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BARREN EARTH – CURSE OF THE RED RIVER (Review)

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41kHHx6jbEL. SL100 The debut full-length from Finland’s BARREN EARTH could easily be described in only one word: Epic.

Due out April 6th via Peaceville Records, CURSE OF THE RED RIVER captures the momentum of last year’s ep OUR TWILIGHT, delivering on the promise of multi-layered death and doom with elements of melodic harmony.

The almost 8-minute title track sets the stage for the album, it’s slow-burn intro building into a demonic groove broken by the vocal harmonies on the choruses and finishing with acoustic guitars and a flute solo a la JETHRO TULL. The pedigree established by past and current members of AMORPHIS, KREATOR, and SWALLOW THE SUN (among others) is evident throughout.

Moving forward, tracks like FLICKER and THE LEER maintain the balance of styles, while ERE ALL PERISH shines with it’s chugga-chugga riffage seamlessly flowing into floating melodies and back into chaos without a hint of pause.

Ending with DESERTED MORROWS, another brooding track with acoustic-backed choruses that wouldn’t feel out of place in a Tim Burton film, the band ends much on the same note they began with – mixing death metal and melody into a sonic cocktail.

Like a modern rock opera, Barren Earth has crafted a symphony built on movements rather than standard verse-chorus-verse structure. Fans of straight-up metal or those who like their music in 3-minute nuggets (the average length here is 6 minutes) may shy away from this one, but fans of symphonic and progressive metal will be pleasantly surprised and delighted.

Standout Tracks: CURSE OF THE RED RIVER, ERE ALL PERISH, FORELORN WAVES

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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