Caladan Brood
Echoes of Battle

I’ll get the big Mumakil out of the room right away. Yes, Utah’s Caladan Brood are heavily, and I mean heavily influenced by Summoning. Plodding but regal, majestic, and somber synth laden black metal with brittle guitars using fantasy literature as a backdrop (in this case Steve Erikson’s The Malazan Book of the Fallen series, rather than Tolkien). But it does not end there; tinny programmed drums, rasped black vocals, rousing marches and introspective hymnals and an overall visage and sound that transports the listener to other wondrous realms further adds to the similar sound.

And where there is a fine line between homage and rip off, the duo of Shield Anvil (Keyboards, Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Programming) and Mortal Sword (Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards) add enough of their own character to give Caladan Brood just enough identity to come across as a respective homage than pure clone, though at times in the album, even the most ardent listener would be hard pressed to tell the difference between the two if forced to listen blindly.

With some additional pacing and tempo changes as well as some simply fucking gorgeous clean vocals that come across like a choir of Vintersorgs and Tyrs, as well as a slightly more¬† austere, melancholy overall atmosphere, Echoes of Battle, comes across as much more than an appetizer for Summoning‘s impending Old Morning’s Dawn. And in truth, Summoning should thank Caladan Brood for drumming up interest for their imminent release by releasing such an engaging album that points to a very similar, distinct sound.

Echoes of Battle isn’t a quick, catchy listen with a 70 minute run time and the songs range from 9-15 minutes with many of the jaw dropping moments contained within the 6 songs are buried deep within the tracks, requiring a full journey to fully take in. Whether it be the majestic close of opener “City of Azure Fire”, the stunning horn/brass bridge at 4:39 of personal favorite “The Walk the Ashes of Dead Empires” or the utterly breathtaking choral arrangements in “Wild Autumn Wind” and that start (and reprise) in closer “Book of the Fallen”, Echoes of Battle is at times awe inspiring regardless of influence.

Subtle nuances such as a blast beat (“To Walk the Ashes of Dead Empires”, “A Voice of Stone and Dust”- which also has a killer piano tinkling last two minutes), classic 80s metal solos (“Wild Autumn Wind”, “A Voice in Stone and Dust”), subtle vocal shift and (“A Voice of Stone and Dust”-¬† a shift to less hoarse vocals, which I actually preferred over the dry rasps) or more up tempo trot, break the pure (and lest be honest, awesome) Summoning hues and allow the duo to carve out just a little of their own niche, but there’s no mistaking the primary influence.

Does Summoning‘s next release have more hype and expectations? Undoubtedly. But don’t be surprised if those lofty expectations and 6 year lay off result in a let down and folks turn to Caladan Brood‘s Echoes of Battle as a proxy release that litters a few year end lists and to fulfill the void if Old Morning’s Dawn disappoints or underwhelms.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
April 18th, 2013

Comments

  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    This is an excellent atmospheric black metal album and yes, it made me interested in hearing new Summoning again!


  2. Commented by: timshel

    I thought Summoning was inimitable, but I guess I was wrong. When this kind of music is done well, it’s always a good thing. Echoes of Battle is a great debut(!) album!


  3. Commented by: Storm King

    Let’s see…Steven Erikson, favorite fantasy writer, check. Love Summoning, check.

    Yeah, I need this.


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