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Barren Earth: Our Twilight

Our Twilight is the debut EP from Finnish death metal supergroup Barren Earth. The band is comprised of: Mikko Kotamäki – Vocals (Swallow The Sun), Olli-Pekka Laine – Bass (Ex-Amorphis, Mannhai), Kasper Mårtenson –Keyboards (Ex-Amorphis, Ben Granfelt Band), Janne Perttilä – Guitar (Rytmihäiriö), Marko Tarvonen – Drums (Moonsorrow), and Sami Ylisirniö – Guitar (Kreator, Waltari). The EP was mixed by famed producer/musician Dan Swano, and the artwork was created by Niklas Sundin of Cabin Fever Media (Arch Enemy, Soilwork, Dark Tranquillity). If all this sounds like an 'all-star' project all the way around, well, it pretty much is, and the results of these four songs are the proof. Sure, as you can imagine the music is very much inspired by Amorphis, Opeth, Katatonia, Swallow the Sun, and even a bit of Paradise Lost and Pink Floyd. Crushing death metal meets up with folky interludes, prog-rock styled keyboards, and a touch of doom. The terrific "The Flame of Serenity" sums it all up, a monstrously slow and heavy number saturated with haunting keyboards, Mikko's deathly growls, and huge riffs, while the more upbeat "Our Twilight" and "Jewel" are just about as catchy and progressive sounding as death metal can get. The band goes for the juggular on "Floodred", a more brutal piece soaked with wah-wah harmony guitars and crushing riffs, pounding rhythms, and a brutal, yet epic approach. The injection of clean vocals to do battle with the growls really works on this one as well.

Apparently the band's full length release is coming out sometime in 2010, and judging by the impressive sounds here on Our Twilight, Peaceville Records have a real winner on their hands.

Track Listing
1) Our Twilight
2) Jewel
3) The Flame of Serenity
4) Floodred

Added: November 6th 2009
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band's MySpace Page
Hits: 2208
Language: english

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Barren Earth: Our Twilight
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-08-08 07:03:04
My Score:

Fans of the bands Swallow The Sun, Moonsorrow, Amorphis and Kreator have something new to be excited about and that is the collaboration of six musicians who've all honed their skills in those bands for years and now let those influences take new life in a crushing new band called Barren Earth. Before I get deeper into this infectious EP they call "Our Twilight" let me tell you who is in the group. It begins with vocalist Mikko Kotamaki (Swallow The Sun) who is joined by two former members of Amophis in Olli-Pekka Laine (bass) and Kasper Martenson (keyboards). Guitars are adeptly handled by Janne Perttila (Rytmihaino) and Sami Ylisimio (Kreator) with Marko Tarvonen on the drums. It's quite a lineup but one that you fear might will sound "too much like" their previous or existing bands but this is not the case at all. There are some similarities which we find as the opening tune "Our Twilight" begins, but it's a similarity of how one might see the band Amorphis and Swallow The Sun coming off if the two had merged into one unit. Crushing groove at the onset which leads into warm and almost ghostly clean vocals. This adventures even further by bringing an Opethian level of Prog-Death Metal to the mix and in the end tie all of these feels together. The second tune is "Jewel" and it begins with warm piano and crushing riff working together as if they were always meant to do so. Mikko wins me over with the deep resonance of his clean vocal in this one more than the growls and what was incredibly impressive was how the turn takes a very Tull meets Renaissance Progressive Rock turn with its middle section. You might be surprised at the reference of the Classical Art Rock band, but listen to a couple of their extended jams and tell me you disagree with me. Whew was all I could muster as this interlude blasted through my speakers. Needless to say I was hooked from the beginning with this one.

I'll leave a little mystery to your own discovery about the EP and only touch lightly upon the finale which comes via "Floodred". The tune wanders a number of musical avenues likes its predecessor tracks and yet the whole thing manages to remain as intoxicating as the rest. The song itself is very deep but really throttles the listener as it draws to a close. It's here that we get an incredible lead guitar run and groove from the guys that makes for the perfect concert finale if this was being done at a show. As it drew to its end I envisioned lighters galore or cell phone screens if that is what the audience chooses to hold high in the air as a dramatic concert completes. I had to admit that it has been a long time since I found a mere EP of four tunes this good. Usually you get one or two tracks at best that impress you and the rest is filler but this is not the case with "Our Twilight" by Barren Earth. The bands full length CD is set to reach the masses in early 2010 and I am hopeful that this enterprise tours internationally based on its having a lot of good stuff to deliver to the fans. The EP comes with somber artwork and a two page foldout that features the lyrics to the four presented tunes. I cannot wait to hear the full-length album from these guys based on the great first impression that this EP left me with. This is a high recommendation for any of the member's current and former bands along with the likes of Opeth, Anathema and other Progressive Death Metal artisans that are currently holding the banner high for the genre. Nice work.

Barren Earth: Our Twilight
Posted by Scott Ward, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-11-06 17:20:29
My Score:

I think it should be called reincarnation metal. As it nears death, it embraces and even welcomes it. After death, it is reborn into something new and who knows what form it might take. This is the music of Barren Earth in a nutshell. While they might have their roots in the death metal genre, the tree that sprouted from this supergroup has many branches and spread out over a multitude of musical categories.

Fans of groups like Swallow The Sun will instantly take to these guys thanks to the vocals of Mikko Kotamäki who is the voice behind both bands. His guttural growling set off by an almost effervescent clean vocal style is unique and easily recognizable. On this album Our Twilight he gives one of his strongest efforts and you are rewarded by his hard labor.

Behind his is a band that consists of members from such groups as Moonsorrow, Kreator, Mannhai and Venho. With firepower like that you are going to expect something great and they deliver in spades! Using all the experience that has congregated together, Barren Earth is going to be a force to reckon with for a long time to come.

When purchasing this EP be prepared for such an array of musical styles that it can be overwhelming. Take for instance the jewel of the disc aptly entitled "Jewel". Very melodic piano leads to some sizzling guitar work and the two vocal styles of Mikko duel it out while you are taken from the world of prog to death metal to an almost mid 80's rock feeling sound. As dizzying as that may sound, it works extremely well and you will pick up many different aspects to the music each time you listen.

That is what you are going to find over all four songs on this EP. With epic metal and dynamic melodic mixes, each song is a keeper and will grab you in a different way. The dynamite "Flames of Serenity" is a lesson in musical dynamics that will attack your senses on many levels. The amazing "Floodred" is a song that could be the best seven minutes a metal head is going to find anytime soon. Powerful as can be, this song takes it sweet time building to a crescendo of six string magic. The creative outro to this one is an absolutely fabulous bit of guitar mastery that will leave you wanting more, much more. Luckily they are planning a full length release very soon. I can hardly wait. This is one EP that has been played over and over since I received it and I see no reason to stop now!

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