If I were to tell you that members and ex-members of bands such as Swallow the Sun, Amorphis, Moonsorrow, and Kreator got together to make a band you would think I’m ready to be institutionalized. Well, Barren Earth is exactly that band. Formed in 2007 by Olli-Pekka Laine of Amorphis fame he had some composed songs that didn’t quite fit his other bands so he gathered some of Finland’s elite musicians to create what we now know as Barren Earth. In 2012, after 5 years from it’s inception, they have released their second album The Devil’s Resolve and by the look of it are ready to dominate the metal world.
Barren Earth style of music is hard to discern, it’s a melting pot of different styles. Mikko Kotamäki of Swallow the Sun mans the main vocals and does an impressive job of switching between brutal low growls and his cleans throughout the record. Kasper Martenson, who was the keyboardist for Amorphis, adds interesting sounds with his keyboard and has enough experience to know when to hold back. Olli-Pekka and Marko keeps the songs from going too crazy and keeps the rhythm on bass and drums receptively. The two guitarists Sami (also the guitarist for thrash giants Kreator) and Janne work together well and are able to come up with interesting leads and riffs.
The Devil’s Resolve starts with the song Passing of the Crimson Shadow and at once you know what Barren Earth are all about. The whole album is chock full of different styles like Death metal, Progressive, and Doom. Each member in the band brings their own experiences and style, where not one overshadows another, everyone plays their part to create a cornucopia of sound. One would think that because Barren Earth has members from bands of many styles that their mixture would not work. However, as shown in The Devil’s Resolve and in their debut Curse of the Red River the styles do mix and boy do they mix well. Song like As It Is Written show the progressive nature of the band while songs like The Dead Exiles or Vintage Warlords shows their Death/Doom elements.
Like it’s predecessor, Curse of the Red River, The Devil’s Resolve is excellent and it definitely does rival or perhaps surpass their debut Curse of the Red River. Barren Earth’s The Devil Resolve is a definite must-have for any metal fan with and it is definitely worthy of being on many’s top album of the year.
1. Passing of the Crimson Shadows
2. The Rains Begin
3. Vintage Warlords
4. As it is Written
5. The Dead Exiles
6. Oriental Pyre
7. White Fields
8. Where All Stories End