Review Summary: While enjoyable, Waldschrein feels like a simple excuse for the band to have a new release.2 of 2 thought this review was well written
There is nothing groundbreaking about Waldschrein. Given the nature of this EP however, I'm not sure anyone expected otherwise. Waldschrein serves as a placeholder for Equilibrium's next LP as well as a taste of what it might sound like.
Waldschrein: this track is a brand new original. Waldschrein is a fun song, which if described as anything sounds like a mix between Sagas and Rekreatur. Namely the folkier parts of Sagas, and the general atmosphere of Rekreatur. Surprisingly, Equilibrium has recorded their first clean vocals in history for this song. Overall, the band plays it safe on this track. Structurally it remains incredibly simple (think Der Ewige Sieg) and melodically it's what we've come to expect from these guys. It's an enjoyable track if a little unsurprising.
Der Sturm: the second track is a slightly extended and rerecorded version of Der Sturm from Turis Fratyr. I prefer the original on grounds of vocals, the mix, and simple preference for the unextended version (which had a more satisfying musical progression). Regardless, it's interesting to see a somewhat fresh take on this old song.
Zwergenhammer: this is a recording of an unreleased song from Equilibrium's earlier days. The songwriting feels less mature and there aren't really any exciting hooks. The song is merely satisfactory compared to the rest of the band's catalogue so it's understandable that they didn't release it until now.
Himmelsrand: a cover of the Skyrim theme. Although many people have heard this song dozens of times, this is a very enjoyable rendition, and probably the best metal one. Not much more to say. It's the Skyrim theme.
Waldschrein (acoustic): the final track is an acoustic/instrumental version of "Waldschrein." It's shorter than the original and it feels incredibly folky. This is the most orchestrally "huge" song Equilibrium have ever done. It definitely wouldn't be out of place on a Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack. To compare, it's not unlike some of the instrumental material found on Sagas. This, to me, is the most enjoyable track on the album, and serves as an excellent compliment to track number one.
In the end "Waldschrein" is a release that I believe exists only to keep the band from stagnating as fans wait for the fourth full-length. It feels like the band decided they wanted to release an EP and then proceeded to scrape the barrel for songs to fill an appropriate track length. It seems most of these songs would do better as bonus tracks on a standard LP. The material is enjoyable, but perhaps too familiar and uninspired, therefore not being worth a dedicated purchase.