Their debut full length disc The Curse Of The Red River established this supergroup as a true force in the world of melodic death metal. Combining elements that have never been thought of before, they broke new ground with a diversity that brought together terrific clean and doomy growling vocals with death metal, early age prog, 70's like heavy metal and just about every other genre you can think of associated with rock and roll. On their second disc the band picks up right where they left off with their first release. The Devil's Resolve is everything you hoped it would be and more. Yes folks, we have a winner here and an early candidate for album of the year. Barren Earth takes you on a wild ride that is as gripping as any disc in recent memory. It is that good.
Starting off with the melodramatic "Passing Of The Crimson Shadow" the band sucks you in with a powerful display of majestic and dark melodic power metal, lead singer Mikko Kotamaki's mixture of clean and death metal growling gives you a sense of how they combine both light and dark elements to create a raw, dynamic musical landscape. This one has a gothic grandiose feel that simply put is one of those musical moments that you can wait a lifetime for. A perfect combination that absolutely blew me away and to think, they are just getting warmed up!
"The Rains Begin" is a much more melodic song that makes me think of The Moody Blues with death metal mixed in and a little Deep Purple organ to add some spice. The clean vocal harmonics is such a great touch and they use it throughout the album. This band has many surprises up it's sleeve and with each one you have to remind yourself to exhale as holding your breath becomes common place.
Is that bagpipes I hear? It sure is as you are swept away by one of my favorite songs on the disc "As It Is Written". This one has so many layers to it I find myself playing it over and over and each time finding something I previously missed. From the powerful and glorious chorus to the soothing piano solo along with the building to a furious heavy metal conclusion, this one is magic from start to finish. The guitar work will blow you away, the vocals are dynamic and everything about this one begs you to keep hitting the repeat button.
What makes this band different is the fact that they can follow up the last tune with one that is as heavy as hell. "The Dead Exiles" is pure gothic death metal that is a relentless barrage of metal mayhem. They are one of the few that can pull off such a change of style and do so with this kind of ability. It is never a dull moment with Barren Earth, that is for sure.
By the time you get to the last song "Where All Stories End" you most certainly wish that this disc would never stop. But all good things have to come to a conclusion and this album is no exception. Barren Earth does not let you off the hook though as they leave you with another example of what makes this band special. I will defy anyone to listen to this disc and not come away with a much great appreciation of what this kind of music is all about. I also would lay money that the listener will put this one in the player and have a very hard time taking it out again. It is everything you want in this genre of music and is easily one of the best albums released this year or any year for that matter. A real no-brainer on this one, just do yourself a favor and pick it up!
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 Field
8. Where All Stories End