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German progressive epic powerhouse Equilibrium return with Renegades, an ambitiously experimental album that incorporates elements of electronics, dystopian samples and clean vocals to immediate effect.
Heralding a watershed and potentially album defining moment in the bands illustrious career, Equilibrium deliver a body of work full of grand melodies and victorious choruses mixed with a dark, foreboding energy courtesy of new keyboardist Skadi Rosehurst.
While experimenting fleetingly with such progressions on previous albums, Renegades sees Equilibrium employing a diverse array of electronics that permeates throughout the whole album, giving Renegades a modern feel that expands Equilibrium’s sound and adds a depth and clarity that is accentuated by the addition of more clean vocals than ever before.
The melodies are still inspired by folk music and the sound punctuated by trademark growls and heaviness but the inherent vulnerability projected by clean vocals in songs Tornado and Rise Of The Phoenix showcases a side of Equilibrium that can only make their music more approachable.
Many bands tend to overplay their hand or fail to find the balance between their traditional sound and future direction but Equilibrium have managed to usher in a modern take with additional layers to a genre that normally struggles to embrace change.
Equilibrium have historically written songs based around German legends, mythology and sagas, but on Renegades have continued the shift towards more personable lyrics started on 2014’s Erdentempel. Here the focus shifts to darker, more personal themes, urban legends and apocalyptic scenarios, with vocalist Robert Dahn able to explore intimate issues that are all the more powerful musically having come from the heart.
Album opener A Lost Generation wastes no time in introducing listeners to the new direction, starting with a swirl of electronics that soon leads into guitar before being decimated by a thunderous drum intro that emphatically sums up the direction of the album within the first minute.
Final Tear begins with an almost epic, grandiose piece of music that soon descends into chaos with a devastatingly and brutal middle section that proves while Equilibrium may be changing things up a little they still have not forgotten their roots. Path Of Destiny is perhaps the most eclectic and distinctive song on Renegades, with a rapcore breakdown supplied by The Butcher Sisters punctuating the ferocity and proving how serious Equilibrium are when they say that they are prepared to push conventional and acceptable boundaries within their genre.
Renegades also sees Equilibrium sing predominantly in English for the first time, after gradually introducing the language over the previous two albums. Only Himmel Und Feuer is sung in the band’ native tongue, allowing a greater understanding and clarity of the music and lyrics than ever before.
Many bands tend to overplay their hand or fail to find the balance between their traditional sound and future direction but Equilibrium have managed to usher in a modern take with additional layers to a genre that normally struggles to embrace change. It is a bold and welcome musical experiment that may initially be met with caution from older fans who despise change but will ultimately be recognised as a significant step forward for a band and genre that could be felt for many years to come.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Tornado, Path Of Destiny, Final Tear
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