Barren Earth – The Devil’s Resolve

Band: Barren Earth
Album: The Devil’s Resolve
Release date: March, 2012
Genre: Psychedelic/70’s Prog Rock/Death-Doom Metal
Label: Peaceville

Barren Earth! Their awe-inspiring godlike debut, “Curse Of The Red River” has already taken the album of the year title from me in 2010, and once again, I’ve expected an album that will blast away all the other releases this year. And how right I was! It would be too early to announce it as the album of the year, as I’m expecting some more delicious material, but I guess, in the end I’ll crown “The Devil’s Resolve” the best album of 2012.

But why is it so great? Their secret is their unique mix of genres. I’d say the most important element of their formulae is 70’s psychedelic prog rock with all it’s beautiful cleverness, twisted melodies straigtening out to beautiful stillness, and of course, the excessive trademark use of Hammond, Mellotron and Moog synths. So take this, put it into your musical mortar and mix it with grunty death metal, deep doom metal, and throw in some folky catchiness played on beautifully crawling lead synth sounds and some great pianowork evoked by keyboard wizard Kasper Mårtenson.
Of course there is some resemblance with some old-school Amorphis material, but it’s natural as bassist/founder Olli-Pekka Laine and also keyboardist Kasper Mårtenson were defining members of the legendary finnish band by that time.
As I’ve already mentioned two members, let’s take a look at why people are calling Barren Earth a ‘supergroup’. Besides the aforementioned great ex-Amorphis members, there are four other legendary musicians. Genius drummer/backing vocalist Marko Tarvonen (Moonsorrow/October Falls) was present on almost all albums of the year for me in the past 5 years. Doom fans surely love the amazing voice of Mikko Kotamäki (Swallow the Sun), and I’m glad he utilised more of his great clean vocals. The totally unique and oldschool guitar work is provided by Sami Yli-Sirniö(Waltari, Kreator) and Janne Perttilä (Rytmihäiriö, Moonsorrow – session). The lead guitar work of Sami is totally amazing, he is one of the rightful kings of oldschool shredding. I don’t think anyone could doubt the musicianship of this great line-up, it’s simply perfect.

The Devil’s Resolve delivers us 8 perfectly composed tracks, without fillers, or a track that would stand out in a positive or negative way. The album starts on the top and maintains perfection until the end of the last second of the last song. I cannot even pick a favourite, I simply love all the tracks, but if I really have to pick a favourite, I’d pick fourth track “As it is written”, which features some really tasty guest bagpipe performance by Korpiklaani’s Hittavainen.
The record starts much like “Curse Of The Red River”, with a short tension-building introduction implemented in the first song. Soon all the awesomeness gets unleashed, and it won’t let you quit listening the album until you’ve listened to it at least 3 times in a row, and still if you manage to escape, you’ll still sing around the melodies all day.
Is it better than “Curse Of The Red River”? No it’s not. Is it worse? No it’s not. It is different, yet it’s familiar. Barren Earth has managed to reserve all their trademark sounds yet create a new atmosphere. Mikko uses much more of his clean vocals this time, yet “The Devil’s Resolve” is more aggressive than the debut. Interesting dualities everywhere.

Please dear readers, do yourself a favour, and purchase this masterpiece, you won’t regret it. Put the cd in your hi-fi, lie back on your favourite sofa, pour a glass of your favourite wine and wonder if life could be any better.

Pros:
– perfect genre combination
– perfect songwriting
– perfect musicianship
– perfect sound

Cons:
– I suppose there will be only a very few live show dates again (I had to travel to the Czech Republic to be able to see them)

I rarely come across a 100% perfect album

5/5

Bálint Kemény

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: