It's been a long three years, waiting for a follow-up to the EPIC birthday present that Rekreator was for me. I was a little nervous that Equilibrium's fourth album would not hold up to their previous releases. Although their fourth album, as of yet untitled, is still at least a year away, Equilibrium has seen fit to grace us with a taste of what they have been brewing in Bavaria.
On the eve of Heidenfest, Equilibrium has released Waldschrein, a five track EP containing a completely new song, the title track, a newly recorded version of one of their classic songs, “Der Sturm,” a previously unreleased song, a cover of the theme of a major video game, and the acoustic version of “Waldschrein.”
The depth found on this album is perhaps the best part. In “Waldschrein” you hear a brand new song, showing what the band is all about today. It is an amazing piece of epic folk metal—perfectly blending the fun, free spirited melodies and epic ambiance that they are known for combining to well. For me, there was no grace-period of giving the song a couple listens and getting used to the new changes—not with this release. Equilibrium have been able to incorporate their epic feel with an up-beat melody that makes one think of an awesome woodland party, complete with flowing ale and dancing trees. I am especially excited about their new addition to the Equilibrium repertoire—Ensiferum-esque clean vocals. The clean sung chorals in this brand new song, something unseen until now in Equilibrium's music, go very well with their sound, and serve to make the song even more accessible. I certainly hope that Equilibrium continue to include this in their music.
Next, “Der Sturm” is one of Equilibrium's oldest songs, found on their debut album, Turis Fratyr. It was brought back by the band for this EP, rerecorded with all of the changes they've made over a decade of playing it live and the various line-up changes that the band has experienced. It has an updated, larger sound, with more going on in the background—as is Equilibrium's style. One of the biggest differences, of course, is the addition of Robse's vocals. They have also added a “mosh” segment in the middle, queued by Robse screaming, “MOSH,” followed by a very heavy melody.
Another song from their original demos, “Zwergenhammer” brings a lot of raw Equilibrium sound to this release. This certainly is an Equilibrium song if there ever was one. It perfectly mixes fast, heavy riffs and slower, more epic and folky melodies—all tied in very well together. With this song included in Waldschrein, one of their oldest, the listener is truly able to see the progression of the band throughout the years. The epic title track is followed by one of their classics, “Der Sturm,” which is itself followed by a song pulled from the depths of Equilibrium's epic vault.
The next song is just plain fun. “Himmelsrand” is a cover of the role-playing video game, Skyrim's main theme. In an interview, Rene said that he enjoys playing the game and has heard from many people that the music in the game is similar to Equilibrium's, so he decided to record a Equilibrium-ed version of this already epic song—he did not do wrong. Without foreknowledge of Skyrim and it's theme, one would never suspect that this was not originally an Equilibrium song. Needless to say, this was a great choice to add to Waldschrein.
The final track on the EP is an instrumental version of the title track. Another fun bonus item, this serves to close out what is no doubt a great release. Whoever thought you could make an epic folk metal song even more epic? Equilibrium did and they succeeded.
All in all, Waldschrein is a great EP. Equilibrium showed us a great new song, brought back the past twice,remaking a classic Equilibrium song and giving a previously unreleased one to their eager fans, and threw in some fun tracks—all to keep us busy for the time being. Sadly though, Waldschrein is only an EP, not an LP. We will be waiting at least another year for the next epic album from the Bavarian folk metallers, Equilibrium. I am nonetheless very glad that they released Waldschreein to show that they are still working hard and keeping true to their roots.