The Finnish music scene has been a fertile breeding ground and true home for metal over the past decades and with the worldwide signing of BARREN EARTH, Century Media Records have not only added a stunning new act to their roster, but also welcome a communion of artists standing for a profound, long-lasting sound that has become a creative and inspiring force in the progressive melodic death metal genre.
The sextet was formed in 2007 by Olli-Pekka Laine and Marko Tarvonen fusing the darkness of death metal with elements inspired by 70’s prog and folk. They created a band that not only brought in the prog influence but unites all facets of the various acts they are associated with. Featuring, original members of Amorphis, Moonsorrow, Hamferð and Kreator, they have developed a captivating and dramatic trademark sound over the course of a debut EP (“Our Twilight”, 2009) and two much-lauded albums: “Curse Of The Red River” (2010) and “The Devil’s Resolve” (2012). “On Lonely Towers” further expands their melodic, progressive death metal, taking all their stylistic nuances to new extremes.
“Musically, this is by far the most adventurous BARREN EARTH album”, Faroese native and vocalist Jón Aldará, who replaced original singer Mikko Kotamäki in early 2014, summarizes the new opus. “We’re taking more progressive turns, boosting the energy levels in some places while exploring more atmospheric landscapes in others. Having two songs at 10-11 minutes has also enabled us to spend much more time on developing certain elements and creating something epic! It’s a very varied piece of work and we’ve expanded from earlier albums without losing the core of what we think is BARREN EARTH.”
Aldará’s unique vocals have definitely added completely new dimensions to the band’s sound, showing an impressive range from almost operatic, emotive wailing to masterful deep growling whereas BARREN EARTH’s musical backbone retains its gloomy atmospheric and melodic approach.
Also, the production team was changed on the third full-length: BARREN EARTH commenced recordings in February 2014 with Petri Majuri at Finnvox Studios while Tony Lindgren at Fascination Street Studios in Sweden was consulted for mastering. The result is a massive, organic and natural sound.
On the visual side, BARREN EARTH however relied on Travis Smith (Katatonia, Opeth), who cooperated with them back on the debut album, and once again achieved an artwork fitting the album’s concept, which Aldará explains further:
“There is also a loose concept or story permeating the album, where the songs describe different events surrounding two main characters. One is the hunter, who is attacked and maimed by predators, and the other is a small girl who runs away from her abusive parents. The two of them meet in a vast field on which massive, ancient towers stand deserted in decay. The girl vows to help the man recover in any way she can. It’s a concept based on the idea of accepting mortality, which, in turn, is interwoven with a few other associated themes.”
With “On Lonely Towers” BARREN EARTH have crafted an opulent album that demands attention, careful listening and encourages you to really sink down into its richly detailed, sonic cosmos.
“We have worked our asses off to create not just another album but a piece of real substance and weight in a world of cheap thrills and quickly forgotten gimmicks. We really poured our hearts and souls on this one and it’s by far our best work yet.”