Date: 3rd October 2016
Review by Torbjørn ‘Toby’ Jørstad
Every folk metaller’s wet dream took place at The Underworld in Camden last Monday. German folk veterans Equilibrium brought along fellow countrymen Finsterforst and the dutch Heidevolk for an evening of epic melodies, cheerful singalongs, and lots and lots of jumping.
Drinking horns and Mjölnir pendants are standard attire as per usual on any folk metal gig, and Monday was no different.
Finsterforst hit the stage at 19:00, playing fresh material from their recent EP, the somewhat unorthodoxly named #YÖLÖ. The German six piece keeps the crowd going with their high energy stage presence, and even the 10 minute epic “Zeit Für Hass” doesn’t feel dragged out. Frontman Oliver Berlin briefly leaves the stage after announcing the title track of the EP, before quickly returning wearing glowing party shades in true yolo spirit. It’s turning into a folk metal party already.
Their set is finished off with the massive beast of a song that is “Mach Dich Frei”. The bar is set high for the night.
1. Bottle Gods
2. Zeit für Hass
3. Auf die Zwölf
5. Mach Dich Frei!
Up next is Heidevolk, a band taking folk metal back to its roots with their innovative vocal harmonies. The bands serves up a selection of songs from their two most recent album, but not until the classic “Saksenland” is announced, the crowd really goes wild.
An upbeat song packed with fast paced riffing, interesting vocal melodies and pounding blast beats gets a good mosh pit going. Singers Lars NachtBraecker and Jacco de Wijs really shine during this performance. Highlights of their set include the cheerful drinking song “Drankgelag”, along with their only song in English; “Vinland” from 2015’s Velua.
The band leaves the crowd on a pleasing note, halfway promising a London date on what apparently is going to be their headline tour next year.
1. Winter Woede
2. Opstand der Bataven
3. De Toekomst Lonkt
10. Vulgaris Magistralis (Normaal cover)
Equilibrium hits the stage a little past 21:00 and instantly receives a warm welcome from a packed and already sweaty crowd occupying the floor in The Underworld. ”Erwachen” and “Katharsis” from the new album are played back to back before the fan favorite “Waldschrein” takes the folk metal party to the next stage.
The band seems to be enjoying every minute of their time on stage, with guitarist Dom R. Crey thanking the crowd for the warm welcome. “It feels like home,” he exclaims, before fittingly continuing the set with the upbeat “Heimat” (German word meaning attachment to a place one calls home). Stage divers invade the stage during the next song “Karawane”, and “Blut Im Auge” spawns the biggest mosh pit of the night.
In support of the newest addition to their discography, Armageddon, the band played a variety of older and newer material. The emphasis was on newer stuff though, with seven out of 17 songs coming off the new album. A little disappointing is the fact that not one song from 2010’s Rekreatur make it onto the setlist.
The two first singles from Armageddon, “Prey” and “Born To Be Epic” are played one after another. Despite being a pretty mediocre song at best, the latter, with its mildly annoying and totally unexpected dubstep-like flute breakdown, is surprisingly fun live.
The evening’s second drinking song comes in the form of “Uns’er Flöten Klang” from 2014’s Erdentempel .(Unfortunately, we don’t get “Wirtshaus Gaudi” as a third one).
The band’s take on the theme song of the 2011 Bethesda game Skyrim (“Himmelsrand”) opens the evening’s only wall of death, by request from the audience. After finishing the main set, the band returns to the cheerful screams of the crowd, before playing not one, two, or three, but five encore numbers to finish off the night.
“Freiflug” ends with an almost Blind Guardian-esque sing along chant, and the short and sweet “Heimwärts” from 2008’s Sagas is a nice surprise. “Eternal Destination”, one of the darker and more sinister Equilibrium songs is a worthy ending to an energetic night.
Happy and sweaty, the Vikings and Pagans who invaded The Underworld on Monday night leaves after what cannot be described as anything but a successful raid.
6. Blut im Auge
8. Born to be Epic
9. Uns’er Flöten Klang
13. Rise Again
15. Der Sturm
17. Eternal Destination