Equilibrium
Armageddon


3.0
good

Review

by Gameofmetal STAFF
August 16th, 2016 | 63 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Par for the course songwriting and awkward stylistic diversions make for the first real stumble in Equilibrium's career.

Folk metal may be commonly derided for being an obnoxiously grandiose and inherently cheesy brand of heavy metal, but in the case of veteran German outfit Equilibrium, that’s kind of the point. In retrospect, the same could be said for many folk metal groups, with all due respect to the bands that do understand the virtue of subtlety, but Equilibrium utterly thrive by the scale of their music. If anything, the reason Sagas was such a lauded and lovable record was because of how deafeningly massive it was. An hour plus runtime, high intensity barrages of synths and orchestrations, and a sixteen-minute instrumental closer were just the most noticeable features of the album rather than the entirety, and the key was that Sagas was simply a relentlessly invigorating approach to folk metal that could elicit no other audience reaction than a willingness to be swept away in it. Equilibrium have held to that habit of making “big” music over their entire career, but Armageddon is the first time they’ve actually kind of stumbled at doing so.

It’s not so much the fact that Armageddon is stripped down that’s the problem. Equilibrium had already done this with Rekreatur, trading out their folk influences for a more cut and dry symphonic presence but the result was still respectably solid. 2014’s Erdentempel, despite hearkening back to the band’s folk metal roots, was likewise streamlined, just in a more effective manner. Comparably, Armageddon is like a take two of Rekreatur, lacking folk influences in favor of accessible melodic death metal compositions. But again, that’s not entirely the issue. It’s more or less the pervading feeling that Equilibrium is finally feeling a little stale combined with some very interesting, but ultimately ill-fitting stylistic diversions that drag Armageddon down.

In classic form, Armageddon opens with an intro that waffles a bit with setting up an actual atmosphere before jumping right into a flamboyant symphonic progression to set the mood. It’s not graceful, but there’s no reason to expect it would be. The first handful of tracks are par for the course for Equilibrium; thundering riffs, epic melodies, and Robse Dahn’s scathing growls compressed into tight knit melodeath songs. And they’re fine just being that, being unsurprising yet entertaining, concise yet taking appropriate time with the composition. “Born To Be Epic” is another story however. It seems to follow suit like its predecessors at first, but then one of those odd stylistic switch-ups I mentioned crops up. It’s bizarre really, a flute mixed into a bouncy modern electronic beat, and its placement brings the track’s momentum to an unsteady lurch. “Zum Horizont” brings the album back down to earth immediately after with a callback to Equilibrium’s old folk leanings, but the damage is done. “Koyaaniskatsi” expounds on this momentum halt with awkwardly saccharine synths (and equally ill-advised backing beats) to contrast with spoken word audio samples. Yet Equilibrium still manage to reign in these diversions with grounded songs immediately after, this time being the appropriately monolithic epic “Eternal Destination”, a strong high note to send the album off.

Armageddon is really the first actual stumble in Equilibrium’s career, no matter how many might insist Rekreatur did it first. It’s definitely Equilibrium in spades, but a more reserved one that shows its uncertainty with headlong forays into areas they have no business dallying with. They’re good enough at what they do to make it work for now, but down the road that’s going to count for less and less. And on a side note, let’s all say a silent prayer for the unfortunate disappearance of the legendary Equilibrium ten minute plus instrumental closer. Lost but not forgotten.



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user ratings (65)
Chart.
2.5
average


Comments:Add a Comment 
Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
August 15th 2016


10414 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

did this for sowing's new review challenge thing and now im on a folk metal kick that doesn't seem to be going anywhere



send help please



streaming on spotify last I checked, disappointing but still pretty solid album

zaruyache
August 15th 2016


19987 Comments


I jammed a few of the tracks and they definitely felt weird for Equilibrium. Which is a shame, since Erdentempel was really great.

Digging: Black Funeral - Empire of Blood

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
August 15th 2016


10414 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

not gonna lie i gave erdentempel a cursory listen when it came out and swiftly 3'd it but after discoging the band i realized that thing is pretty sweet.



sagas is godlike

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
August 15th 2016


24259 Comments


ooh a contrib getting involved. great review though man even though this prob isn't my thing

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
August 16th 2016


11622 Comments


It was alright.

Edit: forgot how much I liked it actually. Besides the cringey , English lyrics and the fact it doesn't sound very Equilibrium-y it's cool.

LotusFlower
August 16th 2016


12001 Comments


So i suppose this is why they had no stream up beforehand.

I might toss my hat into the ring with that other album no one reviewed yet, dunno.

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
August 16th 2016


11622 Comments


Finally gave the review a read, nicely done Game. Honeslty reads a little higher than a 3 but I understand. Kinda disappointed you didn't enjoy this as much as the others because now I'm worried I won't either. I'm not a fan of how much they're milking the use of English lyrics and song titles though. It was cool when it was one track on Erdentempel but I really would rather they stick to the German. But I'll go in optimistic because so far they haven't done me wrong and Erdentempel was a highlight of 2014.

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 16th 2016


28735 Comments


Nice work. Pos'd. I'll check to see if anything else is posted today but if not I'll feature the winner no later than about 9:00 EST.

Digging: Exit North - Book of Romance and Dust

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2016


2653 Comments


sagas is ok

KILL
August 16th 2016


81231 Comments


damn i remember when sagas released and everyone + hawks were creamin their pants

how time fliez

Keyblade
August 16th 2016


26324 Comments


sagas still rules

KILL
August 16th 2016


81231 Comments


i always preferred the debut
met is hilarious

DungeonBoy
August 16th 2016


5070 Comments


Good review man, loved Sagas but probably won't give this a spin.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
August 16th 2016


10414 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the debut is practically as good as sagas for me



thanks for all the positive comments on the review btw

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2016


24259 Comments


well this is embarrassing. congrats on the win though

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
August 16th 2016


10414 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Why embarassing?



Edit: oh nvm you're talking about the album right?

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2016


24259 Comments


because i was one of two to submit and still lost haha. also, didn't know Contribs could participate.

either way though you're def a better writer than me so I guess i'll have to keep at it

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
August 16th 2016


10414 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sowing didn't really complain when i said i was considering doing it and contribs are really nothing more than upjumped users so i guess its ok



you shouldnt feel bad about it tho

WatchItExplode
August 16th 2016


6122 Comments


I also prefer the debut but I can't really be bothered to file more than one of their albums in my brain tbh

zaruyache
August 16th 2016


19987 Comments


Sags is amazing if you haven't heard it yet.



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