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Review of the Album "Summon the Dead" by Greek Thrash and Black Metal Band Flames

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

a bonfire and this symbolizes the band's name.

a bonfire and this symbolizes the band's name.

This 1988 Studio Album by This Old Greek Band Is More Than Just Thrash Metal

Summon the Dead is the 1988 studio album by Greek thrash and black metal band Flames and it is in this album specifically that there is the black metal vocal style. The album also has that early Iron Maiden influence in it because it’s really got a fast sort of punk vibe to it. I just started listening to these guys on July 1, 2022 and this album is vastly different from their 2022 album Resurgence. Throughout the band’s history brothers Andy (bass guitar) and Chris “R.B.” Kirk (guitars and backing vocals) have been the only two constant members during the band’s career.

With Better Vocals This Album Would Have Been Better

The vocals do also sound a little like Impaled Nazarene and some of you may be able to notice this quality as well. With all that said, it is the vocals which will ultimately mean that we will have to rate the album lower than what we may have wanted to because sometimes the vocals can ruin or lower an album’s quality. With this album though, because of the creativity of the songs, the score doesn’t take a dramatic and sudden drop into the depths of the abyss. It just won’t be 100% rated. Let’s just get right to the point and say that Alex Ossek just wasn’t the right fit for the band.

Commentary About the Album's Cover

The cover for the album also matches the feel and the style of the music as well. I would even say that the cover art resembles something from the early King Diamond albums as well (the solo albums that is). The image of the twisted gate that leads into the cemetery or the graveyard kind of sets the atmosphere for the album itself.

About the Songs In "Summon the Dead"

Songs such as “Legend 2 (The Demon’s Mind)” is really the first real time that we see these guys really experiment with a few different styles in one song. The styles range from an early Iron Maiden style acoustic section in the middle to a more Blind Guardian style soloing section a bit later. But with the way that this album begins in the song called “Eastern Front,” you may be fooled into thinking that this will end up to be some children’s folk song. This is because the song has a sample of a German folk song that was written in 1860. There are some marching style drums in the last minute or so as there is the sound of wind blowing as well. The title track is a very fast song that is lyrically about the smell and stench of death. “Kill for Mummy” lyrically is actually about opposing communism. The song describes a situation where soldiers will do anything to defend their homeland against the evils of communism. The chorus however with those raspy vocals is something that is kind of cheesy which once again highlights the need for better vocals. The guitar work resembles Mercyful Fate but by no means is it better than the Don’t Break the Oathalbum. The rhythm section starting at the one minute and 23 second mark of the first song is one of the best parts of the song and in my perspective, it sounds like a better version of 1980s Judas Priest.

The last song “Ballad of a Skinbeating Maniac” is just 33 seconds of various sounds followed by a laugh at the end. That may be the only blemish on this album other than the sub-standard vocals. All things considered, Summon the Dead is still a very good album by what is considered to be the first thrash metal band in Greece’s history.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

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© 2022 Ara Vahanian

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