Rating:
7.2
Barren Earth - The Devil's Resolve
7 March 2012


01. Passing Of The Crimson Shadows
02. The Rains Begin
03. Vintage Warlords
04. As It Is Written
05. The Dead Exiles
06. Oriental Pyre
07. White Fields
08. Where All Stories End
09. Martyrs Of Devotion [special edition bonus]
10. World In Haze [special edition bonus]


The Devil's Resolve marks the sophomore release of Barren Earth, whose prior offering, Curse Of The Red River won your vote as the best debut in the 2010 MSA's. For whatever reason they are tagged here and elsewhere as a progressive death metal band, although I am not terribly sure why. The vocalist, at times, roars like Mikael from Opeth, so I guess that must be it.

Opeth is probably a good point of comparison for those of you who missed the boat on these guys in 2010. (You were probably drinking beers on the dock next to me at the time… seeing as it left without me as well.) And by Opeth, I mean they play that style of progressive metal with enough aggression and growls that cause people to affix it with the death tag as it is far more frightening than, say, Star One. It ain't gonna inspire anyone to crushfuckkill. I just wanted to clarify that before anyone else felt slightly duped.

The Devil's Resolve sees certainly well executed and well produced (by some guy named Dan…) progressive metal tunes. The band follow some patterns with that other band I keep bringing up - predominately midpace songs with frequent stylistic shifts from clean to harsh or back. They will switch back and forth between clean vocals and growls just as quickly as the guitarist does likewise stomping on his distortion pedal. However in comparison to the other guys, Barren Earth seems more focused, structured, and with a slightly better understanding of that whole brevity thing.

The tracks on the album - well at least some - seem to have thematic styles/tones that help differentiate them from one another. "Passing Of The Crimson Shadows" has a recurring theme that reminds me of maybe trekking the deserts of Pakistan in some adventure flick based on the 40's, and "The Rain Begins" contains a swell riff that carries along with it.

While some of the songs might inspire visions of Sinbad or cracking a whip at a belligerent thuggee at a crowded marketplace, others such as "Vintage Warlords" might inspire thoughts of more widespread violence.

"As It Is Written", on the other hand, drives me nuts. I know keyboarders need to get laid too, but maybe dial it back a tad? The entire track is wrapped in some hopping looping key riff that tries to perhaps capture the frivolity of a banquet in the king's court or something… but succeeds in annoying me to no end. Fortunately the track is followed by "The Dead Exiles", which helps right the wrongs of the prior track with a far more sinister edge and "Oriental Pyre" where the guitarists show off their chops in a fretboard display designed to attract all the honeys who might have been scoping the dude tickling ivory.

All in all, I guess the proggy crowd will love this one and I can see why. It's not to my taste, but it has enough cool stuff going on that I get why others are really fired up about it. If you are into the more visceral or harsh stuff I review from time to time, this might be worth a youtube driveby but won't likely pass Tort on your "to buy" list.

Well, this is where all reviews end. Er, at least this one.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 9


Band profile: Barren Earth
Album: The Devil's Resolve


 



Written on 21.03.2012 by
BitterCOld
BitterCOld has been officially reviewing albums for MetalStorm since 2009.
More reviews by BitterCOld ››



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musclassia - 21.03.2012 at 20:14  
Fair enough review, understandable you wouldn't be too excited over it if you're not a big prog fan. Me liking prog probably helps make up the extra point and a bit between the scores. Still, good review.

I would say though that Opeth isn't the band that immediately springs to mind listening to both this and, to a lesser extent, their previous album. I hear quite a strong Amorphis tinge in their music - probably not all that surprising given they have two ex-Amorphis members (I think?)
MeloDeathViking - 21.03.2012 at 21:04  
Written by musclassia on 21.03.2012 at 20:14

Fair enough review, understandable you wouldn't be too excited over it if you're not a big prog fan. Me liking prog probably helps make up the extra point and a bit between the scores. Still, good review.

I would say though that Opeth isn't the band that immediately springs to mind listening to both this and, to a lesser extent, their previous album. I hear quite a strong Amorphis tinge in their music - probably not all that surprising given they have two ex-Amorphis members (I think?)


