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BARREN EARTH

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Finland


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Barren Earth biography
Finnish outfit BARREN EARTH started out as an idea by Olli-Pekka Laine (bass), who had envisioned a number of songs following a particular style and slowly came to ralize that these ideas needed an outlet. The vision of forming a band started forming around 2006, and things were set in motion when he asked Marko Tarvonen (drums) to join him on such a venture in 2007. For the next two years musicians were recruited and compositions finalized, and in the summer of 2009 the band had 4 additional musicians onboard: Mikko Kotamäki (vocals), Janne Perttilä (guitars), Sami Yli-Sirniö (guitars) and Kasper Mårtenson (keyboards). They were signed to Peaceville Records, who released the EP Our Twilight in November of 2009.

A few months later Barren Earth's full length debut album Curse of the Red River appeared, after which the band has been actively promoting the disc by way of extensive touring lasting well into 2011 .

----
Olav M. Björnsen, October 2010

Barren Earth official website

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Devil's ResolveDevil's Resolve
Peaceville / Snapper 2012
Audio CD$8.70
$5.66 (used)
Curse of the Red RiverCurse of the Red River
Peaceville 2010
Audio CD$9.24
$0.72 (used)
Devil's Resolve Ltd EdDevil's Resolve Ltd Ed
Import
Imports 2012
Audio CD$13.65
$17.61 (used)
Barren Earth - The Devil's Resolve [Japan CD] VICP-64994Barren Earth - The Devil's Resolve [Japan CD] VICP-64994
Victor Japan
Audio CD$26.37
$21.15 (used)
Devil's Resolve by Barren Earth [Music CD]Devil's Resolve by Barren Earth [Music CD]
Peaceville / Snapper
Audio CD$32.23
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BARREN EARTH discography


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BARREN EARTH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.91 | 26 ratings
Curse of the Red River
2010
3.96 | 20 ratings
The Devil's Resolve
2012

BARREN EARTH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

BARREN EARTH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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BARREN EARTH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.20 | 6 ratings
Our Twilight
2009

BARREN EARTH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Devil's Resolve by BARREN EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.96 | 20 ratings

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The Devil's Resolve
Barren Earth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "The Devil's Resolve" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Finnish death/doom metal act Barren Earth. The album was released through Peaceville Records in March 2012. Barren Earth features quite a few prolific Finnish musicians like former Amorphis bassist Olli-Pekka Laine, guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö (Kreator, Waltari) and drummer Marko Tarvonen (Moonsorrow) and I guess that qualifies to be called a Finnish metal supergroup.

The fact that the band are made up of very seasoned musicians is audible, as everything is delivered with conviction and a rare profesionalism. In addition to the "core" death/doom metal sound on the album, there are also a couple of semi-progressive tendencies featured in the music. It´s especially audible in the longer tracks like album opener "Passing of the Crimson Shadows" and "As it is Written". The addition of ethnic folk elements makes me think of Amorphis more than one time during the playing time. A reference which is further enhanced by the clean/growling vocal delivery and the use of organs/keyboards. I guess you can add a slight Opeth influence to the equation, but that´s only when Barren Earth are most progressive. The tracks are made up of epic heavy riffing and more atmospheric sections. There is good variation on the album and that provides "The Devil's Resolve" with a longivity factor that not all releases possess.

"The Devil's Resolve" is a heavy and quite intriguing album and the fact that it´s well produced (in the more polished end of the style) and very well played, are not exactly negatives either. To fans of the style this should be a real treat. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

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 The Devil's Resolve by BARREN EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.96 | 20 ratings

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The Devil's Resolve
Barren Earth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Gallifrey

4 stars Barren Earth - "The Devil's Resolve" 13/20

44th place album of the year 2012

Barren Earth are a 'supergroup' of sorts. Created out of current and former members of two of my favourite bands in the melodeath scene, Amorphis and Swallow the Sun, and a few other bands I will have to check out, Moonsorrow, Rytmihäiriö and Kreator. The band focuses on the progressive side of melodeath, as opposed to the doom and thrash of the bands it is formed from. "The Devil's Resolve" is the band's second full-length, continuing their style of merging melodic death metal and 70's progressive rock, along with other genres such as folk.

