Realmbuilder - Blue Flame Cavalry (IMPORT) (CD) Cover Art

Realmbuilder - Blue Flame Cavalry (IMPORT) (CD)

  • $15.99

Origin: Sweden
Released: 2013
Catalog number: IHR CD114
This definitely falls under that heavy/doom category, musically comparable to a simpler Manilla Road, a Lord Weird Slough Feg, or a less rotund and robust DoomSword. Riffs are quite varied between open chords that help to seat the layered vocal arrangements, to busier proto-power metal progressions that pick up to a mid-pace, but nothing is necessarily complex or inaccessible. The real joy is they feel honest and refreshing and consistently serve the escalating grandeur of the saga being played out lyrically. Realmbuilder doesn't exclusively take its time with you, but they're capable of plotting out a 10+ minute epic that never once devolves into boredom, thanks to the excellent placement of vocal choirs, leaden harmonies and a few instruments uncommon to the metal genre (trumpets, Ram's horn, etc) which help to round out the experience that the listener has been transported to this other time and place.

There's also a great sense of balance and diversity between the tunes...the mellow balladry of "Adrift Upon the Night Ocean", for example, provides a smooth contrast against the siege-hymn "Advance of the War Giants" or the slower Sabbath stride of the titular finale. The production is clean and laid back, with the drums and bass feeling like they migrated over from some obscure 70s prog rock fact I was mildly reminded of some of my favorite Rush efforts of olde (Fly by Night, Caress of Steel).

Blue Flame Cavalry is a record I'll gladly pass off to my newborn when he's old enough for the Chronicles of Narnia, but one which I can also enjoy as I prep next weekend's tabletop wargaming session. Timeless and boundless in its ability to inspire raw imagination, and with these same basic ingredients, they could go almost anywhere. It's not the busiest or most proficient metal you'll hear in this or any other year, but it absolutely does not need to be...and while I have the feeling the duo hasn't yet arrived at its 'masterpiece', this and the sophomore are both excellent and come highly recommended, whether you've got your nose soiled by the ink of your umpteenth copy of The Hobbit, aroused by the mid-period works of Slough Feg and the Hammers of Misfortune, or you're the more 'recreational' sort of fantasist adrift in an acid mushroomland.