Russian folk metallers Equinox from Moscow have recently released their debut full-length album “Świteź” via the Russian label SoundAge Productions. Born from the ashes of Beer Bear in 2013 (the previous band of both their front-man and their drummer), Equinox self-released 2 EPs, “Beyond” and “Lux Borealis“, both in 2014, trying to define their personal sound. On May 2015 the band finally released “Świteź“, giving us a much more complete idea of their refreshed music style.
Kirill Nikeyev, who was the mastermind behind Beer Bear, is also the main composer of Equinox. And while some people might think that it is just a change of name, Kirill has managed to create a completely different music style with this new band, always within the boundaries of folk metal genre. This debut album is the most complete and coherent work of the band, but most importantly, it is an album with a quite personal sound. The band’s music is a mixture of heavy metal with dark folk metal. Their guitars are sometimes closer to the sound of classic heavy metal bands and other times they are closer to the typical folk metal riffs and tunes. The addition of several traditional and acoustic instruments, most of them by guest musicians, makes their music much more interesting. Acoustic guitars, fiddle, viola, flutes, bagpipes, violins and cello enrich the orchestrations, always in a perfect balance and harmony with the metal instruments.
Equinox’s lead vocalist is Alla Ravna, who does an amazing work with her beautiful voice. She has a very personal and characteristic way to add a unique epic metal color to her almost operatic folk singing, which is in my opinion one of the trademarks of the band. There are only a few male backing vocals in several songs and no brutal vocals at all. Equinox have a really professional sound and production, with perfectly clear and technical sound, both in the guitars and the folk orchestrations. “Świteź” includes 11 songs, with a total playing time a little over 54 minutes. All compositions are interesting, with very nice ideas and each time I listen to it I discover something new, or focus to something different. There are some more tranquil ballad-like songs, others with a more technical progressive approach, some focus on the folk tunes and melodies, others are more atmospheric, while there are also many wonderful instrumental passages. It is a multi-layered album with a lot of variety in the music and a very good technical level. All lyrics are in Russian, except for the closing track “Świteź“, which is an alternative version of the song “Свитезь“, sang in Polish!
Equinox have released a very promising debut album, totally recommended to all fans of folk metal, especially if you like the Russian scene. They are often described as post folk metal, but to be honest, I don’t see any obvious post metal references in their sound. Either way, it is a very good dark folk metal album. “Świteź” is released via SoundAge Productions in a standard jewel case edition and in a deluxe 6-panel digipak edition. Both editions come with a 12-page booklet including all the lyrics. The wonderful cover artwork is by Jan Orkki Yrlund. The visual presentation of the album, especially in the digipak edition, is a perfect match for the quality of their music…