Equilibrium – “Renegades” (Nuclear Blast)
Battle Helm Rating
This is probably an apt title for this 6th release from a band hardly in stasis as their name might suggest! Formed in 2001, Equilibrium have gone through many evolutions, being folk based in their early career to evolving more recently to include more symphonic black metal aspects. And now comes the next evolution! Joining longstanding guitarist / keyboardist René Berthiaume are new keyboardist Skadi Rosehurst and bassist / clean vocalist Skar so prepare for a new sound. With no less than a doubling in the synths and a trebling in the vocal dept, the sound on “Renegades” is absolutely massive, which suits a lot of the new material given its EDM based. I mean, the dual keyboards and electronica are dominating in every regard, driving huge melodies and even catchier dance beats although to the band’s credit, it’s still very much Equilibrium – just with an upgraded platform so to speak! Robse continues to unleash his roars and soothing soul, but with Berthiaume and Skar also adding in their talents, the overall sound is amped to the max. Driven by Hati’s fast precision kick beats, the Germanic synth melodies and electronica mixed with unclean Neue Deutsche Härte vocals on ‘Himmel Und Feuer’ certainly have a catchy appeal, and when the style takes a heavier and more epic direction on ‘Path Of Destiny’ with Hati’s hammering drums adding the furore of Germanic rap, screams and clean soulful vocals, it’s pretty clear that Equilibrium are onto another winner. Still, not forgetting their roots, ‘Moonlight’ nods towards early In Flames with its fast, dexterous melodic guitars and gruff vocals bringing some more catchy and even more stirring tones, while the dark, symphonic bombast on ‘Final Tear’ with its blast beating and throat shredding roars is definitely a wow moment! Pushing the envelope, I was quite taken (aback) by ‘Kawaakari – The Periphery Of The Mind’ with its contrast of asian electronica and explosive hardcore, and even more so, the pure pumping adrenaline of ‘Hype Train”s overflowing electronica contrasted by ugly throaty drawls, black metal screamo and guest vocalist Julie Elven’s sultry tones – I think Avicii would’ve been proud! Truly living up to its title of “Renegades”, Equilibrium once again prove they are beholden to none and exuding masterful talent, challenge all to take on yet another new frontier.