Like any band who uses both clean and growled vocals, many will make comparisons to Swedish cousins Opeth, and there are plenty to be found on this album. Barren Earth utilize the same acoustic sections Opeth have become known for, specifically in opener "Passing of the Crimson Shadows" and "Vintage Warlords". There are also hints of the heavily slide-based riffage of Opeth, specifically during "Oriental Pyre", where we hear the dual acoustic and distorted guitars of early Opeth works.

"Oriental Pyre" also draws elements from Mikko Kotamäki's other band Swallow the Sun, with the spoken-word vocals STS use to create their doomy atmosphere. "The Dead Exiles" also contains a very doom laden first few minutes, which could have fit perfectly on any Swallow the Sun album.

Despite being a death metal band, Barren Earth utilize clean vocal melodies excellently, in a similar manner to Amorphis. "Passing of the Crimson Shadows", "The Rains Begin" and "Where All Stories End" all have very strong chorus hooks.

The folk and progressive elements are alive in "The Rains Begin" and "As It Is Written", my two favourite songs on the album. "As It Is Written" begins with a hint of bagpipes, but unfortunately they do not play a huge role in the rest of the song, as I have not heard many good uses of bagpipes in metal outside of laughable folk metal bands. The growled vocals over a Hammond organ in "The Rains Begin" is quite surreal, but is actually one of the highlights of the album, merging a very retro and 70's sounding instrument with a modern style of music. Both of these songs have folk-influenced riffs, which carry on to very good choruses, and "As It Is Written" has my personal favourite part of the album, the extended piano bridge.

The only real downfall of this album is the growling. I have never been a fan of growling, but over the years I have come to tolerate and even enjoy it, but Mikko Kotamäki's throaty rumble hear renders lyrics indistinguishable, and often overpowers the very well written guitar parts. Of course, there are always exceptions, and I think that the chorus of "The Rains Begin" contains the best use of the death growls, but again they would be better if the lyrics were more distinguished and he didn't sound like he had a cold during recording.

Overall a solid effort, although the quality does begin to wane in the second half. If the band can continue to come up with great riffs as the ones in "The Rains Begin" and "As It Is Written" and great choruses as in "Passing of the Crimson Shadows" and "Where All Stories End", and clean up the growled vocals, then we have a very unique band with a hopeful future.

Originally posted at my facebook page/blog http://www.facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

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 Our Twilight by BARREN EARTH album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2009
3.20 | 6 ratings

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Our Twilight
Barren Earth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Pekka

3 stars Barren Earth is as close to a super group as Finnish metal has ever seen, gathering together musicians from such respected groups as Amorphis, Swallow the Sun, Moonsorrow, Rytmihäiriö and Kreator. While super groups are often seen as big ego, big buck cash-ins, there's no sign of that here, perhaps because with this kind of music big bucks never enter the picture.

Our Twilight is the group's debut EP, released in 2009 by Peaceville Records, and it succesfully shows at least part of the essence of the band on its four tracks. Knowing the members' previous bands it's no suprise that the big picture is very much epic death metal, complete with some clean vocals, very prominent piano and even some good old fashioned keyboard soli. The heaviness is heavy, the melodies are bold, the vocals are cold and the couple of guitar soli thrown in are pretty damn great.

Compared to the full lenght released in early 2010 these songs are much more straightforward metal with very few actually light sections. This is a very good introductory release giving a taste of what's to come, but on the actual album they would expand their dynamic range to a great effect.

(Originally written for MetalMusicArchives)

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 Curse of the Red River by BARREN EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.91 | 26 ratings

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Curse of the Red River
Barren Earth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by 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)

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