Review Summary: While not improving their sound and releasing a somewhat "safe" record, Equilibrium gives this fan more material to listen to while I do some hoarding in my Viking costume.
Back in 2008 Equilibrium released one of the most extraordinarily epic albums ever in Sagas. I went on to sing its praises by finishing off the review saying, “Equilibrium’s Sagas has showed me how beautiful the genre of Viking metal can be. All throughout the album, I felt as if I was living the daily life of a Germanic Viking. I felt like burning, raping, and plundering with the best of them. Emotionally I was on top of the world for 80 minutes.” So when the band announced they were working on a new album and was expecting it to be released in the summer of 2010, my eyebrows raised just a little bit. Back in February though the band hit a bit of a road bump as singer Helge Stang and drummer Manuel DiCamillo left the band. This did not stop the rest of the band from completing the new album and finding a new singer and drummer. Rekreatur
was released on time and it has proved that even without the great vocals of Helge, that Equilibrium can still release solid material.
The main selling point that Sagas had on me when it first came out was that it combined beautiful folk metal elements with an over the top symphonic structure. Rekretur
continues this bombardment of symphonies but sacrifices most of the folk elements entirely. It does not mean that what was found in Sagas and Turis Fratyr is not present, but it is quite scarce; Die Affeninsel” is honestly the only thing that even has the happy go lucky folky sound. As for the rest of the album, well, it falls into my cup of tea. Equilibrium maintains that extraordinary epic sound.
Starting off with “In Heiligen Henn”, the marching crash of drums and horns quickly get the album on the pace the band is so used to performing. The main melody of the song feels like it would fit in Sagas perfectly. I have read that new singer Robert Dahn does not fit well with the band, but that is completely false. His vocals are basically a gruffer version of Stangs and “In Heiligen Henn” is a perfect example of how well his voice works with the chemistry of the band.
Unfortunately not all of the album can be praised. “Der Wasserman” and “Wenn Erdreich Benn” are quite frankly boring. It takes about four minutes for “Der Wasserman” to show any signs of being decent and that only lasts for about a minute afterwards. The later song is just seven minutes of unspectacular symphonic metal too. A couple decent melodies and cool drum beats cannot save the song either. Another big drag that Rekreatur
brings is that it does not seem to flow well. With Sagas, the 80 minute length was not really a p.roblem as I felt the flow of each song into the other was pretty much perfect. While this is 18 minutes shorter, it felt longer to me because the odd flow. This was almost a chore to sit through the entire thing, kind of like Turis Fratyr; that was clearly not a problem with Sagas at all.
Aside from the problems there is a reason why this is still rated so highly: the epicness. Equilibrium never ceases to impress me with the grandeur that they present in every album. Songs like “Verbrannte Erde” and “Aus Ferner Zeit” are great examples of symphonic metal on the highest scale. There is no need for operatic female singers, orchestras, or exotic instruments. When it comes to instrumentals, the band always performs on the highest level. Sagas had one of my favorite songs of the past decade in Mana. Rekreatur
wants to show us a worthy successor in “Kurzes Epos”. While it is not even close to reaching the awesome climax that Mana had, this song does spread out the moments and does not rely on one big build up. The first five minutes of the song is pretty much symphonic bliss with a barrage of awesome guitar and keyboard riffs. The middle section of the song is easily the best as it slows down and gives the listener a great atmospheric feel. By the time we reach the 6:45 part, “Kurzes Epos” becomes to the closest thing to Mana that the band has produced to this date; that riff is just remarkable. In all honesty, the song should have ended after the women choir vocals because it gives a fantastic mood to end the album. As for the real ending of the song, it is not bad, but seems lackluster compared to the rest of it.
definitely does not give that wow factor Sagas gave off the first time I heard it two years ago. The band has basically gone completely symphonic, abandoning the folk elements and replacing them with the synthesizers. I have always preferred this anyways, but sometimes incorporating them into the already massive songs could increase the overall dynamic. Equilibrium have not improved, but have established the sound that they want. While not better than the previous effort, which was such a daunting task in the first place, Rekreatur
is a great release to please fans and shows those who do not know about them what their style is all about.