Caladan Brood
Echoes Of Battle


5.0
classic

Review

by Brett Tharp USER (46 Reviews)
October 12th, 2014 | 52 replies


Release Date: 2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The harder the world, the fiercer the honour...

Caladan Brood’s Echoes Of Battle is without a doubt an incredibly ambitious undertaking to say the very least, especially when taking into account the amount of ambition found within the black metal genre as a whole. Caladan Brood have crafted the sort of album meant to be the soundtrack for sword swinging, mead draining warriors, no matter the fact that we live in the modern era in all its lack of need for such. It kinda makes you wish we lived in that time, for only a moment as the lack of technology and comforts will deter even the most stalwart of would-be warriors. Taking a series of literary works as massive, complex, and epic as Steven Erikson’s Malazan series is a serious undertaking, not only in perfectly putting the source material to the right score, but just understanding it enough to conceptualize this project in the first place (Steven Erikson being one of the most complex writers I’ve come across). Caladan Brood have succeeded in every definition of the word. Echoes Of Battle is beautiful, drawn out, sweeping, triumphant, and above all……effective.

Caladan Brood sit comfortably with the black metal genre, but in a rather unique niche. Buzzing tremolo riffs interspaced with programed background drums, synths, and shrieked vocals set across incredibly long track lengths, as pioneered by the band Summoning before. The production sounds a little cleaner than Summoning’s usual, to the album’s improvement. The fact that the keys and drums are programmed may be a turn off to some, but keep in mind that it’s something of an aesthetic with the genre and somehow fits the music nicely. While Summoning have been doing the style for decades now, albeit set to Tolkien’s works instead of Erikson’s, Caladan Brood’s variant comes off as comfortably familiar to Summoning fans, yet alien enough to not sound like a blatant rip-off. There have been other bands to tackle the genre, yet none have made anything to not only stand up to, but overtake the original innovators. Elffor and Emyn Muil come to mind. Remarkably, Caladan Brood have beat Summoning at their own game. Every moment of this seventy two minute epic flows beautifully and hypnotically, with touches of modern flair and immaculate clean singing that set them apart and ahead of the pack. Six songs with tracks lengths between nine and fifteen minutes each sounds like just an exhausting listen, but Caladan Brood executes them with such grace that it only captivates.

Opening track “City Of Azure Fire” is a slow burning melancholy affair that eases us into the album in excellent form. The synths are one of the most noticeable aspects of the genre and they are overwhelmingly prevalent here. However Caladan Brood lets other pieces of the sound do more of the talking than any of their aforementioned peers. Namely the vocal presence is more up front and the guitars are far less repetitive. The long winded tremolos still guide songs, but cleverly placed guitar solos and riffy change ups show up on occasion to make this a much more varied listen. Without a doubt the most engrossing addition to the album is the use of clean singing. They’re massive, deep, rich, epic, filled with harmonization, and used at perfect moments. Every song has them at one point or another, but when placed across an album as long as this, it feels fresh every time and never overused.

“Wild Autumn Wind”, an obvious highlight, is one of the more melodic pieces. Gorgeous guitar leads and well used clean vocals drive the song, with a blistering guitar solo serving as the climax. “A Voice Born Of Stone And Dust” is probably the biggest change in style here. The synths sound primitive and there is a more aggressive tone to the usual sound. The vocals utilize some catchy lyricism in the chorus, screamed rather than sung. Without a doubt though the highlight of the album is the final track, “Book Of The Fallen”. Opening with roaring clean vocals that sound as though ushered from the lungs of a burly deep mining dwarf, it makes for an immediate attention grabber. A complete and full FIFTEEN minutes of epic black metal ensue, every moment perfectly crafted and emotional, all building up to the massive climax. Clean vocals make a return before giving way to somber keys, and just when you think the song is done…..the singing returns in A capella form to culminate in as massive a climax as this niche of black metal has seen. When it comes to black metal, or epic music in general for that matter, there is no finer moment that comes to my mind.

In truth, I can find no definable flaw with Echoes Of Battle excepting the obvious Summoning influence. It’s hard to take points off when the students have outdone the masters though. This is an unforgettable album in every sense, an earworm that will stick in your mind, brilliantly rendered in all its epic fantastical magic. If this isn’t the apex of black metal, it’s damn near the top, and you would do well to check it out.



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user ratings (162)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
DarkNoctus (4)
not simply a cheap summoning ripoff....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Gameofmetal
October 12th 2014


6596 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Inb4 the subjectivity argument, this was totally a personal write up. Darknoctus did a great and better job on his write up but I love this album so much that I wanted to do for sheer pleasure and to spread the band around.



The summary was taken from the band's facebook page description. I thought it fitting.

Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
October 12th 2014


7335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sounds fucking awesome based on your description, need to jam. Good review too, pos'd.

Digging: Venetian Snares - Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett

Gameofmetal
October 12th 2014


6596 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thanks. Legitimately my first 5 on sput. There is no other album I love more.

Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
October 12th 2014


7335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Damn, that's quite a statement

Gameofmetal
October 12th 2014


6596 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I'm a hard fanboy for CB. I only have a bare handful of 5's tbh tho

Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
October 12th 2014


7335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah I liked this a lot. Might even be a 4.5 after a few more listens. Not sure how this went over my radar last year, always looking for music like this.

Gameofmetal
October 12th 2014


6596 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I have accomplished my goal then of getting at least one more person into this band.



Glad you liked it.

Gameofmetal
October 12th 2014


6596 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Change that.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2014


20717 Comments


definitely one of your best reviews man, have a pos. listening to this again right now and wondering why i only have it rated a 3.5. Love Summoning as well

Digging: Tigers on Trains - Grandfather

Gameofmetal
October 13th 2014


6596 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thanks dude. Agreed you should listen again haha. Summoning is great.

PortalofPerfection
October 13th 2014


742 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Never much cared for Summoning. I think this style of metal in general, vast expansive soundscapes with a focus on the epic feel tend to bore me and just aren't my thing.



All that being said, this is better than anything I've heard from Summoning. Much more interesting and engaging for me.

Digging: Sadness (USA) - The Rain That Falls Alone

PortalofPerfection
October 13th 2014


742 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Excellent review btw.

PortalofPerfection
October 13th 2014


742 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

dbl pst :[

Gameofmetal
October 13th 2014


6596 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thanks. Yeah def better than Summoning

Gameofmetal
October 13th 2014


6596 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Aw looks like someone was upset that I said this was better than summoning, if I had to guess

Ignimbrite
October 13th 2014


5655 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is a billion times more awesome since I've started reading the Malazan series (well, "started"... I'm on book 8)



good review also

Digging: Rosetta - Quintessential Ephemera

Gameofmetal
October 13th 2014


6596 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thanks. I found this band right as I started the books. I'm on book 9 now.

Vakarian12
October 16th 2014


4013 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

raise the banner m/

Gameofmetal
October 16th 2014


6596 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I don't think I can raise it any damn higher lol

Ignimbrite
October 16th 2014


5655 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

what the fuck Rake, my fucking man



god damn it Mother Dark why'd you have to be such a bitch



jamming this in remembrance of the baddest, blackest motherfucker in Genebackis



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