Equilibrium - Sagas
- Artist: Equilibrium
- Album: Sagas
- Label: Nuclear Blast
- Year of Release: 2008
- ME Rating:
- Reviewed by: solitaryman on 2008-09-16
Hailing from Germany and releasing their debut record for Nuclear Blast is Equilibrium, a folk/viking metal outfit relatively new to their realm. Their aim, over two records and a demo, has been to make the most majestic and epic metal they could possibly create. On Sagas, they stretch their chops to the breaking point, and the results are a 2-hour masterpiece of varied instrumentation, beautiful and poignant melodies, and an overall atmosphere of deep-forest freedom, of the glory of nature in all of it's tranquility and also it's ferocity.
2 hours? I bet that caught your attention. Yes, your attention span will be challenged over these 13 tracks, but there is barely a spot of filler to be found. The band utilizes a sound that strikes me as eerily familiar to the folk metal of Finntroll but utilize a more cinematic atmosphere, using studio magic and folksy instruments to generate an atmosphere you can't help but get swept up in. I've read that the pan flute player in this record did work for the Lord Of The Rings soundtracks, and those would be a pretty fair comparison to some of the sounds found throughout Sagas. The tracks vary from the hopelessly upbeat "Prolog Auf Erden" and "Blut im Auge" (the latter which was featured in the band's first music video, which you can watch right here) to the darker, more formidable "Wurzelbert" and "Verrat". You'll be amply impressed with their ability to write extremely catchy hooks and then also with their ability to write songs that allow these hooks to be used to full-effect, while rarely leaving the listener unengaged. While the first half of the album is impressive, they do their best work over the 2nd half with longer songs, with more room to allow their songwriting strengths to shine. There's this one part of the song "Die Weide und der Fluss" that only pops up once around the 2-minute mark that seriously sent chills down my spine; a pop melody that at once sounds perfect and totally out of place. But mostly perfect.
Fans of folk metal far and wide cannot go without owning Sagas. I dare say it's one of this year's strongest metal releases from any subgenre. A great find that I just stumbled upon, many of you might want to do the same ASAP. Epic, never too cheesy, and always an embodiment of the fist-pumping, rebelious metal spirit, Equlibrium are one of the real up-and-comers and Nuclear Blast made a somewhat rare genius move in picking them up.
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