When the first volumes of Steven Erikson’s “Malazan Book of the Fallen” were published it became clear that the term “Epic Fantasy” had just been redefined. Even the works of J.R.R. Tolkien or G.R.R. Martin did not share the sheer size and complexity of the world Erikson had created. “Echoes of Battle” is the debut album of this newcomer band from Utah/USA, and their songs are the Epic Black Metal interpretation of Erikson’s Malazan books, not unlike what a certain band from Austria created for Tolkien’s Middle Earth. In fact, when you listen to “Echoes of Battle” for the first time you might think you’re listening to the new album of that certain band from Austria, simply because Summoning defined this very style, let’s keep calling it Epic Black Metal, 17 years ago on their “Minas Morgul” album and since then no other band has managed to reach the pinnacle of perfection Summoning held ever since. Until now. What distinguishes Caladan Brood from a mere copycat is their ability to take what worked for Summoning and then add their own trademarks to it, such as clean male vocals and choirs or actual guitar solos, and forging all of this into something truly majestic, thus redefining the term Epic Black Metal in their own unique way, just like Erikson redefined Epic Fantasy with his books. And while it’s obvious that Summoning have been a tremendous influence for Caladan Brood, for those of you who, like myself, were waiting in vain for a new Summoning album and by now are ready to welcome an heir to the throne, for you “Echoes of Battle” may well turn into a 71 (!) min eargasm because it simply can’t get any better than this. Everything on this release, the fantastic music, the great vocals, the massive sound, the attention to detail, the beautiful artwork by Albert Bierstadt, the poetic lyrics, everything works in tandem to create an album that will be enjoyed by fans of this style for years to come, and may even end up in many all-time faves lists. It really is that good! Now, if your head is spinning from all the superlatives I’m throwing at you, consider the fact that we’re talking about a band’s debut album here, two youngsters that appeared out of nowhere, without a demo or any previous sign of life. Realize the level of perfection.