Barren Earth
Our Twilight EP

This new Finnish supergroup boasts members of Swallow the Sun, Amorphis, Moonsorrow, Kreator and October Falls. Given that line-up, you know Barren Earth is going to be awash in the lush, soaring melodies and crushing doom-death tones that make Finnish metal so recognizable. That’s convincing enough for me, but the addition of progressive-death structures and 70s prog-rock stylings makes this even more special. (Then again, I’m a sucker for anything with Hammond organ.)

The title track kicks off with a rumbly mix of all of the above, but the clean-vocal chorus is the real gem here. Yeah, it’s a bit too sugary, a tad too breathy, but good luck getting it out of your head all the same. Follow-up “Jewel” reveals more of the band’s progressive bent, opening with a duet of piano and solo guitar. The second half of the track lets those instruments stretch a little more with a jazzy, wah-wah Steely Dan interlude – great stuff. More clean vocals here, though their pseudo-chanted delivery are a bit shakier. Then again, they’re also highly reminiscent of Tales-era Amorphis, so I’ll give ‘em a pass.

And if that’s not Amorphis enough for you, you’d swear “Flame of Serenity” was a cover song, if not for the much more brutal, layered vocal presence. EP closer “Floodred” sounds the least like Barren Earth’s obvious influences and the most like its own identity, though it does draw from classic Swedish death menace. Another clean chorus, possibly my least favorite on the album, but the track’s haunting, stellar second half more than makes up for it.

Barren Earth is due to drop their full-length debut, Curse of the Red River, in a couple of months. If Our Twilight is any indication, it’s sure to be spectacular. I’m hoping the clean vocals are a little more confident by then, as they’re the only element here that’s a touch unsteady. As for the rest of it, pretty much a no-brainer for melodic doom-death and progressive death fans.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
January 18th, 2010

Comments

  1. Commented by: shane Wolfy

    An amazing band that should have made my year end list.I only recently heard this. Nice review Jordan. I’m siked for the full-length


  2. Commented by: BrutaLeviathan

    cool; I’ll have to check ’em out!


  3. Commented by: Staylow

    Nice write up Jordan. I can’t wait for that full length.


  4. Commented by: ceno

    I have to check them out.


  5. Commented by: Cynicgods

    Shane Wolfy? Sounds like a rejected Tex Avery character. Hehehe.

    Seems like these guys have been in every worthwhile Finnish band. Even though I listened to the full EP, there was no need, I knew I was gonna like it just from their resumes. I promise I won’t ruin your comments section this time, Jordan. ;)


  6. Commented by: Shane Wolfy

    Don’t mess with the Wolfy


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