Caladan Brood - Echoes of Battle
Northern Silence Productions
Epic Atmospheric Black Metal
6 songs (70')
Release year: 2013
Northern Silence
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

I should have paid more attention to the biosheet which came together with the Caladan Brood debut full-length Echoes of Battle. It probably did state where this Utah (US) based duo is reaching for their inspiration. Alas I didn’t, but about half-way into the opener City of Azure Fire, and I knew exactly what I was dealing with.

You start having premonitions when the opening keyboard and harp sounds (or synth sounding like harp) merge with fuzzy guitar background. When booming tribal drums come in, the serious case of déjà vu is on, but by the time the distorted shriek of prehistoric banshee joins in posing for vocals, you know exactly what hit you, and, no, it is not a new Summoning album. It is Caladan Brood taking you on their own version of the atmospheric black journey to faraway fantasy ancient kingdoms, but it is Summoning they definitely resemble. Epic and layered, Caladan Brood lays out six tracks which will test the patience with their length totaling 70 min, but will be absolutely rewarding in their entirety.

Mostly mid-tempo and narrative, just like any good fantasy book should be, Echoes of Battle songs take their time to develop, drawing the listener in with catchy repeating melodies, showcasing Caladan Brood as masters of polyphony. Some of the songs are sounds of epic battles (title track), and some are sounds of archaic mysterious prophecies slowly seeping into reality (Book of the Fallen). To Walk the Ashes of Dead Empires begins a little pompous and sedate, as if you are walking underneath the vaulted ceilings of a cold medieval castle. A Voice Born of Stone and Dust is the energy burst with the meatier double bass and powerful riffs drowned by the icicle keys, while the closer Book of the Fallen runs through everything aforementioned, from the trumpets of a medieval court to ostentatious beginning to tribal ritualistic rhythms to double bass battle closure, bookended by a-capello clean singing.

It is perhaps easy to dismiss Caladan Brood as a Summoning clone, and, indeed, the homage here is obvious, the drumbeat in the title track coming almost directly from Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame South Away track. It is true that the famous Austrians created the style of atmospheric black metal Tolkinism. The fact their music was not selected as a soundtrack to Peter Jackson movies is criminal. Yet, Caladan Brood, while being the second (and almost equal in quality I might add) in the genre, goes the length to have themselves distinguished from the originators. The quality clean male singing, the choruses, their synths sounding dead on like trumpets, flutes and harps (or could be that real instruments are used), the occasional guitar solos (Wild Autumn Wind, A Voice Born of Stone and Dust), or the outright black metal moments on the album – all of these serve dual purpose of bringing Echoes of Battle individuality and extra dimension.

If you are a Summoning fan (and judging by the reviews I have done on the site for them I guess I can be considered as one), you can’t afford to miss out on Caladan Brood debut. Northern Silence has a knack of discovering these gold nuggets bands, so here is to hoping they can hold on to Caladan Brood going forward.

Killing Songs :
Wild Autumn Wind, A Voice Born of Stone and Dust, Book of the Fallen
Alex quoted 85 / 100
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