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Extreme metal is, at least mostly, a negative genre. The depictions of Satan, grotesque artwork, loud volumes, screaming voice - it is undeniable, and that's cool. I think it's why a lot of us started digging into the genre (picture a young, chubbier Jon thinking he was such a rebel while listening to a Cryptopsy song I managed to find on KaZaA). That being said, when you dig through as much metal as I do, the negativity becomes so...monochromatic. Doom metal is sad, black metal is sad or mad, death metal is angry...you know, a different genre for every mood. It sometimes becomes tiring trying to figure out, at least given my taste in metal, what to listen to in the off chance I'm not depressed or angry. Every once in a great while something unique makes it's way out of the woodwork - but albums like Focus, Elvenefris, and Decadence emerge with exceeding rarity.

Making a surprising departure from the hardcore-fueled rage which characterizes his main project, The Clearing Path, Italian multi-instrumentalist Gabriele Gramaglia's latest outing as Summit is a rare example of bizarre, ethereal detachment in (at least what can be superficially called) metal. Through the album's many twists and turns, the black metal flirtations in "Pale Moonlight Shadow," the progressive rhythms of "Hymn of the Forlorn Wayfarer," and the death metal sensibilities of "The Winds That Forestall Thy Return, Pt. II," Gramaglia's firm grip on extreme metal's various practices is undeniable, but it's the ambient, almost art-pop inspired (think David Sylvian's solo works) atmospheres which dictate a unique direction for this new project. Zeroing in on the album's second track, the aforementioned "Pale Moonlight Shadow," what might be considered aggressive in other situations, be it the explosive doom of its introduction, jagged transitions, or mid-paced black metal influence of its ending, the overall ethereal, floating, carefree atmosphere is maintained. Atop a strong, near industrial rhythm section, Gramaglia's droning voice and chiming guitar floats iridescent, casting a cloud cover of exquisite, but otherwise detached, beauty which remains intact, even in the wake of surprise guest Nicholas McMaster's deafening roar. No, Summit's flirtations with extreme metal seems to bypass the angst and negativity baggage which generally comes with, and the rest of the album follows suit. That isn't to say that it The Winds That Forestall Thy Return is just...there, it's much more indulgent than that; something to inject as an escape and let wash over you. Gabriele Gramaglia may be onto something here.

Summit's The Winds That Forestall Thy Return will see digital and physical release through the formidable I, Voidhanger Records on July 15th. Scroll below for an exclusive first listen of "Pale Moonlight Shadow," which features guest vocals by Nicholas McMaster (Krallice, Geryon, ex-Astomatous).

—send all promo material to Jon Rosenthal at jon@invisibleoranges.com

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