To the uninitiated, Beithíoch (meaning beast in Irish, an appropriate name if there was one), is a warped black metal project with branches into death and doom, all resonated from a not so specific location in the “north west” of Ireland. Maintaining much of the mystery and sometimes peculiar anonymity that characterised black metal of yore Beithíoch has conjured a strange and enthralling aura around it. Last year’s full-length Dúchas, meaning heritage, stood up as a solemn coming together of all its strength gathered since the first release in 2007. Summoning the Past is a mere EP effort that attempts to look back on the last five years, as the title would suggest, with a number of songs re-recorded, re-worked and re-imagined.
Beithíoch mostly craft instrumental dirges and such was the case with Dúchas, being totally sans vocals. Summoning the Past has allowed some voices to enter the circle but only tenuously.
Dúchas, while instrumental, had a tad more of the frost bitten in its riffing, while Summoning the Past’s re-imaginings take a little more from neighbouring pastures of death metal. Arm Na Deith lays as evidence with a searing opening riff, which is noticeably denser than before.
“Denser arrangements, more epic and varied” was the intended approach of Summoning the Past and it’s certainly come to fruition here as each song is heavily layered and more grandiose than before, like on the towering Drowned in Shadows, which makes for one of the EP’s highlights. Meanwhile, EP closer Súil Bhaloir returns to some eerier black metal tinged guitars that are soaked in sorrow.
The scattered vocals pose something of a question over the EP though. Being so sporadic and indecipherable at the best of times, they never truly flourish and the emphasis remains on instrumentation and atmosphere – the crux of Beithíoch. However, vocals remain unexplored and beg the question whether it’s something that could be expanded upon in future releases, when fully new compositions are realised. Either way, Summoning the Past is a solid sonic experiment.
Summoning the Past will be released by Broken Limbs Recordings