BARREN EARTH

Melodic Death Metal • Finland
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Barren Earth is a Finnish progressive death metal band with a line-up consisting of former members of Amorphis as well as current members of Swallow the Sun, Moonsorrow and Kreator.

The music of Barren Earth combines elements of modern and traditional death metal with 70's prog rock and folk. Among the bands influences are artists such as Amorphis, Dan Swanö, Opeth, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull and also some pioneers of Finnish prog.

Their first release, the Our Twilight four track EP, was released on 9th November 2009 and a full length LP is currently scheduled for an early 2010 release.

Jón Aldará - Vocals Olli-Pekka Laine - Bass (Ex-Amorphis, Mannhai) Kasper Mårtenson - Keyboards (Ex-Amorphis, Ben Granfelt Band) Janne Perttilä - Guitar (Rytmihäiriö) Marko Tarvonen - Drums (Moonsorrow) Sami Ylisirniö - Guitar (Kreator, Waltari)

ex-members: Mikko Kotamäki - Vocals (Swallow The Sun)
Thanks to graphix, UMUR, Pekka, TheHeavyMetalCat for the updates

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BARREN EARTH Discography

BARREN EARTH albums / top albums

BARREN EARTH Curse of the Red River album cover 3.84 | 22 ratings
Curse of the Red River
Melodic Death Metal 2010
BARREN EARTH The Devil's Resolve album cover 3.85 | 15 ratings
The Devil's Resolve
Melodic Death Metal 2012
BARREN EARTH On Lonely Towers album cover 4.06 | 8 ratings
On Lonely Towers
Melodic Death Metal 2015
BARREN EARTH A Complex Of Cages album cover 4.50 | 4 ratings
A Complex Of Cages
Melodic Death Metal 2018

BARREN EARTH EPs & splits

BARREN EARTH Our Twilight album cover 3.82 | 5 ratings
Our Twilight
Melodic Death Metal 2009

BARREN EARTH live albums

BARREN EARTH demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

BARREN EARTH Demo album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Demo
Melodic Death Metal 2008

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BARREN EARTH Reviews

BARREN EARTH Our Twilight

EP · 2009 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Our Twilight" is an EP release by Finnish doom/death metal act Barren Earth. The EP was released through Peaceville Records in November 2009. Barren Earth was formed in 2007 by bassist by Olli-Pekka Laine (Amorphis). He had composed material which didn´t fit any of the other projects he was involved in and decided to form a band to record his material. Having been a member of Amorphis from 1990-2000, Laine had been an integral part of the Finnish metal scene and had many contacts within the scene, which made it possible for him to recruit seasoned musicians like guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö (Waltari, Kreator), lead vocalist Mikko Kotamäki (Swallow the Sun), guitarist Janne Perttilä (Põhjast, Rytmihäiriö, Moonsorrow), drummer Marko Tarvonen (Moonsorrow, October Falls), and keyboard player Kasper Mårtenson (Amorphis) for the project.

The EP features 4 tracks and a total playing time of 22:26 minutes. Stylistically this sounds very much like mid-90s Amorphis, which of course makes sense, since two of the members of that band from that time are part of the lineup on "Our Twilight". This is doom/death metal with 70s progressive rock leanings and strong, epic, and melancholic melodies. There is a touch of Scandinavian folk too, and again it´s hard not to think of mid-90s Amorphis. The vocals are predominantly death metal growls, but there are also several clean sung parts on the EP. Barren Earth are obviously both seasoned and skilled musicians, and "Our Twilight" reeks professionalism that you won´t find on many debut releases. Although the band don´t often stray from their musical path, the addition of Yli-Sirniö to the lineup, does result in a couple of more unconventional musical ideas (it would be strange if a member of Waltari didn´t act out just a little bit), but they are incorporated successfully into the main musical style of the album.

"Our Twilight" is a heavy and atmospheric release, and that´s one of the greatest strengths of the EP. Barren Earth balance brutal heavy doom/death metal parts with their 70s progressive rock influences very well and creates a big epic soundscape in the process. All tracks are enjoyable and memorable compositions, but I have to mention EP closer "Floodred" for it´s death metal brutality and epic clean sung parts, and "Jewel" for it´s progressive middle section. The sound production is massive, layered, and ensures the right environment for the material to shine, and upon conclusion "Our Twilight" is a quality first release by Barren Earth. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

BARREN EARTH Curse of the Red River

Album · 2010 · Melodic Death Metal
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Warthur
A supergroup from the more progressive end of extreme metal, drawing deep from the Amorphis well and with Dan Swano behind the mixing desk? Well, it's an idea which looks good on paper, but the results very much depend on how keen you are on Amorphis' latter-day progressive style. Not that this is a clone band, mind - just that with two former members of Amorphis onboard, there's inevitably some crossover in aesthetic taste.

In particular, when it comes to its death metal influences this is very much on the more accessible side of the melodic death metal camp, to the point where there are segments of the album where Mikko Kotamäki's growls are more or less the only discernable death metal component of the mixture.

Where Barren Earth take things in a different direction is the vintage prog influences in their performances, especially in the keyboards, which are a bit more nostalgic and steeped in the 1970s style than Amorphis' more modern-sounding progressive moments. This may be where comparisons to Opeth hail from; either way, it makes the album an interesting listen, though I do question just how much fruit is going to grow in this Barren Earth.

BARREN EARTH Curse of the Red River

Album · 2010 · Melodic Death Metal
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Nightfly
Released in 2010, Curse Of The Red River is the debut album from Barren Earth. A band consisting of already experienced musicians from the likes of Amorphis, Kreator, Moonsorrow and Swallow The Sun.

Curse Of The Red River is a progressive melodic death metal album that seems to be influenced quite a lot by Opeth. Not only do they mix the death growls with clean vocals, they also have that light and shade and mix acoustic elements alongside heavier riffing and the music simply has a strong Opeth feel at times too. It has to be said though that while the clean vocals are adequate they aren’t in the Mikael Akerfeldt league. No problem though as Barren Earth more than make up for this with some very strong compositions, the prog elements adding plenty of twists and turns keeping things never less than interesting with many exceptionally compelling moments of musical interplay too. There’s also a heavy dose of melody. In fact even before I realised the band featured the ex-keyboard player of Amorphis – Kasper Martenson, I was thinking that those big keyboard driven melodies reminded me a lot of that band, particularly later era Amorphis. A bit strange this though as Martenson was a member in the earlier days, when they were a somewhat different beast. Perhaps his influence lives on. There’s still a healthy dose of heavy riffing though so don’t get the idea that this album doesn’t contain its share of heavy moments which is shown to best effect by a powerful production.

Barren Earth have gone on to make two more albums since this one, both good albums in their own right but I’d say Curse Of The Red River remains my favourite.

BARREN EARTH The Devil's Resolve

Album · 2012 · Melodic Death Metal
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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

BARREN EARTH The Devil's Resolve

Album · 2012 · Melodic Death Metal
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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.

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