Take out the metal from Summoning and what do you get? You get albums filled with atmosphere and orchestral beauty. You get new perspectives on Tolkien’s world and legerdemain. We are shown things in different lights, we are given melodies that correspond with the events of the books. The entire world of Middle-Earth and Arda become richer and fuller, filled with the music that Tolkien wrote so much about. Summoning, though, would not be Summoning if they removed the metal from their music. So what do we do then? I humbly give you Nan Morlith, a relatively new name on the dungeon synth scene, but a name that I firmly believe will be added to the giants of the genre. Why? Well let’s listen to Âdhûn (Black Speech for “alone” I believe and yes I’m purposefully showing off my nerd powers) and find out.
I won’t claim to know Lord Aginor well, but I will make the claim that he knows what he’s doing and he’s dedicated to making his work worthy of the world he is making the music about. Âdhûn is short, four songs and it’s over, but within it we are shown exactly what I was talking about before: Summoning without the metal. Nan Morlith has a rich, orchestral atmosphere that is clearly inspired by the likes of Summoning and Lord Lovidicus. He pays homage to these men but he does not copy them. While taking points from their style of music, Nan Morlith explores the realms of Middle-Earth a little more, or at least a little deeper, than Summoning does. Where Summoning takes a look at the events that happened, Nan Morlith takes a look at the landscape itself. Nan Morlith gives a voice to the world of Middle-Earth, the often forgotten character of all of Tolkien’s works. He blends themes and melodies together and from those sounds I believe he captures the emotions, not just of the people, but the trees, the streams, the mountains, and the hills.
The album is beautiful and it’s dark. But it’s not just dark, it has a light as well. Nan Morlith uses the same dichotomy of light versus dark (I won’t go in the unlight debate here but it adds a fascinating dynamic) that Tolkien uses in a lot of his Silmarillion work. Neither side is really ever in control but they fight each for control of the music. Nan Morlith balances the themes throughout the EP give each their due but letting neither side gain control of his music. The resulting tones are melancholic, rich with sadness and hopelessness, something I think Tolkien would have approved of. There might not be a narrative in Âdhûn but what we are shown is that Nan Morlith knows what he’s doing and that in future releases I believe we will be getting new perspectives on some of Tolkien’s narratives.
If you haven’t read the Silmarillion, I would greatly recommend you do so. The more you understand Tolkien’s works, his thoughts, and his language and syntax, the more you will be able to appreciate Nan Morlith’s work here. While you can certainly appreciate Âdhûn without the Silmarillion, there is so much richness in Tolkien’s world it would be a shame not to. I am eagerly waiting for a full length album from Nan Morlith, give the tone of Âdhûn and the atmosphere it creates in such a short time, I can’t wait to see what a full length album will be able to do.
Listen and support!