I feel the same way. I do see some similarities with Opeth, but Amorphis is what really jumps out at me with Barren Earth. Good Review, especially from the point of view of someone who isn't a huge prog fan. I thought it was funny that "As It Is Written" got such harsh words, when it is my favorite song on the album, for the exact reason that it was bashed. O well, to each their own!
Ikuinen - 21.03.2012 at 21:13  
I will most likely buy this album next month...I like the first one
Întunecatul - 21.03.2012 at 21:49  
Written by MeloDeathViking on 21.03.2012 at 21:04

I thought it was funny that "As It Is Written" got such harsh words, when it is my favorite song on the album, for the exact reason that it was bashed.

Agree with the more old Amorphis feel than Opeth, only "Oriental pyre" brings more similarities to Opeth than Amorphis. "As it is written" is also my favorite from the album .
BitterCOld - 21.03.2012 at 22:01  
I don't listen to terribly much in the genre. i do listen to Opeth, have not listened to Amorphis, so to my ear it was the easiest point of comparison.

i also figure those unfamiliar with this band will more likely be familiar with Opeth, as they're about the biggest band in metal. safer bet than Amorphis.
Array - 21.03.2012 at 22:14  
In addition to the mentioned bands, I'd like to add that the 'Viva Emptiness -> today' -Katatonia sound has increased a bit since the debut. Also Swallow The Sun parts are still there, and some more straight-forward death metal riff parts nicely spice up things. The release's greatest thing in my opinion is the professionalism that shines all over the place. "Martyrs Of Devotion" is a great bonus track, in case someone is puzzled by the best edition of this album. "World In Haze" drags a bit, but is a good one too.
!J.O.O.E.! - 21.03.2012 at 22:36  
I think the review of the debut attracted a bunch of "it sounds like Amorphis not Opeth" comments too... at any rate I've only heard this record in bits and pieces but it didn't draw me in like the debut did which was a surprise hit of *whatever year it was released in*. A few nice leads here and there but it just seems a bit too haphazard.

I didn't get any modern Katatonia from this though.
Array - 21.03.2012 at 22:46  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 21.03.2012 at 22:36

I didn't get any modern Katatonia from this though.

For example the chorus for "White Fields". And in general Mikko's tone of voice spiced with some of those churning keyboards.
!J.O.O.E.! - 21.03.2012 at 22:50  
Written by Array on 21.03.2012 at 22:46

For example the chorus for "White Fields". And in general Mikko's tone of voice spiced with some of those churning keyboards.

I can see occasionally vocal similarity perhaps yeah.
Merchant of Doom - 22.03.2012 at 14:12  
Emerson, Lake & Palmer in middle of track 4...
woodsmoke666 - 22.03.2012 at 20:27  
Fair rating - bit dissapointed by this release as sometimes there's too much happening and it doesn't flow well. A few cool tracks but too many mediocre ones that do nothing for me.

Expected a more solid release
MétalNoir - 23.03.2012 at 03:28  
Get a gun before an Opeth fan finds you
tea[m]ster - 24.03.2012 at 17:36  
I am wondering if someone who is luke-warm to cold about a specific metal genre should be givin the task of reviewing its releases? Especially monumental ones like this? Doom metal is not my brand of vodka, so should I have the responsibility to review Esoteric?
Anyone get what I am saying?
BitterCOld - 24.03.2012 at 17:46  
Written by tea[m]ster on 24.03.2012 at 17:36

I am wondering if someone who is luke-warm to cold about a specific metal genre should be givin the task of reviewing its releases? Especially monumental ones like this? Doom metal is not my brand of vodka, so should I have the responsibility to review Esoteric?
Anyone get what I am saying?


why not? i can still formulate an opinion and lay out my thoughts, as well as appreciate quality musicianship, etc. challenging yourself is a good thing.
tea[m]ster - 24.03.2012 at 17:52  
Written by BitterCOld on 24.03.2012 at 17:46

why not? i can still formulate an opinion and lay out my thoughts, as well as appreciate quality musicianship, etc. challenging yourself is a good thing.


Thanks for not crushing me Craig. I am not saying your not capable - I love all your shit - and I am not trying to single you out personally but whats to say some reviewers don't have a hidden agenda or a bias deep down that seeps into a review?

