I could tell I’m going to have a lot of fun with this album from the very first moment. And I don’t mean that in a good way. And it is not for the most obvious reason, as the research proved that this is the only Equilibrium still in existence. At least on the Metal scene. Funny, I never would have guessed with such an ordinary name. Another thing was the cover artwork which seems fine but I still don’t get the point. I see some Chinese symbols (a tiger and a dragon) hooked to a couple of human skulls and a sunrise from the pre-WWII Japanese flag (though black) surrounding a metropolis skyline. Or is it drawn like that just because it looks cool. In that case the artist nailed it.
So I went on… The promo sheet mentions that Equilibrium has found an almost perfect balance between their original musical direction and their inevitable growth. Now, I haven’t heard the previous albums by this 18 years old Germans, but I think I should prepare a reward for the person who can show me the connection between Epic Folk Metal and “Renegades”. I could splash the epic epithet on this album but it would probably be an epic 21st century drama. Or is it just the keyboards and the strong production that are giving such a feeling? Nuclear Blast Records are probably the label that has the strongest advertisement in today’s Metal, but still… Does it have to be loaded with bullshit that would probably convince only somebody that is really new to the genre? On top of that, they are sending a promotional copy of the record that is missing a song. Sure, it is a cover of a well-known track, but it makes a part of the album, so it has to be there! Especially if it is located in the middle of it.
Now, for an objective overview of “Renegades” one needs to put all the mentioned facts aside. At that point you might just notice this is not a bad album. Not quite good, but certainly not bad. Equilibrium, on their sixth full length, offers a modern Metal piece, loaded with all sorts of influences, from Industrial electronics to actual rap. Majority of “Renegades” is drenched in Metalcore with loads of melodic guitar solutions and tons of groove. These guitars are supplemented by keyboards to create that familiar ‘spacey’ effect. At times these sorts of tunes remind of happier tunes by Korpiklaani, for example. Especially when the Germans dig around the folkish tunes (yes, there are some, just to connect with the early opus of the band). Apart of that, only the vocals stand out as a relevant factor on this record. Well, when I say stand out… This is your regular combination between growling and clean voices (with a couple of female appearances). Nicely executed but nothing sensational. Add to that the pretty standard lyrics about finding your own path (of destiny) and living free. Predictable rhyming with no particular substance doesn’t work on me. The rhythm section, on the other hand, has a simple role to play a spine of the sound and that is it. No creativity or influence to the arrangements whatsoever.
At the end of the day, Equilibrium presented an average album, whatever Nuclear Blast tries to convince you. This is a nice record that will just go through your ears and brains and be gone. Nothing to stand out, nothing to be nailed in your memory. Just another one of the countless recordings which will not become a landmark on the scene. You can easily avoid it, unless you are a die-hard fan of modern tendencies in Metal.