Barren Earth: Curse of the Red River

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Barren Earth: Curse of the Red River
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Barren Earth: Curse of the Red River
Doom Metal, Progressive Melodic Death Metal
Peaceville Records
March 31st, 2010
Release length: 54:25
Myspace
Website
Easily one of the best newer Metal acts, Barren Earth have put together an astounding release with their debut full-length, The Curse Of The Red River. The material found here may take a bit to become adjusted to, but once you settle in, this act’s Progressive soaked Melodic Death sound proves to be both powerful and epic to both move you, as well as raise the bar for all current and future Melodic Death Metal acts. This should actually come as no surprise considering the band members involved, coming from great acts like Amorphis, Kreator, Moonsorrow, as well as Swallow The Sun.

The Curse Of The Red River starts off a bit rocky, mostly through the vocals and atmosphere of the title track, “The Curse of the Red River”. The vocals used in this song are predominantly a deep gutteral that is rather hard to understand, coming off more as a straight forward generic growl. However, this nearly eight minute track does it’s job well to welcome the listener into the sometimes chaotic, but almost always melancholic musical world. From there, the band initiates to move the ground with their melodic and intense moments, as well as more earthy instrumental sections that create almost a vivid portrait of chaos and despair. “Our Twilight” is where the album will really grab you and shake the foundations of what you come to know and expect from an act in this style, and it just never lets up. Throughout the album, it seems like the band just continues to build upon the sound of the last song, or even during that same track, really taking away any form of repetition and causing the listener to come back to this release again to try to find anything that may have been missed the first time through. The best example of this would be the closing track “Deserted Morrows”. While the song may seem a bit out of place due to it’s deep Gothic roots and insanely melancholic clean singing, the track continues to build upon it’s self from the rocky start it has, to a very powerful and active closing song.

There’s really nothing negative that could be said about this album, aside the aforementioned title track and the slightly obscure “Deserted Morrows”. Aside that, there is also the track “The Leer” which feels a bit out of place. While the rest of the album has a clear Progressive, and sometimes even a Folk influence, this track seems to be more of a straight Melodic Death Metal song that doesn’t quite give off the same feel as the rest of the tracks on the release. This isn’t to say this track is bad, it’s just that the band could have worked on this one a little better, especially when you progress through the album and compare it to tracks like “Our Twilight” from earlier, and the latter “The Ritual of Dawn”, a well composed track that has a very moving piano/clean sung moment that fits in very well with the flow of the music to add more of an epic feeling to it.

Barren Earth is a super group that actually delivered an album at a level that was expected by the Metal universe, and more. The Curse Of The Red River is a very epic, groundbreaking album that absolutely needs to be experienced. This opus is powerful enough to captivate the listener through fantastic guitars and solos, well paced drumming, and varied vocal styles between brutal gutterals and beautiful yet depressive singing vocals. While The Curse Of The Red River starts off a bit rocky, it seems to only progress and build with each track you happen upon next. The Curse Of The Red River proves that Barren Earth is one of the best new Metal acts to surface in the past few years, and easily is a contender for album of the year.

01. The Curse of the Red River – 7:52
02. Our Twilight – 5:27
03. Forlorn Waves – 4:39
04. Flicker – 6:42
05. The Leer – 4:56
06. The Ritual of Dawn – 6:34
07. Ere All Perish – 5:54
08. Cold Earth Chamber – 5:34
09. Deserted Morrows – 6:50
Overall Score: 9/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Records.