(DGR has been on a reviewing tear lately. In today’s installment, he breaks down the latest album by Barren Earth, which was released earlier this year on the Peaceville label)
My story with Barren Earth is pretty goddamn simple, but I feel that it needs to be told…if for no other reason than to explain why I suddenly seem so excited about a relatively ‘new’ band.
Barren Earth had been under way and gathering some steam, but it wasn’t until Scott (EvilLive, proprietor of Hookinmouth.net, currently writing for ThatDevilMusic) reviewed the group’s Curse Of The Red River release on TheNumberOfTheBlog and gave it the almost-never-used perfect score that I gave it a listen.
It impressed the hell out of me. I wasn’t aware they were a superstar side-project group of various doom and goth artists who had decided to do something a little closer to progressive death metal, with the occasional folk aspect and something a little bit retro-sounding, so the band came as a pleasant surprise. They are one of the few groups who can break out the 70’s-styled synths and keyboard sounds without sounding overtly cheesy. They also delved into some heavy, heavy stuff, too.
Less of a surprise when I heard the album and figured out that it was Mikko Kotamäki on the main vocals. The guy is almost instantly recognizable, and his participation in Barren Earth may have been part of why it took me so goddamn long to get around to this review. He is also the vocalist for Swallow The Sun, and their 2012 release (reviewed here), like this one, is incredibly long; it felt like I was overdosing a little. No fault of the album though. The tandem of new releases just affects the specific niche of people like myself who may have made the idiotic mistake of listening to both bands’ albums while attempting to stammer out some sort of review for both of them in close proximity. Some gentlemen from Amorphis and Moonsorrow have also been in Barren Earth for some time, handling backing vocals along with guitars and such.
Curse Of The Red River hit in 2010, so the release of The Devil’s Resolve just two years later, even with some production delays, and being of equal quality, has been fantastic. Also, just a heads up: This review is for the edition of The Devil’s Resolve that came with two extra songs. With some bands, you can usually skip out on the bonus tracks, and with some you shouldn’t. If you really like Barren Earth, you’re potentially giving up ten-plus minutes between these two songs. So if you have the regular edition, you should see if you can find those two on Itunes or elsewhere. Continue reading »