Turis Fratyr

Discounting Moonsorrow’s (for me, mildly disappointing) album, its been a pretty barren year for great Viking metal, with even a few rotten eggs thrown in (fellow Germans Iuvenes, Suidakra), so when I finally got my hands on this Germans band’s highly regarded album, I was giddy, boy was it worth the wait.

Part Ensiferum, part Amon Amarth, part old Thyrfing, all Viking, Equilibrium have released what is easily the best and most fun Viking metal album since Moonsorrow’s Kivenkentaja. With Ensiferums’s power metal gait and gallop, Amon Amarth’s crushing blows and death metal lean and Thyrfing’s liberal use of synths, Equilibrium have perfected what Viking metal should be. The level of epic grandeur and Teutonic glory is off the damn charts here folks, if you’ve ever read and heeded my Viking metal reviews in the past, heed me now, you NEED this.

“Wingthor’s Hammer” opens things up with a gloriously over the top jaunt into synth laden cheese and vocally Helge Stang not only uses the usual mid range Viking scream, but a deep, trollish death metal growl that just adds ‘something’ to the keyboard steeped tones. The guitars also switch from the typical blackened delivery to deeper, crunchy moments that are certainly Amon Amarth based. “Unter Der Eiche”, initially gives you a moment to catch your breath with a riff that somehow reminded me of “We, Three Kings of Orient Are”, but soon rights itself with some mid paced majesty and epic blasting that’s far meatier than most traditional Viking metal. The brief “Der Sturm” is a more typical canter through synth laced pomp but has some superbly earthy pace changes (the one at 2:18 is simply magnificent) that fit the songs namesake.

Admittedly after the all too short but sublime prior track, the frivolous piccolo, female vocals and lengthy pace of “Widars Hallen”, seem ‘light’, but as a galloping epic, it’s perfect. I’d love to go through track by track for you, but honestly, it’s all so damn good. There’s not a single weak moment on the album, and as strong as the first few tracks are, the quality never seems to wane or wander. The Finntroll-ish, accordion stomp of “Met”, the lavish lumber of “Die Prophezeiung”, the crushing yet haunting “Helheim”, the Bal-Sagoth -esque, 9 minute epic “Tote Heldendagen”, all just codpiece swellingly pleasing examples of utterly perfect Viking splendor, there’s simply no drop off or let down.

Oh yeah, this is their debut album too. In a year that will see my top ten possibly dominated by metalcore, this album, just makes me incredibly happy and proud to be a Viking metal fan as this album not only reawakens my metalcore hazed bloodlust, it shows that pomp and cheese can be so god damn entertaining. Good luck finding this album anywhere other than German distro’s, but its sooooo fucking worth the extra effort and shipping cost. Heck, I might even rejoin the SCA to crack a few skulls….

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
June 17th, 2005


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