I get that feeling whenever Rolling Stone Mag talks about Rush lol.
Dogsbreakfast - 24.03.2012 at 20:10  
Quote:
I get that feeling whenever Rolling Stone Mag talks about Rush lol.

I've seen that too! What has Rolling Stone got against Rush anyway? Whatever, since they lost whatever remaining credibility they had by holding an American Idol contest and coming up with the Sheepdogs. A cover spot on their magazine for a group that only 6 people in Saskatoon had ever heard of?
Troy Killjoy - 25.03.2012 at 06:35  
Written by tea[m]ster on 24.03.2012 at 17:36
Anyone get what I am saying?

Ya, and it's probably the most annoying argument I come across as a reviewer.

I remember I reviewed a folk metal album last year and gave it an 8. Everyone who checked it out loved it and had plenty of positive things to say (about the review and the music). I hate folk metal. I even mentioned it in the review. But I can still write objectively. Subjectively maybe I dislike the latest Barren Earth, but objectively I can look at it and point out its pros and cons.

If someone requests me to review a power metal album, I don't mind writing a review. But it's not going to be the same as maybe Lyrinan or Baz reviewing it because they have more knowledge about the genre so they can compare it and critique it better. Are we only supposed to review genres we're most familiar with?

I'm not really looking for a response because it's just off-topic, but these are just my thoughts on your post.

Long story short, if we feel like we aren't "man enough" for the job, we'll pass it on. Nobody here writes a review they're uncomfortable with (unless it's a newcomer's mistake or something).
tea[m]ster - 25.03.2012 at 22:45  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 25.03.2012 at 06:35

I'm not really looking for a response because it's just off-topic, but these are just my thoughts on your post.


Again, I never said Craig wasn't a skilled reviewer. Pretending their is no youtube, myspace players, soundcloud, etc., and I am teetering whether to spend $15 dollars on an album, I want input from someone with more experiance in that field.

Posting two reviews would be awesome: neutral and lawful, outsider and insider, call it whatever you want...
R'Vannith - 26.03.2012 at 11:47  
As part of the proggy crowd I have to say I didn't find much that exciting about this. Nice combination of Amorphis and Opeth, a few good tracks but overall not that impressive. I'd rate it roughly similar to what you've got there.
Milena - 26.03.2012 at 23:36  
Written by tea[m]ster on 25.03.2012 at 22:45

and I am teetering whether to spend $15 dollars on an album, I want input from someone with more experiance in that field.

Posting two reviews would be awesome: neutral and lawful, outsider and insider, call it whatever you want...

One opinion from a proggy reviewer: he nailed it on the head with the description except for not mentioning Amorphis, which is understandable because he doesn't listen to Amorphis. I'd probably rate it around 0.5-0.7 higher, liking some stuff he disliked a lot more (As It Is Written being the strongest point on the album and all for me), but overall the things he wrote stand.

If you liked the first one a lot, you'll probably going to like this too, there's less catchiness but more notes. The "more notes"-thing doesn't affect my perception, but less catchiness kinda does; none of the people I know have been completely blown away by the album, although it is a very solid piece of work. So it's up to you.
tea[m]ster - 27.03.2012 at 03:14  
Written by Milena on 26.03.2012 at 23:36

So it's up to you.


Mora, thanks for the synopsis. I really loved their debut record so I can't wait to spin this thing!
Mr. Doctor - 30.05.2012 at 17:18  
The music is not bad, but I really don't liek the vocals, specially the growls. *yawn*
!J.O.O.E.! - 30.05.2012 at 17:27  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 30.05.2012 at 17:18

The music is not bad, but I really don't liek the vocals, specially the growls. *yawn*

Hey, it's BoxCar Willy's first album, give him a break man!
Mr. Doctor - 30.05.2012 at 17:29  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 30.05.2012 at 17:27

Written by Mr. Doctor on 30.05.2012 at 17:18

The music is not bad, but I really don't liek the vocals, specially the growls. *yawn*

Hey, it's BoxCar Willy's first album, give him a break man!


... Well played dude.

*high-five*
!J.O.O.E.! - 30.05.2012 at 17:30  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 30.05.2012 at 17:29


... Well played dude.

*high-five*



Seriously though, this album was a let down, but the debut album is still a great modern, kick in the balls for the genre.

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