BARREN EARTH — Curse of the Red River (review)

BARREN EARTH — Curse of the Red River album cover Album · 2010 · Melodic Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
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.
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