Equilibrium - Sagas
Nuclear Blast
Bombastic Folk Metal
13 songs (80:35)
Release year: 2008
Equilibrium, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Dylan
Album of the year
Proclamations can be dangerous tools for reviewers to use. Saying things like “you can’t be a fan of a certain genre if you don’t have a certain album in your collection,” can easily come off as elitist and sometimes downright ignorant. One of my favorite examples was when a reviewer of a very similarly named metal site gave a perfect score to The Atrocity Exhibition… Exhibit A and closed his review by saying , “If you don’t like Exodus, you simply don’t like metal.” I like Exodus, but the metalheads who didn’t were quick to let the reviewer know how they felt about his decree. Still, a dangerous tool is still a tool. So it is with sweat collecting in my palms, smoke emanating from my CD player, and endorphins flowing freely in my bloodstream that I feel the need to state that Equilibrium’s Sagas has something for everyone who is a fan of metal.

If you are familiar with the band’s debut album, Turis Fratyr, then you should save yourself some time and go ahead and buy Sagas. If not, then think of a heavier more progressive version of Ensiferum. Upbeat rhythms, highly melodic guitar and keyboard work, and the thundering shrieks and growls of vocalist Helge Stang are what make this band so captivating. All the lyrics are in German, but that doesn’t prevent the epic atmosphere from grabbing you once you hit play. Granted, the band’s folk influence shines through a lot more this time around, but it works so well with the black and power metal influences, it’ll leave you wondering why every band doesn’t assign an accordion to carry the lead melody.

As you would expect, each song has it’s own melody, riff, or vocal pattern that gives it its own identity, while serving the big picture by flowing seamlessly through the album. Guitarist / producer / songwriter René Berthiaume has really pushed himself and the band to the top of their ability. Wurzelbert’s bouncy rhythm, catchy lead riff, and morphing song structure make it a great opening track. Blut Im Auge and Verrat show the band in top form when playing with thrashing aggression, while Die Weide Und Der Fluß and Des Sängers Fluch are slower, longer epics. Speaking of epic, the 16 minute instrumental Mana sounds like it could be the soundtrack for the next Lord of the Rings movie. It is truly something the musicians should be proud of as a whole.

The production makes every instrument shine a little brighter than it did on Turis Fratyr. The guitars meld with the rhythm section to give each song a huge foundation for the keyboard and folk instruments to provide the main melody. The resulting atmosphere is very epic, while simultaneously being very joyous; a rare thing to find in a metal album with black / death vocals. Power metal fans will be attracted to the guitar and keyboard work, while extreme metal fans will be drawn to the energy and vocals of Stang. Progressive metallers will be intrigued with the layers of instrumentation and the morphing song structure. Even thrash fans can appreciate the faster songs on Sagas, and the overall party atmosphere. This is metal to be listened to when the sun is shining, in the presence of friends with beer flowing freely and spirits soaring high. Aggressive but fun, catchy yet deep, I’ve been listening to Sagas for the better part of two weeks and it is definitely one of the best pieces of metal I’ve heard all year.
Killing Songs :
Wurzelbert, Blut Im Auge, Verrat, Die Weide Und Der Fluß, and Mana are my favorites.
Dylan quoted 95 / 100
Thomas quoted 95 / 100
Other albums by Equilibrium that we have reviewed:
Equilibrium - Erdentempel reviewed by Kyle and quoted 73 / 100
Equilibrium - Rekreatur reviewed by Kyle and quoted 94 / 100
Equilibrium - Turis Fratyr reviewed by Dylan and quoted 94 / 100
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