Equinox - Auf Wiedersehen (RCA/BMG) 1989
1. "Stop!" (3:16)
One of the hidden gems of thrash metal without a doubt. I can't imagine why these guys weren't much more well know than they are. In 1989 thrash was all the rage, and certainly "Auf Weidersehen" is a thrash metal assault that would have any denim and leather clad headbanger pumping his fist and moshing around in circles. After a short acoustic intro, from song one to song nine, the intensity never lets up. "Auf Weidersehen" is thrash metal in the purest sense of the word. While the songs are fast and furious, there is also careful attention paid to technical song craft, although not overly technical, and good production. Think on the lines of Believer's "Extraction from Mortality" or Kreator's "Terrible Certainty". The lyrics unfortunately seem to be a bit dark and cliché, although the vocals are sung in such a way that the actual words are not as important as the intensity of the delivery. Overall, as I said, Equinox are one of the hidden gems of the second wave of thrash metal. "Stop!", minus the acoustic intro, was re-recorded as an acoustic track for the band's final album.
Equinox - The Way To Go (RCA/BMG) 1990
1. "Fine By Me"
Equinox's sophomore release continues in the same aggressive thrash metal mode as their first album, only slightly more technical. "The Way To Go" is every bit as good as their first album, and as with that album I cannot understand why they didn't become underground metal heroes. The production is stepped up a bit from the debut as well, being a bit more clear, yet not losing a bit of the aggression. Unlike the band's debut, which was more concerned with speed and aggression, I think the songs begin to have a more immediate hook. Songs like "Godamadog", "Flower Power" and opener "Fine By Me" had me banging my head almost immediately.
"The Way to Go" was the missing CD in my Equinox collection. I really didn't think I would ever find a real copy of this. I don't know why, but obscure RCA Records CDs seem to be harder to find than most. In anycase, I had acquired a CDR copy first before finally getting this original RCA copy. Best of all, it was only $10 in mint condition. Picked it up from Sentinel Steel Records. (Thanks Kurt)
Equinox - Xerox Success (RCA/BMG) 1991
1. "Xerox Success"
Equinox play a brand of thrash born and bred in bands like Testament, Metallica and Exodus. Despite the fact that they are from Norway, which is much closer to German bands like Kreator and Destruction, Equinox's roots are most assuredly in the American Bay Area thrash movement. This being the case, I was immediately hooked on this disc. I can't get enough of that style. The blend of heavy, fast riffing and catchy, hook laden song writing is undeniable. 'Xerox Success' was the band's third disc and undeniably should have sold like gangbusters in '91 when this style of music still was doing well. Obviously the band had poor marketing or poor label support because this cd is practically unheard of. Too bad 'cause songs like "Souls At Zero," "Lost Control," "Now!" and "My Sweet TV" are great technical thrash songs. There is one stinker on this disc, however, in the bizarre song "Jabbermouth." Perhaps this was suppose to be a joke song, but I don't get it. Mosh it up!
Equinox - Labyrinth (Progress) 1994
Equinox's fourth and last (?) disc is a bit more experimental than any of their other discs, although no less heavy and menacing. To label this disc is almost criminal, but if I had to I would say it was progressive thrash metal. Because of this fact, and the fact that I enjoyed this disc so much on the very first listen, I thought I'd do one of those track by track descriptions. "Sandlove" starts things off in traditional Equinox fashion; a fast and brutally heavy thrash song. "Time Again" slows things down a bit, but only the tempo, not the intensity level. This song is a slow, heavy, doom metal track with a ton of muscle and bite! "But" picks things back up with yet another fast and heavy thrash track. "Angst" begins the more experimental tracks. This song experiments with mixing some smooth jazz like guitar playing with some heavier grooves. This track reminds me a bit of something Voivod might have written. A bizarre but cool song. The title track continues in the Voivod, experimental mode. 'Labyrinth' is dynamic and super technical with tons of rhythm changes. The intro to the song features some smokin' bass work from founder Skule Stene. The majority of this song is heavy but right in the middle of the song there is this cool flamenco-like acoustic guitar solo. "Lies" slows things down again, with some more experimentation with some mellower, clean guitar parts, some heavier mid-paced guitar riffing and an occasional fast mosh rhythm. "Hope Is Green" returns back to the more traditional Euquinox thrash-groove mode. This song has a killer riff that once again reminds me of something Voivod might do. "Poor Kelly" is a clean, almost ballad like song; although ballad is really the wrong word to describe this song as thoughts of Winger and Warrant may pop up. This song, however, has more of an atmospheric, jazzy quality with the vocals almost coming across as a tribal chant, rather than some sugary ballad. The lyrical theme on this song borders Jimi Hendrix's "Hey Joe" which is a pretty bizarre theme for a ballad. "Catharsis" is a speed metal instrumental that sounds a bit more like other Equinox discs. "Dedicated" is freaky! This song starts off as an acoustic song, yet it's a thrash song at the same time. Picture a Ventures riff played at full speed on an acoustic guitar and this will give you an idea of the opening few measures of this song. The song picks up into a full throttle metal number but returns to the acoustic part in some other parts. This song rules! Can't say that I have ever heard an acoustic guitar come across so heavy. "Millennium" resumes the roller coaster ride and returns to the heavier mid-to-fast paced groove, once again retaining a sort of Voivod-Dimension Hatross/Nothingface vibe. This song also features some fast double bass work by drummer Jorn Wangsholm. Lastly we are given an acoustic version of the first song off the band's debut 'Auf Weidershehen', which serves as sort of an album outro and a fitting end to the band's four album career. Overall, while this album is not the pure thrash assault that was "Auf Wiedersehen" or even "Xerox Success ," it's still an excellent CD, especially for those who enjoy more experimental metal bands like Voivod.