BARREN EARTH was formed in Helsinki in the autumn of 2007. This new ambitious, progressive death metal band was originally conceived in late 2006. With a head full of new, brutal, yet melodic songs, Olli-Pekka Laine(ex-Amorphis, Mannhai) asked drummer Marko Tarvonen (Moonsorrow), to form a new progressive death metal group with him. Around 2005 Tarvonen, keyboardist Kasper Mårtenson (ex-Amorphis, Ben Granfelt Band) and Laine played in a prog-rock project called The Camel Gang (influenced by The James Gang and English prog-rock band Camel), so they knew they already had the chemistry. Tarvonen agreed to go for it, Mårtenson and guitarist Janne Perttilä joined the band as well, and little by little things started snowballing towards the first incarnation of BARREN EARTH.
At the end of 2007 Tarvonen, Laine, Mårtenson and Perttilä gathered together, and laid down the final plans. Still lacking a lead guitarist, the guys called their old friend Sami Yli-Sirniö (Kreator, Waltari), as they knew his playing style to be a perfect match. Rehearsals began immediately, and by the summer of 2008, BARREN EARTH found themselves in the studio, recording the four first songs they had put together.Read More
When it came down to finding a vocalist, the name of Mikko Kotamäki (Swallow The Sun) popped up. The band knew that Kotamäki’s skills in growling and singing were what the fresh promotional recording screamed for. Luckily he agreed to join, and BARREN EARTH had found its final form.
The music of BARREN EARTH combines elements of modern and traditional death metal, with 70’s prog rock and folk. Among the band’s influences are artists like Paradise Lost, Opeth, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull and also some pioneers of Finnish prog.
The members’ individual backgrounds in many internationally known and acclaimed outfits is a testament to the quality of the band’s music. These same backgrounds are obviously also echoed in BARREN EARTH’s music.
The very first rehearsals with the full band were in early 2008. Already then we tried out songs like “Ere All Perish” and “Forlorn Waves”. Both songs ended up on the first album in exactly the same form in which they were played for the first time. That’s how well the parts have clicked together from the very beginning. This kind of mutual awareness of arrangements and composing made the pre-production and the whole recording process smooth and easy.
The debut album recording sessions started in late June 2009 in Seawolf Studios, Helsinki/Finland with producer-engineer Jukka Varmo after a deal was offered with Peaceville Records. The band nailed the drums, bass and piano parts in 3 days at Seawolf Studios and then moved to Jive Studios to record the guitars, vocals and keyboards. The rest of the process, mixing and mastering (or “mixtering”, as Dan puts it), was handled by Dan Swanö (Opeth, Katatonia) at Unisound Studios, Örebro/Sweden.
With the album not set to surface early 2010, it was down to the 4 track EP ‘Our Twilight’ to launch the band into the stratosphere in November 2009. The EP was met with great acclaim for its fine blending of metal & prog elements & stellar craftmanship & this was followed by the band’s debut gig at Dante’s Highlight in Helsinki, showcasing tracks from the EP & album.
Also around this time, it was decided that the debut album was to be titled ‘Curse of the Red River’ with artwork coming courtesy of Travis Smith (Opeth, Katatonia). The album was set for a March 2010 release whilst the band also lined up a handful of gigs & festivals for throughout 2010; no mean feat considering how active the members’ other bands are.
Always a highly creative force, Barren Earth continued to write new material, for a second album, whilst early 2011 saw the band embark upon an extensive US tour with countrymen Finntroll, Ensiferum & Rotten Sound. At this time, the band also learned that they had received honours of best new act at the Finnish awards & also best album for ‘Curse of the Red River’ in online polls. The middle of the year saw Barren Earth enter the studio to record their follow-up album, to be titled ‘The Devil’s Resolve’ & to take the experimentation & heaviness to even further heights. The artwork was completed by US-based artist Paul Romano, notable for his work with Mastodon.