameron

The St Louis, Missouri four piece Summoning The Lich has created a world where death metal reigns supreme and the realm of fantasy is thoroughly embraced. Taking inspiration from the best elements of Lord of the Rings, Magic The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, and Adventure Time, and wrapping it up in a fantastical death metal parcel, Summoning The Lich has an attention to detail and commitment to storytelling that is second to none. United In Chaos tells the tale of the rise of the Lich and fall of the Kingdom Rodor – and the spread of his wicked influence across the land as his power grows.

On United In Chaos, Summoning The Lich haven’t just championed a fantasy world, they’ve created one in their own vision; this release marking merely the first chapter in a trilogy of albums that explores the outer limits of their imaginations. By inserting their storytelling chops into songs crammed with memorable hooks and meaty riffs, Summoning The Lich have invited listeners to roll the dice and join the adventure.

United In Chaos will be released via Prosthetic Records on February 26, 2021.

We asked vocalist David Bruno about three releases that have influenced him a lot. David comments: “I was fortunate enough to find heavier music at a pretty young age, I was probably 11 or 12 when I stumbled from the pop punk and a bit of nu-metal that was so very prevalent in the early 2000s into the hardcore/metalcore scene. I began fervently searching out more and more bands like the ones I’d discovered: Comeback Kid, As I Lay Dying, Terror, Unearth, I just couldn’t get enough. At the time I primarily played guitar but right away I knew I had to learn how to make those monstrous noises and powerful yells myself. Fast forward to about 18 years later and I’m still questing to find new techniques and fun ways to vocalize every chance I get! I thought something cool might be to highlight a few albums from my first 5 years of screaming that have had a lasting impact on my vocals and/or writing and still inspire me today, especially since I didn’t get into a ton of Death Metal until later down my vocal path. Let’s take the plunge into 3 that really stand out!”

Darkest Hour – Undoing Ruin

The first album I want to dive into is Undoing Ruin by Darkest Hour. I remember sitting in my parents basement the spring and summer before my freshman year just blown away by the sheer musicianship of it all, and just putting the CD player on repeat so I could absorb it; I played the living hell out of that CD. After listening a few (dozen) times through I really started to pay attention to the patterns and rhyme schemes of John Henry and just how different they were from the other bands I was listening to at the time. His ability to flow between following an instrument’s lead to then creating a complex complementary rhythm just to flow back to a matching pattern to tail off a passage was awe inspiring to me. His screams are also so aggressive and pissed off sounding, it took me a while but I later went back and tried to dissect the sounds he creates and the controlled rhasp I harnessed trying to emulate him is still something reflected when I’m trying to sound particularly vile and wretched, in a good way of course. Combine that with the excellent musicianship of the rest of the band, stellar composition, and amazing production work and you have one of my favorite albums of the genre, hands down.

He Is Legend – Suck Out The Poison

The second album I think needs to be brought up is Suck Out The Poison by He Is Legend. I was a fan of the bands previous album I Am Hollywood, but this album marked a significant shift in both style, lyrical tone, and production. The heavy Rock n Roll outfit gained a more aggressive tone, embracing their more metal roots and forging the foundations of a haunting raw style that in my opinion is truly their own. However it was the lyrics of Schuylar Croom that stood a bit above everything else for me; Songs like ‘Attack of the Dungeon Witch’ and ‘China White II’ are great examples of what are essentially little horror stories perfectly packaged with both whimsical detail and catchy choruses and rhyme schemes. I found his lyrics as fun and clever as they were creepy and warding, and they instantly resonated with the storyteller within me. At the time I had just moved from Atlanta to St. Louis and was about to start my Sophomore year in a new state I’d never lived, and this album wound up being the perfect escape for me those many months by myself at the beginning. I think that probably solidified my affection for that type of lyricism, the kind that creates an escape from the world around you. I also want to point out that He Is Legend is a far cry from any of the music I create, but they have become one of my biggest influences over the years. I think sometimes musicians (my younger self definitely included) tend to stick to listening to what they’re comfortable with, or what their peers are into. I personally think that’s a huge mistake and regret all the years I missed listening to music outside of my comfort zone. I’ve gained just as much insight vocally listening to things from rock, to hip hop, to J-Pop, to voice acting clinics as I have listening to extreme music. Expand your horizons and disregard the opinions of others, only you decide the music you like.

Impending Doom – Nailed. Dead. Risen 

The final album I wanna touch on is Nailed. Dead. Risen by Impending Doom. This album is pretty much THE album that finally got me to dive into death metal (even though they are definitely a deathcore band). They were that bridge for me, because although I listened to some melodeath and had seen bands like Suffocation live for some reason I had it in my head that it needed some “core” to be sick. The moment ‘My Nemesis’ kicked in something changed; The heaviness of things like blasts, trem riffs, and slam parts more catered to traditional moshing instantly blew past the breakdowns I thought topped all in that regard. They had those too obviously, and that was what helped with that transition for me I think, but it was the death metal parts that were shining bright to me. Another thing that struck me instantly was the unapologetically monstrous gurgles coming out of Brook Reeves. As a core kid most albums with vocals that were that punishing went under my radar but this one came slamming into my face with full intensity. Instantly I was hooked and trying to figure out how to do gutturals and massive lows. It’s still one of my favorite deathcore albums of all time and I will always be so thankful to them for being that bridge for me into the genre I now play and love so much!

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