• Caladan Brood - Echoes of Battle (2013) - Great epic concept but lacks of unique diversity - 80% (17/02/13)

    Caladan Brood - Echoes Of Battle (2013)

     

    Quite some noise has been made in the metal scene around the release of "Echoes of Battle" of the Salt Lake City-based atmospheric and epic black metal band Caladan Brood. After a few spins, I might agree that the band is worth all this attention and could in fact become the next big thing in its scene. I'm quite sure that this album will figure in many lists of people's favourite 2013 records. On the other side, I think one shouldn't go all too far as this is only a debut record. I might also add that this band sounds a little bit too close to a few well known genre bands I also appreciate. First of all, there are of course the often mentioned Summoning but I have also detected more or less important influences of bands such as Agalloch, Bathory, Falkenbach, Moonsorrow, Nokturnal Mortum or even Tyr from the Faroe Islands.

    Caladan Brood play atmospheric, epic and sometimes folk driven black metal. The atmosphere and the lyrics are inspired by Steven Erikson's "Malazan Book of the Fallen" fantasy novels. The concept and the overall guiding line of the record seem to be more important to the band than the single tracks. That's where my main problem lies in. This album is surely very coherent and well structured but the single songs lack of unique passages, gripping hooks or catchy melodies. Even after several spins, I fail to distinguish the six different tracks from each other. The record rather works as a whole as it's also the case for classical music for example. Another weak point are the redundant slow and mid tempo passages of the record that includes no longer uptempo parts that could bring a few well needed changes in. That's where bands such as Bathory or Falkenbach are clearly more diverisfied and therefor also more intense than Caladan Brood. From an atmospheric and conceptual point of view, they are though almost unbeatable.

    "Echoes of Battle" is some sort of challenging cinematic experience for your ears and best served with your headphones on in a dark room when you have the patience to dig deeper into the concept. That's when this fantasy soundtrack becomes truly magical in its best moments but this kind of challenging stuff also requests a lot of interest, introspection and time from its listeners that one can't always afford towards this release. The patient ones will be rewarded but anyone else might find this record a little bit too ambitious and long for its own good. A few shorter tracks would have helped indeed. Caladan Brood works very well with epic topics and folk driven emotions but the song writing itself could be more diversified and unique. Maybe more band members than just two ones that share all the duties could bring in some new inspirations and possibilities as the risk is elevated that the band could easily get too repetitive in the near future. One the other side, I will definitely keep an eye on the band and there is a lot of promising potential in here after all. I sincerely hope that there are even greater things to come and I'm curious to see how the band deals with all these high hopes.

     

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