Equipoise - Demiurgus review

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Band: Equipoise
Album: Demiurgus
Release date: March 2019

01. Illborn Augury
02. Sovereign Sacrifices
03. Alchemic Web Of Deceit
04. A Suit Of My Flesh
05. Shrouded
06. Sigil Insidious
07. Reincarnated
08. Dualis Flamel
09. Eve Of The Promised Day
10. Waking Divinity
11. Ecliptic
12. Squall Of Souls
13. Cast Into Exile
14. Ouroboric

I could just go on and on about how star spangled the lineup on this tech death album is. What is most mind boggling is that it's a debut album.

First showing up with an EP in 2016, one that we covered in our Clandestine Cuts series, the lineup has shifted slightly since then, but also some of the founding (and still current) members joined bigger bands, so the star element of the lineup goes both ways. Now finally with a debut album, a guest list to leave mouths watering and technicality galore, here we have Demiurge.

I could tell you about how technical and intricate the album is, but I'll just let this excerpt from the lyric sheet speak for me:

"[Solo - Jimmy Pitts]
[Solo -Malcolm Pugh]
[Solo - Colin Butler]
[Solo - Nick Padovani]
[Solo - Phil Tougas]
[Solo - Sanjay Kumar]
[Solo - Malcolm Pugh]
[Solo - Colin Butler]
[Solo - Nick Padovani]
[Solo - Hugo Doyon-Karout]
[Solo - Jimmy Pitts]
[Solo - Phil Tougas]
[Solo - Malcolm Pugh]
[Solo - Colin Butler]
[Solo - Nick Padovani]
[Solo - Sanjay Kumar]
[Solo - Phil Tougas]
[Solo - Malcolm Pugh]
[Solo - Colin Butler]"

Yeah. That's not the only moment like that, but definitely the most eye catching of the bunch, and that's just what I could find in the songs that do have lyrics. Half of the tracklist is made of instrumental songs, who knows how many solos get intertwined there. Now sure, most of the instrumental songs are vastly shorter than the other ones, but closer "Ouroboric" is instrumental and longer than 5 minutes. So, in the span of the slightly over one hour that this album has, you should know what to expect.

A lot of criticism is raised about tech and prog bands like this that they value technical prowess (also known colloquially as "technical wankery") over proper songwriting. Now I don't want to claim that there isn't any great songwriting skill on display on Demiurge, but if a band is going to dabble in technical wankery, I'd rather they go big or go home. If the above lyric sheet extract is of any indication, Equipoise went big. Fretless bass, syncopations, counterpoints and whatever magic tech words you wanna hear; what matters is they deliver both what I would want from a tech death album with such a lineup, and they actually managed to write more than just a journey through endless flashy intricacies.

Demiurgus actually feels like they took tech death to its apex, not only perfecting the core tech death part, the one with the light speed intricacies and the tasty fretless bass and yada yada, but the part where there's a lot of dynamism to the sound as well even if they don't really take the foot of the throttle completely, but adding some well-deserved rhythmic diversity. The interludes are fun, often dabbling in acoustic flamenco, that sometimes seeps into the main songs as well; and one other instrument I was surprised to see so well integrated into the mix was the piano. The hour-long runtime may be a bit fatiguing, but no part of it feels really unnecessary, and honestly for a flashy tech death record of one hour, I've heard a lot worse in terms of fatigue.

Equipoise didn't need to go so hard here, but they did. Tech death is over guys, go home.


Written on 25.12.2019 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.

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