Barren Earth - The Devil’s Resolve

Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012

Metal supergroups generally tend to be hit or miss, but not so with this Finnish all-star team boasting members of Swallow the Sun, Amorphis, Kreator, and Moonsorrow. Their debut EP (2009’s Our Twilight) and LP (2010’s Curse of the Red River) weren’t monumental recordings, but they did hint at a ton of gloomy, Folk-tinged Melodeath promise. A strong balance of downtrodden yet epic, heavy yet graceful, with roughly equal parts standout material and filler. One had to figure with The Devil’s Resolve, the band was either poised for total greatness or ready to head the other way. It doesn’t take too many listens to determine the outcome. Following in the footsteps of Amorphis —the band’s most prominent influence— Barren Earth have decided to abandon the heterosexual constraints of Death/Doom in favor of rainbows, pretty flowers, sunshine, campfire ditties, Moogs, and the assholes of children. This album owes more to Disco than it does to Metal. Swallow the Sun vocalist Mikko Kotamaki’s deep and powerful Death roar is the only tie to extremity not severed, serving as a mere aberration here. Imagine KC & the Sunshine Band with occasional Death Metal vocals. Okay, so I might be exaggerating a bit, but there is absolutely no pain here. Noodling. Aimless. Forced dramatics. Prog for the sake of Prog. Just a white river of interchangeable musical arrangements that reek of happiness, fun times, dancing, and the lighter side of The Doors. And of course by purposely sounding dated, everyone will proclaim that they have progressed. Such is the irony of Prog Rock. Alas, with nothing more to offer a life of emptiness and misery, yet another band is dead to me. I will be avoiding them from here on out, as they will only continue to reflect the Amorphis lineage. Expect a forthcoming album of Gloria Gaynor covers.

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