EQUILIBRIUM RISE AGAIN WITH 'ARMAGEDDON': SINGEN LAUT AUF DIESES ABENTEUER
10th August 2016
"No mission too hard, no journey too big,
Because I was born to be epic."
Friday 12th August 2016 sees the release of the brand new Equilibrium album via Nuclear Blast Records. It's their fifth full-length and the follow up to 2014s 'Erdentempel' which reached number 16 in the German album charts and it's apocalyptically titled 'Armageddon'.
According to the last book of the Bible, Revelations, Armageddon is the site where armies will gather and bring about the subsequent battle that will usher in the final days of the world. It's situated in northern Israel and it's a town called Meggido and I've been there and it wasn't scary at all.
I got chatting to a handful of the locals, some of whom were into Metal and one of them was playing an album called 'Sagas' which had only just been released. This was 2008 and it was Equilibrium's second album and at the time I had never heard of them before so I can proudly say that I first encountered the band I am now writing about in the exact same place that shares the name of their new album.
2016s offering is completely different to 2008s sophomore opus however as Equilibrium have moved in a slightly different direction from the accordion laced heaviness that probably inspired Korpiklaani and delivered an album that is more accessible to the masses, carries potentially widespread appeal and is certain to bring them enormous acclaim.
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Equilibrium are still branded as a German Folk Metal band but 'Armageddon' is far removed from the Folk Metal of Eluveitie or early Ensiferum and will appeal more to fans of Powerwolf and Battle Beast. Folk instrumentation is still very present but it's not dominant and the over-riding keyboard/synth takes it some distance out of the Folk realm. The best example of this can be heard on 'Prey', one of only three songs from the album sung in English.
'Rise Again' and the.... well... epic 'Born To Be Epic' are the other two with seven numbers in German and one instrumental, opener 'Sehnsucht' which means "nostalgia" in English. Here's 'Prey'. Sit back, turn it up and enjoy the synching of great melody, a joyous chorus and modern synth sound mixed with vibrant Folk elements.
As you just heard, epicness is in abundant supply here and you'll find plenty more of it in 'Armageddon''s rich tapestry, most notably on the aforementioned 'Rise Again, possibly the standout track on the album.
They're all noteable tracks really with many standout moments, especially 'Erwachen' ("awakening" in English) which is upbeat and joyous, 'Helden' ("heroes" in English) with it's heavy, heavy guitar riff that had this office throwing shapes and flinging horns everywhere and the triumphant singalong that is 'Heimat' ("homeland" in English).
There are surprises on 'Armageddon', not least the keyboard refrain at the end of the chorus' in 'Born To Be Epic'. Once again, turn that dial to the right and get an earful of a song that could become a legendary Metal anthem.
Guitarist, composer, keyboarder and lyricist René Berthiaume has refined Equilibrium's style for 'Armageddon' and followers of the Bavarian symphonicistas will be well aware of the hard work and long hours he spent on 'Armageddon' and he has lovingly crafted a song collection that will easily stand the test of time.
René himself took on the responsibility for the recordings, the mix and the production while mastering was done by Maor Appelbaum at his studio in Los Angeles and he lost none of the Southern German flavour that is always present on Equilibrium offerings. 'Zum Horizont' is the best example of Baia-esque music from 'Armageddon'.
"In windeseile fliegen wir zum Horizont
Die Landschaft rast an uns vorbei
Das Abenteuer ruft für den der mit uns kommt
Wir singen laut und mit Geschrei"
"We sail on the wind and fly to the horizon
The landscape rushes past us
The adventure is calling us to come
We sing and shout loud."
Lyrically 'Armageddon' concerns itself with the world's current affairs and singer Robert "Robse" Dahn puts on a career best performance here and he's superbly complimented by screaming vocals from guitarist Dom R Crey and clean vocals from René.
Equilibrium were founded as a six piece back in 2001 for one single show only but here they are, five albums in and on Friday they present their best piece of work so far to the world.
Here's album closer 'Eternal Destination', the longest track on the album at 7:21 and it's a real juggernaut of a track which is definitely scarier than that place I went to in northern Israel in 2008.
The band released two track by track trailers in the run up to the album's release and you can get a taste of all of 'Armageddon''s tracks here, as well as some tremendous insight from René.
Equilibrium embark on a European tour starting in September and they're coming to London's Underworld on Monday 3rd October and they're bringing Black Forest Metallers Finsterforst and Dutch Hard Folk Metallers Heidevolk with them too. That is going to be some night that is bound to live long in the memory and bring about one mastodon-size hangover but be assured, the sun will rise again.
We'll be drinking and chatting with Equilibrium when they arrive here so look out our forthcoming interview. In the meantime, learn the words to 'Heimat' so we can lift the roof off the Underworld on October 3rd. Like we were born to be epic.
05. Born To Be Epic
06. Zum Horizont
07. Rise Again
11. Eternal Destination
The album cover artwork was created by Skadi Rosehurst and it's superb.
Robert "Robse" Dahn - vocals (2010–present)
René Berthiaume − guitar (2001–present), keyboards (2006–present), clean vocals (2014–present), bass (2015–2016)
Tuval "Hati" Refaeli - drums (2010–present)
Dom R. Crey - guitar (2014–present)
Makki Solvalt - bass (2016–present)
More Steve Göldby's Heavy Metal Chronicles right here.