BARREN EARTH — The Devil's Resolve (review)

BARREN EARTH — The Devil's Resolve album cover Album · 2012 · Melodic Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
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.
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