The fifth release from German metal standouts Equilibrium brings true Armageddon! Robert (Robse) Dahn returns on vocals, René Berthiaume shreds guitars and mans the boards, Dom Crey on guitars, Makki Solvalt with the bass and Tuval (Hati) Refaeli smashing drums. Two years after ‘Erdentempel’, the group have once again returned with more Germanic melodies. And it brings great joy to say that this is simply folk metal at its finest as this group of Viking Metallers are breaking through the top of the underground and have emerged as a true metal force. Let us take a journey through the tracklist.
The intro track is titled ‘Sehnsucht’, which means yearning; wistful longing. A perfect way to start off this trip into Armageddon! While it’s not exactly anything particularly moving, it does set a terrific tone for what is to come. ‘Erwachen’ comes to us next as an eclectic mix of speedy guitars and uplifting folky keys. Up next is ‘Katharsis’, which starts off with tinny acoustics that quickly melt your ears into an epic of flutes and powerful guitars. This track also incorporates clean vocals at parts, which is a rare occurrence for this album.
‘Heimat’ has such a lifting beat with its emotional introduction quickly gripping your interest as you experience from beginning to end. ‘Born to be Epic’ was one of two tracks that were given an online music video preview treatment a few months back, and to say this one was interesting is an understatement. Between the dancing swords and the comical green screen effects I’m almost convinced this was meant to be comical. Nevertheless, this track is very good and offers something truly unique to the genre, even if a bit cheesy!
‘Zum Horizont’ brings us back to terms of reality with excellent speedy guitars and a terrific build into a momentous chorus, showcasing brilliant transitions from folk to death. Masterful! ‘Rise Again’ opens with a soft melody of flutes and imposing beats appearing to be a gentle moment for you to ease into a magical forest. That moment of comfort quickly ends as we’re taken to a ruckus of lightning fast beats and accompanying melodic speed folk worthy of the golden standard. Terrific blend of symphony and growls. ‘Prey’ takes a more powerful approach, delivering a heavy dose of trudging riffs that grow into a sensational passage. Rosbe’s vocals really offer a magical contrast to the overall theme presented by Berthiaume and Crey on guitars.
Then comes freak’n ‘Helden’! I just can’t explain in words how completely floored I am from this tune. Just when you think it’s just one of those tracks that continue the album down a certain path it slaps you in the face with a section that gives me the greatest of pleasures. Robse shrieks out “SONIC BOOM” and then you are treated to an overture of chiptunes. The blending symphony of gushing vocals, thrashing guitars and wondrous video game BGMs is something that absolutely HAS to be experienced!
After that, we get a bit of an odd track with ‘Koyaaniskatsi’. It’s very much a transition track with lots of German dialogue and mysterious portions that make for a very ominous sound. Not really a song I’d pick out to listen on its own. ‘Eternal Destination’ is a fine track to finish off an excellent release. Crisp guitars, well balanced vocals and excellent chorus make this a fun listen. This track was also given the music video treatment in a much more serious manner. Definitely worth a listen.
I’ve read many opinions of Equilibrium’s work saying that they have slipped from greatness since ‘Sagas’… to those, I say: “If you wish to live in the past, please stay there. Allow the rest of us to enjoy the glorious spectacle that is Armageddon!” Highly recommended!
Review by Joshua Jaeger
12th August 2016
5) Born To Be Epic
6) Zum Horizont
7) Rise Again
11) Eternal Destination
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...this is simply folk metal at its finest..."