- Passing of the Crimson Shadows
- The Rain Begins
- Vintage Warlords
- As It Is Written
- The Dead Exiles
- Oriental Pyre
- White Field
- Where All Stories End
In 2009, when I had my own meager little blog, Barren Earth was introduced to me through their debut ep, Our Twilight. I always enjoyed the proggy death metal sounds of Opeth, so I was instantly hooked on their sound. Curse of The Red River was released roughly 4 months later and it was my number one pick for 2010. Needless to say, when I heard that they were working on a new album, I was more than interested. Rob offered to let me take this review and I gladly accepted. So, how does The Devil’s Resolve rate and perhaps how does it compare to ‘Curse?
Progressive death metal can be a bit problematic in that if you’re not careful and really take the time and effort to make a new album sound different from the last, your reputation will soon become just that. A band and album can easily be forgotten because of boredom from the listener. Barren Earth did not push too hard to make an album different from their last, but they most certainly made a memorable record that calls for repeated listens. One of the key differences, is ‘Resolve has more of a European folkiness to it that you don’t hear as much in ‘Curse. You can definitely hear this in the beginning of ‘The Rain Begins’ and ‘As It Is Written’. I love the bagpipes in the beginning of ‘As It Is Written’ and then the keyboard continues with the melody. It’s just a killer song through and through. ‘The Dead Exiles’ is a cool tune with a slow dirge in the beginning and later picks up into more of an uptempo doom with a very thick sound.
Prog-death metal can be rather predictable in a sense. You kind of already know the formula. Keyboards, clean singing, death metal growls, etc. Oddly enough, while you know that Barren Earth is going to sound like Barren Earth, The Devil’s Resolve isn’t exactly predictable. Sure, it essentially has those elements I just discussed, but you can’y pin them down upon first listen. There are really beautiful guitar solo/breaks that seem to pop up out of nowhere. The somewhat eastern-sounding guitar solos on ‘Oriental Pyre’ are a prime example. The classical/Spanish guitar break in ‘Vintage Warlords’ is another.
The talent of this band seems to know how to tie and weave every bit of their sound together into a magnificent opus. The Devil’s Resolve pretty much picks up where ‘Curse left off and gave it a good workout, beefing it up while leaning it out. Now, don’t get that last line twisted. I’m not saying that this album is a big step up from Curse Of the Red River; I’m just saying that they learned from their last album and built upon their sound. With that said, The Devil’s resolve is a very great album that deserves nothing short of praise.
The Devil’s Resolve was released this past week (3/12/12) on Peaceville Records.