To say that Utah’s Caladan Brood sounds like Summoning would be a fairly huge understatement. You can clearly discern that Summoning is a major influence on this band. Compared to Summoning, though, there are still some things lacking in their music. The main thing missing on Echoes of Battle is the epic sound. If you compare Caladan Brood to Summoning, the difference is stark. Summoning is fucking epic and Caladan Brood is pretty bland. Where the music of Summoning makes you think of cataclysmic battles, deep and dark dungeons, majestic castles and vast forests, Echoes of Battle evokes images of pastoral fields dotted with grazing cattle and bored herdsmen. If a band is going to be playing Epic Black Metal, forgetting the “epic” is defeating the purpose. This needs bombast and it needs it in the worst way. Echoes of Battle has music that just doesn’t capture the imagination. Part of the problem may be the song structures themselves. The guitar parts aren’t very melodic, opting instead for a Burzum-esque drone. The result is a sound that is part minimalism and part symphonic. Imagine if Varg from Burzum let the Dimmu Borgir guys slap some keyboards over Filosofem and then got the sound from Summoning’s Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame. This is kind of what this LP sounds like to me. Depressive and melancholic Black Metal doesn’t make a good foundation for the epic style the band seems to want. There is potential here, but it needs to be further developed before these guys can be considered contenders. Epic Black Metal in the Summoning vein is an ambitious style to jump into. Failing in this sub-genre is very easy to do because the requirements for success are very hard to meet. If Caladan Brood persists and manages to capture the necessary bombast and epic feeling, they’ll be contenders for a spot in the top tier. They aren’t ready for primetime yet, but I’m going to put them on my list of bands to watch out for in the coming years.
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