Barren Earth - The Devil's Resolve
The Finnish metal scene, despite living in the shadows of two Scandinavian neighbours, is a flourishing hotbed of great, under-appreciated bands. A scene few stalwarts came together a few years ago to form something of a prog-doom-death supergroup under the name Barren Earth, and are now back with album number two, The Devil's Resolve. With members from the likes of Swallow The Sun, Amorphis and Moonsorrow, elements of each band seep into the Barren Earth sound, mixed with a universal love for all things prog as strong traces of Yes, King Crimson and Opeth run throughout the eight tracks.
Mellotrons weave their way through a myriad of thunderous riffs and intricate acoustic passages as Mikko Kotamäki demonstrates once again what a fantastically versatile vocalist he has become with a combination of smooth clean singing and disturbingly ferocious growls. The Devil's Resolve is a fun - and even pleasurable! - listen from start to finish with its catchy hooks, unbridled heaviness and emotive passages, and for once the curse of too many egos does not ruin the meeting of great musical talents, leaving Barren Earth a whole greater than the sum of their parts.