I was curious as to how Germany’s Equilibrium would fare with the follow up to 2008’s critically acclaimed Sagas. Not only because of that album’s brilliance, but also due to a line-up changes, as original vocalist/founding member Helge Stang is replaced by Robert Dahn, and the band has their third drummer in as many albums. Then there are the x-factors to take into account, like the emergence of fellow Germans Finsterforst, who basically clone Equilibrium’s sound quite competently. Well, fans like me won’t be disappointed with Rekreatur, even though it does sound a little happier and tad familiar to Sagas, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Dahn is almost indistinguishable from Stang as he has the same mix of black metal rasps and some deep death metal vocals, but what makes Equilibrium so alluring is their music which has kept its charm; an epic mix of black metal, folk metal and death metal with oodles of keyboards and bouncy, catchy riffs that are rooted in the Finnish school of folk metal (Ensiferum, Finntroll, Turisas, etc) but taken to the next level (a dash of Bal-Sagoth even) of bombastic pomp and cheese.

“In Heiligen Hallen” gets things going in typical epic, Equilibrium fashion; a warm, orchestral intro and a galloping, stirring explosion of grin inducing, romping metal. And while, it’s basically the same sort of track as Saga’s “Wurzelburt”, it’s no less enjoyable.  And so the familiarity continues with “Verbrannte Erde”  and “Wenn Erdreich Bricht” being this album’s slow somber tracks, “Die Affeninsel” and arguable standout “Aus Ferner Zeit” bounce along with aplomb and even some female vocals and beer hall chants.  But while I do get the feeling that the band seems to be treading water a tad, with most of the moments from Rekreatur feeling like rehashed tracks from Sagas, its not a bad thing considering how much I enjoyed Sagas.

On a minor note, there’s no one track that blows my mind: Where Sagas had the standouts like “Snuffel”, or short sharp burst of “Heimwarts” and “Ruf In Den Wind”, Rekreatur simply flows with an enjoyable, likeable consistency. Other groovy favorite “Fahrtwind” is the nearest thing to those tracks. However, where Sagas had the 13-minute instrumental closer “Mana”, a track I didn’t really agree with, Rekreatur has another lengthy closer, “Kurzes Epos” which actually is a pretty epic, killer track covering all of Equilibriums’ bases and pacing. Either way, the album makes me smile, and that’s enough for me.

If you splurge and get the digipak special edition of the album, you get a bonus disc which has acoustic/instrumental redos of 5 tracks (including “Heimwarts” and “Blut Im Auge” from Sagas). They come across much like Finntroll’s Visor Om Slutlet – with the awesomely frantic acoustic take on “Heimwarts” being particularly enjoyable. The bonus disc adds a nice little cherry on top of an awesome folk metal cake, that wont be as high on my year end list as Sagas, but still there none the less.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 8th, 2010


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