Released by: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Genre: Epic Metal
Robse | vocals
René | guitars
Dom | guitars
Hati | drums
05. Born To Be Epic
06. Zum Horizont
07. Rise Again
11. Eternal Destination
I think it is safe to assume that Equilibrium’s ‘Armageddon’ is perhaps the most anticipated Folk-Pagan Metal release of 2016. Finally, it has arrived on August 12, 2016, under Nuclear Blast Records which is a follow-up from 2014’s ‘Erdentempel.’ I have personally fell in love with these German Metallers since the moment I heard 2008’s ‘Sagas.’ Despite the fact that the band has gone through an incredible amount of changes since then including lineup switches, I have never seen a dip in quality in their music. Band members now include Robert “Robse” Dahn (vocals), René Berthiaume (guitar), Dom R. Crey (guitar), Tuval “Hati” Refaeli (drums), and Makki Solvalt (bass). For ‘Armageddon,’ René took on the responsibility for recording, mixing, and production where the mastering took place at Maor Appelbaum at his mastering studio in Los Angeles.
Who would expect that Equilibrium initially started off to be a one time, one gig band where it was the audience’s reaction that led them to carry on since 2001. Presently, many feel their first and only greatness was from ‘Sagas.’ However, I am a fan of the old, the new, and newest. ‘Armageddon’ is considered to be their darkest album yet, as I must admit, this album has to be listened to more than once to get the full feel.
The album kicks off silently with “Sehnsucht.” It continues to harmoniously move as though it is part of a film score with its dramatic introduction. It is fun blasting these uplifting openings, however, lightness does not last long with ‘Armageddon.’ “Erwachen” rolls in with a merciless rhythm as it continues to mold with different layers of bitterness and rapid momentum.The pace changes once again with “Katharsis” as it slowly begins with a silent guitar riff where soon after it explodes into darkness. When I first listened to this, I felt there was some sort of dynamic or essence missing, however, after a second or third listen I appreciated this track more as it remained powerfully engaging.
“Heimat” moves in a non-traditional Folk Metal sound with some sort of panting and dynamic motion. After the initial build up, it escalates to a richer Melodic sound as it includes a catchy chorus. As great as the first four songs are, “Born To Be Epic” is the first track that moves the rest of the album on a stronger and heavier note. It is fast, fun, and catchy while the vocals incorporate well with the instrumentals as it escalates when lyrics scream out, “born to be epic!” There are a few enjoyable cheesy keyboard elements as well that adds a pleasant and unique layer.
OK, when I first heard “Zum Horizont” I could not have enough of it, I had to listen to it again where there were some points I said to myself, “Ok, I’m awake now.” It opens up incredibly fast that you don’t even know if you want to headbang or run around in a circle for fifty times straight. Yes, this song will have that effect on you or at least it did to me. The song reminds me of a circus that is meant for Metalheads if that even exists at all. The melody slows down at the right moments where it finds a part to pick up the pace once more and surprise any listener including the frantic conclusion. The album slows down slightly during “Rise Again” as you can hear a traditional Folk Metal style. It builds to an aggressive tune as you listen to the lyrics, “I feel it inside, my eyes will open wide,” and “the sun will rise again.”
“Prey” opens up with a guitar riff as it grows with ponderous instrumentals. The lyrics seem as though it is about having no regrets as musically it moves towards a chaotic instrumental break. The chorus on “the darkness,” moves in a flowy way where any listener can quickly catch on to. Things move on an atmospheric note as “Helden” opens. It has a slow introduction as the keyboard takes a prominent role with a few funky expressive beats. As the album is almost done, “Koyaaniskatsi” enters with an imminent amount of keyboard enhancements. It’s a slower tune, yet the keyboard carries throughout the song as the vocals remain whispered and mysterious.
Saving the best for last as “Eternal Destination” concludes the album. It begins with a soft and chanting sound as it is the longest one on the album clocking just over seven minutes. Musically, it progresses onto a heavier tone that includes growls, blackened vocals, and riffs. It is a way to conclude the epic Metal journey as it continues to grow towards a massive instrumental break. I highly recommend everyone to listen to this song.
Equilibrium’s ‘Armageddon’ has shown a unique and distinct change within their career. However, their drive, mindset, and musical creations will ensure that discouragement does not exist. Secondly, the marketing for this album on Equilibrium’s Facebook page is probably one of the funniest ways I have seen someone market a product before.
Reviewer: Zenae Zukowski