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Barren Earth - Curse of the Red River CD (album) cover

CURSE OF THE RED RIVER

Barren Earth

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.53 | 31 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Pekka
4 stars The Finnish metal super group Barren Earth debuted in 2009 with the respectable Our Twilight EP, and 2010 saw the release of their debut full length album Curse of the Red River. Their EP consisted of four tracks of melodic death metal with epic prog tendencies, and on the album the tendencies are expanded into a significant factor in the music.

One does only need to listen to the opening title track with its shifts from deathy verses to cleaner soaring choruses to an intricate-yet-super heavy instrumental section to an acoustic passage complete with a gorgeous flute solo to see that this is not a one trick band. While some comparisons can be drawn at times to for example Opeth or Type O Negative, they are only spices thrown in their very original cooking. The cherry on top of this cake of great musicians is Kasper Mårtenson whose piano gets a lot of space even in the heavier sections, not to mention the various softer parts of pure beauty, and who brings a lot of vintage prog spirit with his flying keyboard solos, naturally in addition to choosing just the right tones to enhance the mood of each section.

It could be said that both of the Mårtenson composed pieces, Forlorn Waves and the Ritual of Dawn are album highlights, but that brings out the problem of how many tracks can one name as highlights. The brightest of them all might be the only track composed by guitarist Janne Perttilä, Flicker, which has some of the most brutal and most beautiful parts of the album in perfect harmony, and even some very balalaika sounding guitar work during the instrumental section. The most prolific composer of the group is the ex-Amorphis bassist Olli- Pekka Laine, who brings in four tracks, from which especially the aforementioned opening title track, co-composed by Kreator guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö, and the fast pased, quite rocking The Leer deserve an affectionate special mention.

The best new metal album I've heard in a long while, absolutely recommendable for friends of progressive death metal. The final half star is only a matter of standing the test of time.

****½

(Originally written for MetalMusicArchives)

Pekka | 4/5 |

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