The German Folk Metallers EQUILIBRIUM got quite a lot of attention in the genre scene for their splendid debut “Turis Fratyr”. Soaring keyboard melodies, a lot of energy and power as well as catchy songs brought the band well-deserved praise. It also raised expectations for the second album, “Sagas”, which were met, according to most fans. The second attempt added more fanfares, an even grander scope and what we might refer to as “more cheese” to EQUILIBRIUM’s sound. “ReKreatur” is the third full-length attempt and there is nothing really surprising on here. The album is in the same vein as “Sagas”. A few things differ however.
One of the major changes is that the line-up has changed considerably since “Sagas”. Long-time vocalist Helge Stang and drummer Manuel DiCamillo left the band. They were replaced with Robert Dahn and Tuval Refaeli, respectively. How does this affect the EQUILIBRIUM sound? Not that much, it turns out. “ReKreatur” follows the same patterns as “Sagas” to a large extent. The songs are speedy, with powerful drumming, pushed-back guitars and dominant keyboards that create most of the melody. Dahn fits into the music in the same way as Stang, but his vocal technique is far closer to Death growling than Stang’s frenzied rasps. The lyrics are more audible now and all in all, Dahn is the better vocalist technically, while I feel that Stang added more energy and was a bit more fun with his personal approach.
Musically, I also feel that “ReKreatur” is slightly more coherent, while “Sagas” was more unpredictable, even though both works with grand-scale, fanfare-driven and folk-tinged Metal. This is both positive and negative. The album feels like a whole, but there are also signs of repetition. This might be the most serious problem with the record. Some songs are rather reminiscent of “Sagas” songs, but mainly many songs on “ReKreatur” resemble each other. What is positive is that EQUILIBRIUM still know how to infuse amazing energy into their songs, through a high tempo and catchy instrumentation. Intellectually, I am annoyed by the repetition, but emotionally the album is excused by the permeating catchiness.
My favourite song is “Verbrannte Erde”, which stands out with its marching rhythm and with less jolly fanfares than the other tracks. Otherwise, I feel that the beginning of the record is a bit stronger than the second half, on which some of the longer tracks drag on a bit. To do another long instrumental “epic” feels like a decision one might doubt.
All in all, “ReKreatur” is still a record that fans of TURISAS, FINNTROLL and BAL-SAGOTH will enjoy, even though it’s even more over-the-top and cheesy than the offerings of the aforementioned bands. Nonetheless, this review must end with some criticism: “Sagas” was a stronger record and few new ideas have been added since then, but this one time EQUILIBRIUM are saved by the energy of their main concept, which allows them this evolutionary standstill, if you put it harshly. Next time, however, they will have to renew their concept, or my ears will catch up with my brain and my patience will run out.
(Online March 7, 2012)