Review Summary: Equilibrium drop a great deal of their folk influences in favour of symphonic elements and falter because of it.
German black/folk metallers Equilibrium have so far provided us with two rather enjoyable, if not very original albums, 2005's Turis Fratyr
and 2008's Sagas
. What made the band stand out next to their contemporaries were their somewhat fresh-sounding melodies, based on traditional pagan melodies rather than the northern ones of influential Scandinavian groups such as Ensiferum. Sagas
was a very ambitious effort for the band, but managed to stay enjoyable despite its very long running length. Equilibrium's newest release Rekreatur
, recorded with a new vocalist and drummer, sees the band altering their sound quite significantly from their previous album, something which can logically turn out to be for the good or for the bad.
Unfortunately for the band, Rekreatur
proves to be quite a step down from both their earlier albums. Flutes and other instruments that helped develop the group's predominantly folk metal sound have been ommited, making room for an emphasis on keyboards. This new album is far heavier on the symphonic elements, and it is not something that works too well for Equilibrium. The keyboards make the band come off as fake and gimmicky, making Rekrautur
very unconvincing overall. The fun factor and positively cheesy melodies surrounding superb moments such as Blut Im Auge
are not a factor of the music anymore, and that weighs things down. The band takes itself too seriously, and that's what makes this such as dissapointment.
doesn't sound as vibrant, and much darker than its predecessor. This is partially due to new singer Robert Dahn, whose deeper voice is not as much as a fit for the band as Helge Stang's standard but highly enjoyable black metal shrieking. While the band has succeeded in altering their sound to fit their new vocalist, he still doesn't fit them as well as his foregoer. He is not without talent, but Dahn is not as good with the band as the one he replaced.
To say that the album is altogether just bad is going too far, because a devoted fan of the genre will certainly find this enjoyable, but Rekreatur
sounds too standard-fare and doesn't feature nearly enough inspired riffs and melodies. The dark, booming melody and vocal style of second single Verbrannte Erde
is ripped straight off Kamelot's March of Memphisto
, not really advocating for the album's originality. On top of that, there are some moments that just do not work at all, particulary the female backing vocals on the epic Aus Ferner Zeit
, which is a typical moment where this record goes ahead of itself.
Equilibrium is certainly among the more talented bands in the scene, and has shown vast potential in their past albums, but Rekreatur
is a definite misstep. The group drop an essential part of their core sound for increased use of symphonic elements, which makes the album sound way too serious, and the originality and inspired catchy melodies of Sagas
are nowhere to be found. Let's hope the band's third album is just a temporary cooldown - after all, they're capable of much better things.