Equilibrium - Armageddon review



Reviewer:
7.7

111 users:
7.59
Band: Equilibrium
Album: Armageddon
Release date: August 2016


01. Sehnsucht
02. Erwachen
03. Katharsis
04. Heimat
05. Born To Be Epic
06. Zum Horizont
07. Rise Again
08. Prey
09. Helden
10. Koyaaniskatsi
11. Eternal Destination


Armageddon reveals the beginnings of a shift in Equilibrium's style - sometimes a flattering shift, other times less so. This album pulls the band in a couple of different ways with a rather mixed result that has garnered some even more mixed reactions.

Outside a couple of isolated tracks, Armageddon doesn't have much claim to the folk metal label. Without any instrumentation or melodies of evident traditional derivation, and carrying several passages clearly inspired by Wintersun, Armageddon generally falls into extreme power. Even if the change saps Equilibrium of the ecstatic vigor that someone ordained should belong to eccentric folk metal bands, extreme power still suits the band just fine. "Erwachen" and "Heimat" are high-energy songs that are, if a bit serious, still a lot of fun. That brings us to the middle of the album and its centerpiece, "Born To Be Epic."

Though I had great fun with Erdentempel during the 2014 Metal Storm Awards and remembered Equilibrium fondly since then, it was "Born To Be Epic" that drew my attention to Armageddon and instilled in me the desire to write a review. While the relatively bare melodies and unhurried pace do sound like past Equilibrium played at half speed, the myth-building, sense-deriding lyrics basically put the song beyond reproach as a loving tribute to Manowar, or at least the similar folk metal spirit of earnest absurdity. More importantly, "Born To Be Epic" is one of the few examples I've ever heard of metal incorporating elements of dubstep, successfully or otherwise, and what struck me at first as ludicrous has since become exceptional. I found the whole idea of folk metal dubstep so singularly fascinating that I was rather disappointed to find that Equilibrium did not continue to explore the possibilities elsewhere. This may have been a wise strategy, given the discordant reactions voiced by fans about the experiment; the rest of Armageddon plays it much safer.

Getting back to the rest of the album, "Zum Horizont" and "Rise Again" bring back the woodwind whirlwind and triumphant charging of older albums, but everything from "Prey" onwards falls into a rut. Wanting for creativity, speed, and that energizing rowdydowdy that Equilibrium can so handily distribute, the last third of the album suffers from enervating and interminable mediocrity. It's difficult to believe that the first and second halves of Armageddon are indeed the same album, but so long as you don't actually finish listening to it, you'll probably be satisfied.

The first few songs on Armageddon seized me immediately, and up until the end of "Rise Again," I'd call it a pretty good album. Those last few tracks, however, with their mired pace and throwaway melodies, do nothing for me, and I still must say that Equilibrium would have been better off making another Erdentempel. At the very least, I think they should have taken their experimentation much further and created something wholly unorthodox if they weren't going to stick to the old ways; Armageddon currently sits in the middle of several different ideas, some of which hold the album back from being a complete success, and I suspect that pushing forward into new territory will ultimately be more beneficial than trying to recreate the past.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 8


 



Written on 09.12.2016 by Reviewing since 2010. Reviewing competently since 2013. More metal than you since before the dawn of 'istry.


Comments

Comments: 11   Visited by: 257 users
10.12.2016 - 01:01
Malignar
"Born to be Epic" best metal song title of 2016. And possibly my planned first tatoo!
Loading...
10.12.2016 - 12:20
Sword_Chant
I really liked this album. It didn't quite live up to the status that Erdentempel did, or up to any of their previous albums for that matter, but there's not really a song I dislike. The biggest problem for me was that there are less songs than on Erdentempel, and these songs are considerably shorter. Best songs of the album imo are Zum Horizont, Erwachen, Katharsis, Helden and Eternal Destination.
Loading...
10.12.2016 - 12:23
hard_tom
Written by Malignar on 10.12.2016 at 01:01

"Born to be Epic" best metal song title of 2016. And possibly my planned first tatoo!

