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Barren Earth: On Lonely Towers

Finland’s progressive doom unit get a Faroese new voice

With members and ex-members of Amorphis, October Falls, Swallow The Sun, Moonsorrow and even Kreator, Barren Earth would have attracted attention even if their last two albums hadn’t been such high-quality efforts.

With this third release there has been a single but significant shift in the lineup, namely the replacement of vocalist Mikko Kotamäki with Jón Aldará from Faroese funeral doomsters Hamferð.

Aldará boasts in his arsenal some rather Garm/ICS Vortex-like high end vocals, creating a cleaner and more dramatic sheen than before. The progressive death/doom template is much the same, with dark and slow-paced sections and tasteful piano work recalling early 90s classics by bands such as Paradise Lost, not to mention Amorphis themselves.

There’s perhaps a greater sense of dynamics and contrast than before, but the songwriting isn’t quite up there with The Devil’s Resolve and the clean vocals have led to a questionable shift of tone./o:p