By Rosie Walker
Equilibrium is a bright light in the epic European metal scene. Since the band’s humble beginnings in 2001, they have managed to manufacture music that is distinctive and enjoyable. Their newest addition, ’Armageddon’, is the band’s fifth album and surpasses all expectations. Hailing from the Southern regions of Germany, these guys highlight their roots by incorporating the unique German culture into their sound and lyrics. Plus a majority of their songs are sung in German, but you don’t need a translator to enjoy and understand the vibrant, fun music on this new album, which again proves that heavy metal is a universal language.
The album opens with a slow, ambient number called ‘Sehnsucht’ which means ‘nostalgia’ in English. You can sense the reminiscing as a strong voice speaks German over some synths. The song builds and the whole band kicks in giving it an inspirational, dramatic feel. Then ‘Erwachen’ hits. Meaning ‘awakening,’ which is very fitting, because you’ll be jolted wide awake by this high-power, full-pounding number. The synths blast and carry the main melodies. Guitarist, composer, keyboarder, and lyricist Rene Berthiaume really took this album under his wing by recording and mixing it, which might be why the keys seem the most prominent in the mix and the vocals of Robert Dahn are slightly buried. Yet the imbalance feels intentional and the focus is meant to be on guitars and keys. The communication between the two instruments sounds like a flourishing marriage. A partnership destined to create heavy harmonies and more.
On this 11-track record, the songs in the middle are the most fun. Numbers like ‘Heimat’, ’Born to be Epic’ and ‘Helden’ are the lovable, cheesy, ‘pump up’ songs that know how to put a smile on your face. The use of electronics and blast beats in the same song allows you to rage and dance all at the same time which is curiously addicting. This band knows how to combine power, symphonic, folk, and pop metal to make a dynamic, catchy album. Rhythm guitarist Tubal Refuel and bass player Makki Solvalt help add that extra spice to make the band’s compelling sound.
Then you have songs like ‘Catharsis’ and ‘Prey’ that are deliciously heavy with the gruff groove in Rene’s guitars and the drum work of Tuval Refaeli. The energy is limitless, and the songs are full of expression and speed providing a fun escape from the mundane. Splashing color with their bombastic sound while holding close to their German folk roots gives the album a theatrical, genuine vibe that makes you want to keep listening. Like on the song ‘Rise Again,’ you’re transported by the rustic, bubbly, folk metal to a simpler time when people wore leather and swung swords. The listener marches into metal mayhem alongside Equilibrium and together fight to victory.
The album makes a full circle with the last two songs. They carry the same weight as the beginning of the record, ‘Koyaaniskatsi’ and ‘Eternal Destination’ hit hard with their more earnest, awe-inspiring content. This album is bipolar. The mood swings from their variety is profound and exciting. It spazzes out in so many ways that it keeps you entertained from beginning to end. The meshing of genres anchored by Equilibrium’s German roots makes for an electrifying and amusing experience. It’s super fun metal album that would make a killer soundtrack for a video game.
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Record Label: Nuclear Blast/Metalville
Release Date: March 17th 2017
01. Sehnsucht (2:58)
02. Erwachen (4:41)
03. Katharsis (5:11)
04. Heimat (4:23)
05. Born To Be Epic (4:05)
06. Zum Horizont (4:19)
07. Rise Again (3:51)
08. Prey (4:52)
09. Helden (4:35)
10. Koyaaniskatsi (4:10)
11. Eternal Destination (7:21)
Total Duration: 50:26