Finland's newest supergroup boasts an impressive lineup, and with a signing to Peaceville Records, I predict waves will be made through this debut EP. Try not to gouge your eyes out when you get a load of this lineup, for Barren Earth is comprised of former and current members of: Amorphis, Alghazanth, Chaosbreed, Kreator, Waltari, Moonsorrow, October Falls, Mannhai, Swallow the Sun, and others. That's correct, it's a gang of professionals with a very professional sound.
Coming from such a diverse spectrum of bands, I was curious to hear what sounds would be summoned, and what Barren Earth arrive at is a stylish form of melodic death metal, often hinging on the doom metal elements that Amorphis once encompassed in their heyday (Elegy). The band incorporates a similar wealth of sound: keyboards for atmosphere, slow, melancholic guitar lines above the churning rhythm chords, and Mikko (Goat Tormentor of Alghazanth) gives it his best, low growls, also using some cleaner vocals. All of the four tracks on the EP are of the slower variety, and densely packed for the style, with more tranquil acoustic passages, acoustic pianos etc to offset the heavier moments.
I say your name
And flow inside the storm
It's much too late
The distant woods deform
Of the four, I preferred the soaring "Jewel" with its bombastic bridge and winding prog synth, and the closing "Floodred" which evoked a few spectral moments of sorrow, but even these did not fully meet my expectations. The songs are tightly performed and the material is mixed perfectly, but for all its atmosphere, I didn't find the writing all that enjoyable. Still, it's only an EP, from a brand new band, and the inevitable full-length is likely to cover a wider range of dynamics, so it will be interesting to hear once they settle in to the style.
Verdict: Indifference [6/10] (Weeping turns into blasphemies)