Equilibrium – “Erdentempel” (Nuclear Blast Records)
It’s been 4 years since we heard from this German epic / folk band and the sad news is that after significant line up changes only René Berthiaume remains of the founders with Andreas Völkl and Sandra Van Eldik leaving after the announcement of this album. Still, with Berthiaume being the composer and lyricist as well as producer of this 4th opus, the creative genius very much remains and it’s exemplified in the rich material that brings epic film score metal together with amazingly catchy melodies garnered from rock n folk influences not just from Europe, but across the world, judging by the slight eastern influences on ‘Karawane’. Such is their bravado they even open with an instrumental in ‘Ankunft’! Despite being based in Bavaria, this isn’t bierkeller metal per se although songs like ‘Uns’rer Flöten Klang’, certainly have a knees up beat especially on the folk / oompah of ‘Heavy Chill’ and are definitely singalong, air punching material. But for me it was the deep, heart pounding passion resonating amidst Robse’s rasping vocals harmoniously blending with dancing pipes and classical violins on the softer, but no less anthemic ‘The Unknown Episode’ that makes “Erdentempel” such a masterpiece, and then some. Whatever it’s composition, René Berthiaume’s Equilibrium continues to thrill and for anyone new to the band or even their style(s), this is an album that I would heartily recommend!