Genre: Black Metal
Country: Italy
Label: Northern Silence Productions
Year: 2017

The universe of Tolkien has always been a very interesting lyrical subject in the metal scene and bands have been meddling with the famous writer’s realms for as long as it exists. No matter the subgenre, more than enough artists have taken up stories and names from Lord of the Rings, making it a huge influential factor as a whole.

In 2013, metallers with a nerdy admiration for Tolkien saw the release of the first Hobbit movie, as well as the return of the godlike Summoning with the album “Old Mornings Dawn”. If that wasn’t enough, a new band named Caladan Brood released a record that some claimed to be at the merit of Summoning themselves or even above that, with the two releases racing for first place in that year’s lists.

An act that might be lesser known though, also released their debut album that year. Emyn Muil from Italy, a black metal project with clear influences from especially from Summoning, and other folk / viking black metal bands like Windir, came out with “Túrin Turambar Dagnir Glaurunga”, a fifty minute offer of atmospheric music in strong ties with the aforementioned bands. After listening to it and enjoying it a lot, the truth is I forgot about Emyn Muil almost instantly. It took me some seconds to remember which band it is, when I saw their second album some time ago this year.

“Elenion Ancalima” is shorter than it’s predecessor and only has five compositions during it’s forty minutes length. There is more ambient than black metal here, using epic synths and various instruments to build it’s medieval atmosphere. All the tracks have long pagan ambient / dungeon synth parts (in the vein of bands like Elffor), in harmony with the distorted guitars and the ethereal screams of Saverio Giove, the man behind the project. You will come across the popular Summoning-like drumming pattern throughout the whole album, which flows beautifully and doesn’t tire the listener.

It’s clear from the band’s name, the album’s title (meaning “the brightest of stars”), the songs’ titles, the artwork, the fonts and pretty much everything, Emyn Muil are pure Lord of the Rings worship. Musically, they fall under the same black metal style as Summoning but in a somehow lucent manner, since the Austrians craft pretty dim elements in their releases. There is a giant, fourteen minute track right after the introduction, “The Lay Of Númenorë” which introduces all of Emyn Muil’s cards and sticks out a bit in terms of duration. Notable is also the fourth track “Far Umbar” which has some of the best melodies in the album, as well as truly great dungeon synth work.

Emyn Muil’s second album “Elenion Ancalima”, doesn’t suffer compositionally or aesthetically. I would say it’s for fans only, because of it’s strong plight towards fantasy, yet it is generally solid. It would be ideal to be a bit longer and I don’t think it can rise above it’s musical brothers, but it’s more convoluted than the band’s debut. Don’t rush it with the Summoning copycat discussions, Emyn Muil have their own ideas and they’re good.

4/6