When members of Kreator, Amorphis, Moonspell and Swallow The Sun quietly amalgamated as Finnish supergroup Barren Earth in 2007, word quickly spread throughout the underground and their debut album release – 2010’s Curse of the Red River – delivered some of the finest melodic death/doom to come out of Scandinavia for some time.
A follow up release was sorely anticipated and The Devil’s Resolve is exactly that.
From a swirling build up, a musical wave grows and crashes into the shore as “Passing of the Crimson Shadows” flows out and shifts from delicate progressive passages to melodic death metal laden with ballsy and weaving riffs, haunting Mellotrons, intricate drum work from Marko Tarvonen and Mikko Kotamaki’s vibrant clean vocals and demonic growls changing throughout. Notably, the middle section has sweetly harmonized solos and a chopping groove from the rhythm section that instantaly initiates headbanging. The scene is nicely set for what is to come.
There is some influence from the members’ other acts throughout, especially in tracks such as “Vintage Warlords” with its Amon Amarth-like Viking vibe featuring dueling and weaving guitar harmonies from Sami Yli-Sirniö and Janne Perttilä , the Celtic folk /Renaissance feel of “As it is Written”, the Mellotron- driven “The Rains Begin” that could have fit on any progressive rock album from the 70s with ease, and the duo of “Oriental Pyre” and “White Fields” that are quite reminiscent of Opeth’s pre-Heritage days. On the darker side of things, the ominous doom-laden “The Dead Exiles” takes the listener down to a dark place found only in nightmares and the sombre, brooding “Where All Stories End” is a foray into Gothic metal territory with haunting guitar/keyboard passages that close off the proceedings on a dark note. Barren Earth have the potential to fill the void in the market left unsatisfied by Opeth’s last release, displaying familiarities but with their own nuances throughout.
With The Devil’s Resolve, Barren Earth has proved they can upon their debut with more of a progressive and 70s influence spread throughout the material. They have shown that they are not merely another supergroup, but a musical entity with a promising future.
1.Passing of the Crimson Shadows
2.The Rains Begin
4.As it is Written
5.The Dead Exiles
8.Where All Stories End