Barren Earth
Our Twilight


3.0
good

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
November 23rd, 2009 | 27 replies | 9,693 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Despite originality issues, Barren Earth delivers a solid progressive/doom album that should have fans of Amorphis’ earlier works excited.

I wonder if Mikko Kotamaki has a thing for the Twilight movie series. I mean, it seems like a little more than coincidence that his main band, Swallow the Sun, named their latest album New Moon and now his side-project’s first release is titled Our Twilight. Although, I guess it could just as easily be a carefully calculated decision to use keywords from the movie in order to catch the attention of vampire-obsessed teens – pretty sneaky guys. In all seriousness, though, both New Moon and this deserve to gain some attention from the metal-buying public and free publicity is still publicity. In fact, with the line-up present on this release it’s a surprise that they haven’t been getting a ton of publicity already. In addition to Mikko Kotamaki (Swallow the Sun) on vocals, Barren Earth also features Olli-Pekka Laine and Kasper Martenson of Amorphis on bass and keyboards, Marko Tarvonen of Moonsorrow on drums, and Janne Perttila (Rytmihäirio) & Sami Ylisirnio (Kreator) on guitars. Of course, with a line-up like that the question is always going to be whether the band is equal to the sum of its parts, and the answer is surprisingly “yes”.

Anyone familiar with the work of Olli-Pekka Laine (The Karelian Isthmus through Tuonela) and Kasper Martenson (Tales from the 1,000 Lakes) will recognize the basic foundation of this band’s sound. Barren Earth is rooted in the same doom/death riffs accentuated by progressive/folk melodies that Amorphis made famous over a decade ago, but with a slight twist. The twist is that the riffs are either heavier or proggier than anything from Amorphis’ past which lends the band a sound that isn’t too far removed from a simplified Opeth. Over these riffs are melodic guitar leads that definitely take a page from Tales from the 1,000 Lakes, but they’re not as abundant. The other element that owes a bit to that album is the 70s/psychedelic keyboard sounds that accentuate every part of this release. In all honesty, this album wouldn’t have sounded out of place between Tales from the 1,000 Lakes and Elegy but that’s not really a bad thing. If there is only one element that sets this album apart from old Amorphis releases (and there really is only one), it’s the vocals of Mikko Kotamaki. His use of death growls and black metal rasps are basically the same as on any Swallow the Sun album, but his clean singing is much more interesting. Most of his clean sections are layered and harmonized in a way that almost reminds me of Porcupine Tree, and he displays a pretty decent range as well.

I tried a few times to write about this album without the abundance of Amorphis comparisons, but it’s near-impossible. After multiple listens it’s pretty obvious that the similarities in style were completely intentional. The melodic guitar leads and psychedelic keyboards are bound to give one a sense of deja-vu and the progressive doom riffs are going to definitely sound slightly familiar, but it doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t matter because Amorphis isn’t doing this sound anymore and, more importantly, the band pulls it off nicely. At the end of the day, this is a solid progressive/doom release that contains plenty of great leads, heavy riffs and a variety of growls and singing. Basically, despite any problems this album might have in the originality department, it is actually really good and that is all that matters.



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user ratings (18)
Chart.
3.1
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
November 23rd 2009



15876 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Another quick write-up of another EP. I probably won't do any substantial reviews until the new year because I'm just trying to get a few last-minute 2009 releases in while the new release schedule is slow.

Digging: Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse - 20th Year Anniversary

BallsToTheWall
November 23rd 2009



44164 Comments


Ahhh hoping this got reviewed. Myspace samples didnt really impress me though, of course that was awhile ago.

Willie
Moderator
November 23rd 2009



15876 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I think these songs work better together and complete. It's also going to depend a lot on how you feel about "Tales From the 1,000 Lakes" and "Elegy"-era Amorphis.

BallsToTheWall
November 23rd 2009



44164 Comments


Wait a minute, I thought you were a folk nazi...... Mutiny's afoot.

Willie
Moderator
November 23rd 2009



15876 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I don't mind the folk melodies in a metal context. I have an issue with the really cheesy folk bands that bring to mind tales of drunkenly sodomizing deer or something.

Jips
November 23rd 2009



1129 Comments


Sounds cool... il look into this...

nice review...

Mordecai.
November 24th 2009



8270 Comments


I like Elegy-era Amorphis. Haven't heard Swallow the Sun though.

SylentEcho
November 24th 2009



1570 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Amorphis’ earlier works you say? I'm interested.

Willie
Moderator
November 24th 2009



15876 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

If that's the case then you should really check this out. I haven't been on their Myspace but if they don't have whole songs on there then try somewhere else.

ameypv
November 24th 2009



807 Comments


interesting review.will check this shit.

Zoo
November 24th 2009



3759 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The Flame of Serenity and especially Floodred are solid tracks but the other two suck the life out of this ep.

Willie
Moderator
November 24th 2009



15876 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Really? I only thought the second track was really weak.

ManRunsOverBus
November 25th 2009



45 Comments


if it sounds like early amorphis count me in

devouredbymetal
November 25th 2009



516 Comments


"I wonder if Mikko Kotamaki has a thing for the Twilight movie series. I mean, it seems like a little more than coincidence that his main band, Swallow the Sun, named their latest album New Moon and now his side-project’s first release is titled Our Twilight. " .....

haha.....nice!!

Mordecai.
November 25th 2009



8270 Comments


haha... no

Willie
Moderator
November 25th 2009



15876 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

How can you be so certain? Maybe he loves the movies but is too scared to tell his fans. Maybe he also bought Adam Lambert's album the day it came out and he cries at chick-flicks. Now that I think about it, what do we really know about this guy?

Emim
November 28th 2009



26476 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Now that I think about it, what do we really know about this guy?


The question is, do you want to know?

anotherdeadjuliet
December 2nd 2009



263 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is pretty awesome.

Willie
Moderator
December 3rd 2009



15876 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Someone finally checked this out... I wouldn't say that this is awesome, but I'm definitely looking forward to a full length album.

MagnetaMorning
December 5th 2009



62 Comments


Wow. I shouldn't have read this review.. now I can't get 1,000 lakes comparisons out of my head. lol. Spot on comparison.

I personally don't like the clean vocals. Interesting would be my safe term for them.



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