My opinion tattoo "No mission too hard No challenge to big" should be better...
Loading...
10.12.2016 - 17:18
Fat & Sassy!
Nomcat
*read song titled Born to Be Epic*
*reads that it has dub step elements in it*
*cringes so hard, my eyes have permanently rolled into the back of my head*

Are they being ironic?
----
"Information is not knowledge
Knowledge is not wisdom
Wisdom is not truth
Truth is not beauty
Beauty is not love
Love is not music
Music is THE BEST..." ____Frank Zappa
Loading...
10.12.2016 - 17:48
ScreamingSteelUS
Agent of Steel
Written by Fat & Sassy! on 10.12.2016 at 17:18

*read song titled Born to Be Epic*
*reads that it has dub step elements in it*
*cringes so hard, my eyes have permanently rolled into the back of my head*

Are they being ironic?

If you can't enjoy the wub-wubbing of electronic panflutes over crunchy guitars while a big, German guy screams, "I WAS BORN TO BE EPIC," then are you truly living?
----
Row, row, fight the power
Djently down the stream

I wonder how you will defend your ludicrous assertions.
Loading...
10.12.2016 - 18:38
moe5512
Written by Fat & Sassy! on 10.12.2016 at 17:18

Are they being ironic?

Yes.
Loading...
10.12.2016 - 19:27
ScreamingSteelUS
Agent of Steel
Written by moe5512 on 10.12.2016 at 18:38

Written by Fat & Sassy! on 10.12.2016 at 17:18

Are they being ironic?

Yes.

It isn't ironic, but it is self-aware and humorous.
----
Row, row, fight the power
Djently down the stream

I wonder how you will defend your ludicrous assertions.
Loading...
10.12.2016 - 22:35
Fat & Sassy!
Nomcat
Written by ScreamingSteelUS on 10.12.2016 at 17:48

If you can't enjoy the wub-wubbing of electronic panflutes over crunchy guitars while a big, German guy screams, "I WAS BORN TO BE EPIC," then are you truly living?


I like to think so. ;_;

Written by ScreamingSteelUS on 10.12.2016 at 19:27

It isn't ironic, but it is self-aware and humorous.


Makes sense. I mean, this *is* the same band that featured a track on Sagas that was basically metal safari adventure.

Might check the album out, though I have not had an interest in the band since the aforementioned album.
----
"Information is not knowledge
Knowledge is not wisdom
Wisdom is not truth
Truth is not beauty
Beauty is not love
Love is not music
Music is THE BEST..." ____Frank Zappa
Loading...
11.12.2016 - 13:44
Soilworker5
Written by ScreamingSteelUS on 10.12.2016 at 19:27

Written by moe5512 on 10.12.2016 at 18:38

Written by Fat & Sassy! on 10.12.2016 at 17:18

Are they being ironic?

Yes.

It isn't ironic, but it is self-aware and humorous.


This is not the first time, that they have made fun of themselves. Check out the official video for "Wirtshaus Gaudi" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bYMAgM42pM, and this is important! - watch till the end. You probably won't be disappointed.
Loading...
13.12.2016 - 02:11
WinterMadness
Equilibrium blew my mind when I first discovered their debut, and really outdid themselves with Sagas (thanks in no small part to the closing track, Mana, which may be one of the best songs ever written).
I wasn't thrilled about the vocalist change after that, but Rekreatur was still a close runner up to Sagas for me.
Erdentempel started to show the beginning of a shift away from their "Equilibrium-ness", and Armageddon seems to have fallen further down that rabbit hole...but it's still vastly more listenable than all the bland Ensiferum ripoffs littering the genre today. They may not be the same band that made Sagas, but they're still one of my favorites. They've been much more successful at changing their style while retaining quality than other bands I once called my favorite...*cough* Sonata Arctica *cough*
Loading...
20.12.2016 - 03:33
RainFillsRivers
Written by WinterMadness on 13.12.2016 at 02:11

Equilibrium blew my mind when I first discovered their debut, and really outdid themselves with Sagas (thanks in no small part to the closing track, Mana, which may be one of the best songs ever written).
I wasn't thrilled about the vocalist change after that, but Rekreatur was still a close runner up to Sagas for me.
Erdentempel started to show the beginning of a shift away from their "Equilibrium-ness", and Armageddon seems to have fallen further down that rabbit hole...but it's still vastly more listenable than all the bland Ensiferum ripoffs littering the genre today. They may not be the same band that made Sagas, but they're still one of my favorites. They've been much more successful at changing their style while retaining quality than other bands I once called my favorite...*cough* Sonata Arctica *cough*




(coughs for the rest of his life about SA)
----
- Wrainth
Loading...

Hits total: 3234 | This month: 142