If anything is ever labelled as cult (or kvlt) it generally means I will like it. That goes for things outside of music also, for example film. I’m a huge advocate for underground horror cinema in the vein of Troma or even the more brutal Unearthed Films. Alas I digress, today is not a day for film, it is a day for music. So what makes something cult? Well when something has a cult following it means the album, book, film etc has a small but dedicated fan base. So with that in mind Metal as a whole has a cult following, sure there are huge festivals and millions of fans but it isn’t for everyone therefore it is isolated and only those who know, know.
To quote Rob Zombie on the subject of Metal. “That’s what I love about it is, it’s so fucking huge, and yet certain people don’t even know it exists.” Which brings me to the Teutonic Death/ Thrash cult legends Protector. Go to any festival and I guarantee hidden amid many a jacket will be a Protector patch. Formed in 1986 the band created quite a storm within the Metal scene, their classic 1988 debut Golem being held in high regard even to this day. The band however has endured its rocky points, most notably its unstable line up between 2003 to 2009. However this hasn’t deterred the band, the 2013 release Reanimated Homunculus saw the band grab listeners by the ears. Now in 2019 following up the equally successful Cursed And Coronated comes Summon The Hordes.
The Thrash theme of this release as expected is the most overbearing feature, Sitwell Avenue even derives some influences from Early Metallica in its riffs. This is all backed by Slayer and Kreator styled pace and the addition of some interesting vocals. Now to call this album Death Thrash is a bit of a push, certainly there is a Death Metal presence, in fact the bass often reminds me of Cannibal Corpse at its faster points. Yet the vocals are almost infused with a Blackened flair not dissimilar to Toxic Holocaust. That said the songs themselves simply don’t have the staying power of their counterparts and influences. The Celtic Hammer brings more fairly atypical Death Thrash ideals which whilst fun descend quickly into repetitive boredom.
Two Ton Behemoth, Meaningless Eradication, and Glove Of Love drip with similar Thrash infused guitar work which whilst classic is dull and uninspired. I can’t believe I’m going to say this but we’re not in the 80’s any more, adapt, innovate do something new. Just look to Kreator, Testament, or Anthrax all of these bands have sprung back with a big, relevant sound that makes them undeniably powerful. Yet with Summon The Hordes it’s as if the album is stuck in the 80’s and not in a good way, it’s stuck there but it’s also a release with no praise behind it, essentially if I were reviewing this in the 80’s I would still think it was drab. The titular track along with Three Legions do at least inject some memorability into the album but to little effect, too little too late.
I certainly feel as if the later portion of this album has a fair amount to offer but due to the start being so lifeless the listener becomes bitter and twisted by the second half. At which point it becomes easy to pick up on small flaws. It’s always a great shame when these underground bands surface with new material that turns out to be lacklustre. I think so much is expected of them that they become easier to scrutinize and the obvious comparison between classic and modern material arises often ending in the old ‘their first album was their best’ cliché. Overall Summon The Hordes is a pretty easy going listen and despite my rant I would pop it on for future spins, but none the less there are a lot of other bands out their doing similar things to a greater success.
(6/10 George Caley)