Genre: Folk Metal
Groove: Due to how heavily segmented Mana is, the song has no set groove, but may evoke a desire within the listener to head-bang or air drum.
Hook: As no segments of Mana are repeated, the song is left without distinguishable verses or a chorus leaves. Despite this, there several powerfully dramatic points in the song. These are usually individually brief, but plentiful throughout the duration of the track. The hooks which are most mentioned in reviews and comments by listeners is the section at 5:10, and the final 3 minutes which feature violin and flute solos.
Sound: Mana (and its album Sagas) is frequently described to as “epic”, loud, chaotic and harmonic in reviews, and combined beautiful folk metal elements with an over the top symphonic structure (Viessman 2010).
7 Key Distortions
Sonic Narrative: Up to the listener’s discretion, but the chaos and harmony, the builds and the symphony evoke great drama, action and animation in whatever the listener may imagine. The mixing gives a very earthy, natural feel and the climaxes are fiery and destructive. Stang describes the song as a journey from north to south, from day to night. With the unorthodox composition and lack of a singular hook, the notion of sonic narrative is reinforced as the song develops and continually progresses, rather than repeating itself and appearing as a piece of conventional music.
Syncretism/Tradition: Equilibrium heavily use traditional Germanic melodies, as inspiration or melodies, mixed with modern instrumentation techniques (i.e: guitar).
Identity/Sexuality: Equilibrium utilise Scandinavian heavy metal styles and combine it with German/Bavarian melodies and folklore to produce a brand of folk metal true to their heritage. With Equilibrium’s bassist (Sandra van Eldik) being female, the band disproves many of the masculine stereotypes constructed around heavy metal.
Subculture: Equilibrium are technically classified in the folk metal genre, however the genre has heavy Scandinavian connections. As such, Equilibrium have combined the folk metal subculture with their own Bavarian heritage to form their own brand of “Epic German Metal”. Equilbrium have formed a close unison with other folk metal bands, namely Eluveitie, Fintroll, Primordial and Suidakra.
Technology: combination of electronic (guitars) and traditional instruments (violin, pan flutes etc). Electronic orchestra and choir (computer generated midi tracks) were used, sound quite convincing but can be a let down for those spoiled by authentic orchestra accompaniments, especially considering how heavily driven Mana is by its orchestrated instruments. This limitation is generally due to production budget.
Authenticity: Within heavy metal circles, authenticity would refer to the band’s stature in the folk metal music scene. In metal, as well as most music, if listeners disapprove of a band it will heavily effect their fan basis and how they are looked upon. In metal this can be observed in nu metal, which is generally regarded as inauthentic by listeners who grew up to 80’s thrash. Being a German band, Equilbrium present themselves as authentic in their own unique German brand of folk metal, a formidable counterpart to the precursors of Scandinavian.
Drugs and Transcendence: Drugs are prominent in the heavy metal scene and most of its sub genres. With regards to Equilibrium, the bands admits to heavy drinking beer during its festivals. From a historical standpoint, the band’s preference of drinking may derive from similar Viking traditions. A couple of Equilibrium songs reference drugs (Met/”Mead” from Turis Fratyr, Snüffel from Sagas). Equilibrium’s vocalist and lyricist Helge Stang (2001-2008) cites a major influence to himself as ”Snüff”, a smokeless tobacco exclusive to Bavaria which is ingested through snorting.
Moonsorrow - Sankaritarina (2001, Finland)Ensiferum - Victory Song (2007, Finland)Nightwish - Poet and the Pendulum (2007, Finland)(Kind of a coincidence that they’re all Finnish)
A series of artistic works will be produced, exploring the power of purely sonic narrative and its relationship with visual story telling. The work will be presented as an audio-visual piece to the opening 5 minutes of Mana, and will be accompanied by an exegesis.
Obscure notes not worth trying to understand:“with no words it creates…”“narrative”“chaos”“why does it sound like this”“what are the social conditions that led this performance to this way”The context the music exists within.Sonic narrative - must focus on musical/technical terms, impressions of the music
Proper citation is a necessity, but not right now.
http://www.allmusic.com/album/sagas-mw0000789619http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/26375/Equilibrium-Sagas/http://heavymetal.about.com/od/interviews/a/equilibrium.htmhttp://www.beattheblizzard.com/?module=interviews&interview=74http://www.rockinreview.com/2008/07/24/interview-with-helge-stang-from-equilibrium/http://www.metaleater.com/interviews-equilibrium072008.phphttp://www.metalstorm.net/pub/interview.php?interview_id=531http://powermetal.de/content/artikel/show-EQUILIBRIUM__Interview_mit_Ren__Berthiaume,5497-1.htmlhttp://www.mysticmetal.com.au/interviews/equilibrium/Viessman, Greg. 2010. “Equilibrium - Rekreatur”. http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/37655/Equilibrium-Rekreatur/