BARREN EARTH — The Devil's Resolve

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BARREN EARTH - The Devil's Resolve cover
3.87 | 13 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2012

Tracklist

1. Passing Of The Crimson Shadows (7:17)
2. The Rains Begin (4:55)
3. Vintage Warlords (4:31)
4. As It Is Written (7:29)
5. The Dead Exiles (6:21)
6. Oriental Pyre (5:18)
7. White Fields (4:59)
8. Where All Stories End (5:55)

Total Time: 46:45

Special edition bonus tracks:
9. Martyrs of Devotion (3:24)
10. World in Haze (7:32)

Total Time: 57:41

Line-up/Musicians

- Mikko Kotamäki / lead vocals
- Olli-Pekka Laine / bass
- Kasper Mårtenson / keyboards
- Janne Perttilä / guitar
- Marko Tarvonen / drums, percussion
- Sami Yli-Sirniö / guitars, vocals

About this release

Type: Studio album
Release Date: March 7, 2012 (Japan and Finland), March 12 (rest of EU), March 13 (North America)
Label: Peaceville Records
Producer: Barren Earth and Jukka Varmo

Special Edition included two bonus tracks.

Thanks to UMUR for the addition and adg211288, Pekka, Time Signature for the updates

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BARREN EARTH THE DEVIL'S RESOLVE reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

UMUR
"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.
Time Signature
As it is written...

Genre: progressive death-doom

Who says death-doom can't be progressive? Well, My Dying Bride has always been progressive and avant-garde in their approach to the genre, and the same applies to Barren Earth's "The Devil's Resolve" which combines a lot of different elements from a wide range of musical genres within and beyond metal.

The tracks are kept at mid and heavy paces, and even the slightly faster passages in 'The Dead Exiles', for instance, and more groovy passages that you hear in 'Oriental Pyre', for example, appear quite heavy and doom-laden. Barren Earth is a band that is full of contradictions - at least on this release. Their music is heavy and dark, but rich in melody and has plenty of broad appeal. Contrary to the band's name, their music is in no way barren rich in layers, arrangements, impression and expression - and "lush" is much more fitting than "barren" (then again "Lush Earth" does not sound very metal, does it?).

A large portion of this lushness derives from the progressive approach of the band. Not only are they very eclectic, they also make use of the occasional odd time signature and their use of synths and synth effect is not unlike the spacey keys and organs featured on many progressive rock releases from the 70s.

My only beef with this album is the vocals. They are mostly growled, although clean singing does occur frequently. The growls sound very Åkerfeldt-esque (so those who are disgruntled with the latest Opeth album could turn to Barrent Earth instead), and I wonder if a more melodic singing style wouldn't suit the lush metal music better.

In any case, "The Devil's Resolve" is an impressive progressive doom-death album that has the potential for broad appeal to fans of as diverse bands as Solitude Aeturnus, Paradise Lost, Opeth, Amorphis, and Sorrows Path.

Members reviews

Gallifrey
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

Ratings only

  • omnivium
  • Xenoflux
  • starlessabstract
  • Nightfly
  • TheHeavyMetalCat
  • Pekka
  • 666sharon666
  • Bog
  • Anster
  • sauromat

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