Barren Earth - Curse Of The Red River
29 March 2010

01. The Curse Of The Red River
02. Our Twilight
03. Forlorn Waves
04. Flicker
05. The Leer
06. The Ritual Of Dawn
07. Ere All Perish
08. Cold Earth Chamber
09. Deserted Morrows

As I already told you in my review of the "promotional" EP of Barren Earth, I was sure that this band could become famous, but obviously we all needed a confirmation through the release of an official first album. This is now done and I can finally tell you my humble opinion about The Curse Of The Red River, the first release of the Finnish combo. This album is really good and even if the band still need to improve on some points, I found some really good things in the release and Barren Earth will have to be considered as a great newcomers. No need any more suspense, let's just talk about music now and you'll understand why I'm so enthusiastic!

As you may know, Barren Earth is composed of Finnish musicians who all have played or still play with famous bands like Kreator, Amorphis or Swallow The Sun and their music is clearly dark, progressive with Death and Doom influences. A bit like Opeth, Barren Earth plays deep dark and melancholic music but always with a real brutal aspect which comes from the death vocals and big strong riffs that we can find on all the tracks of the album. Though, the album doesn't lack of acoustic sonorities too and calm moments but all in all the best comparison to describe the music remains Opeth. And that's a bit the problem of The Curse Of The Red River, which is maybe a bit too similar to the albums of the Swedish combo with however (and that's the point that Barren Earth will have to develop) some really bigger 70's Prog influences. The EP was good but I was waiting to listen to the other songs to give my final opinion which is really positive in the end. Sure, Barren Earth is maybe a bit too much influenced by "who you know" but for a first album, they already have good ideas like the addition of the flutes a la Jethro Tull at the end of the first song, "The Curse Of The Red River". This track is the one which gives me a lot of good hopes for the band because it's original and personal and I truly love, the flutes ok, but also the "Morricone" western movie music influences at the end of the songs. It rocks, this is not so common and if you just imagine it mixed with some "Opeth like" music, you'll probably get what I mean, this is just something different!

Barren Earth just need time I think, and maturity. I hope too that they will think about their music and follow the tests that they've done on this release. I like the Prog Dark Death side because it's good but their (too shy) 70's Prog approach is a lot better and both genre mixed are just excellent! So yes The Curse Of The Red River is good and well done in the genre but if the band manages to develop this other side then believe me they will become a killer!

The Curse Of The Red River is great surprise, not perfect in reason of the fact that the band remains too influenced by other bands but an incredible potential is here. Barren Earth just has to follow this way and take some risks and it will be perfect. In the end The Curse Of The Red River is a good album, recommended to all the fans of Dark progressive music but my other conclusion is that the band have the means to be a lot better, so I will wait a lot their next album, I'm sure that it will be a masterpiece.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8

Band profile: Barren Earth
Album: Curse Of The Red River


written by Jeff | 27.03.2010


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Harlequin - 28.03.2010 at 13:12  
I really enjoy this one, will buy it I think.
Ag Fox - 28.03.2010 at 15:45  
Would also recommend it to those who like In Mourning
Arhippigo - 28.03.2010 at 21:22  
Good review, I think you mostly summed up what I thought about it. Though I'd say it's more like an 8.5/10.
JosipS - 30.03.2010 at 14:52  
Yeah i thought this sounded like Amorphis and Swallow the Sun doing Opeth covers. which is fine in my books.
Valaskjalf - 31.03.2010 at 00:34  
Really does sound like a really heavy Amorphis. The growls are almost identical to that of Tomi Joutsen, who is one of the best in the business if you ask me. Very good album...8.5/10 from me...possibly higher the more I listen to it.
qlacs - 02.04.2010 at 12:50  
Agree on the review
Risto - 02.04.2010 at 15:06  
The Opeth influence is there yes, but far less dominant than the review claims. It's a pretty natural comparison though because Opeth is so big. Bands like Kingston Wall and Amorphis are at least as big cornerstones for this band as Opeth, if not bigger. Other than that the review is well written.
Aeox - 02.04.2010 at 20:32  
A great album - don't care for the influences.
Daggon - 04.04.2010 at 06:01  
I'm not a big fan of Amorphis or In Mourning (surely the are similar), but I like Opeth, so, maaaybe I'll give a try to this album later, who knows, maybe I'll like it.
Derwood - 08.04.2010 at 19:49  
The biggest difference between Barren Earth and Opeth is that Barren Earth doesn't put me to sleep by the halfway point of the album. I certainly hear a lot more Amorphis influence in this album than Opeth. Not exactly a must have, but a very solid album.
Chris Steele - 08.04.2010 at 22:51  
All those who says it sounds like Amorphis, I have something to say to you. Because it sounds like Amorphis is because Barren Earth has members from Amorphis. Some of the members are also from Kreator, Swallow The Sun and Moonsorrow;)
MétalNoir - 20.07.2010 at 01:23  
Written by Chris Steele on 08.04.2010 at 22:51

All those who says it sounds like Amorphis, I have something to say to you. Because it sounds like Amorphis is because Barren Earth has members from Amorphis. Some of the members are also from Kreator, Swallow The Sun and Moonsorrow;)

... yeah we all got that after the second paragraph, thank you.
MétalNoir - 21.07.2010 at 22:08  
Either the reviewer hasn't listened to the same album as I or he didn't listen with much attention, cause this band has much more in common with Amorphis and StS than Opeth, indeed. The vocals, the lead guitar, the bass and the keyboards are very much alike Amorphis. Great album.
!J.O.O.E.! - 12.10.2010 at 13:13  
Really liking this actually. It's nice to hear a modern band that doesn't feel the need to push everything with an unnecessary modern production; the cleans and keyboards simmer in underneath the primary elements. It's all quite considered and not so in your face.

I'd probably enjoy a lot more stuff if they adopted less shiny production, at least where this kind of style is concerned.
Lovecraft - 12.10.2010 at 15:28  
This is a very good album!
Zombie - 12.12.2010 at 21:07  
I fucking love this album !!
Justicelust - 10.02.2011 at 10:51  
If they are like In Mourning or Amorphis, I'll bye it but I'm disappointed that they are like Opeth beacause I really do not like Opeth at all.
DirkLizzard - 16.02.2011 at 11:59  
Good review. I agree on the Opeth influence, especially the guitars remind a lot of Opeth. Despite this, good debut album. I really like the way they make use of keyboards and piano.
Milena - 05.08.2011 at 13:16  
For me it didn't sound much like Opeth. It's an awesome band, the dudes are really experienced and clearly know what they're doing, everything is as strong as it could be.
monti_84 - 03.10.2012 at 00:35  
Listen to "The Leer" and then tell me if you don´t find yourself singing the chorus unintentionally later on. Good enough for me. Great band, and catchy as herpes...fuck Opeth with its "Heritage" shit, this is the kind of sound they should be creating...

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