Barren Earth

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Barren Earth
Origin Helsinki, Finland
Genres Progressive death metal, melodic death metal, doom metal
Years active 2007–present
Labels Peaceville Records
Associated acts Swallow the Sun, Moonsorrow, Amorphis, Kreator
Members Mikko Kotamäki
Olli-Pekka Laine
Kasper Mårtenson
Janne Perttilä
Marko Tarvonen
Sami Yli-Sirniö

Barren Earth is a Finnish progressive death metal band from Helsinki, and was formed in 2007.

Its music is said to be a combination of death metal, progressive rock and even folk music, pulling influence from the different groups each member is associated with.

Formed from members of well-known groups in Finland, the band is sometimes referred to as a "supergroup".

Since their formation, the band has released one EP and two full-length albums.


Formation (2007–2008)[edit]

The prime mover in the band's creation was bass player Olli-Pekka Laine. In 2007, his then-current band Mannhai was becoming less active. He also started to have some musical ideas not quite fitting Mannhai's stoner-rock style of music. He tempted drummer Marko Tarvonen with death-metal ideas which was easy, as Tarvonen was eager to team up with Laine, and guitarist Janne Perttilä. Together they explained the new idea to keyboardist Kasper Mårtenson, who joined the group after a week's contemplation. Laine and guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö had been planning to establish an "authentic" progressive-rock band. Barren Earth was not exactly or solely that, but nevertheless Yli-Sirniö agreed to step on board. The band still was short of a lead singer. They went into the studio and came out with an instrumental demo. Now Tarvonen came up with an idea of asking Mikko Kotamäki, who he had toured with, to take the vocal responsibilities.

Barren Earth was prepared to play some pure serious death metal at the first place. This, however, was not the outcome, because of Mårtenson. According to Laine, their death metal was to be "some straight growling and sawing", but after Mårtenson had demonstrated his first Barren Earth song (along with the growls and all) to the rest of the band, they decided that Mårtenson's keyboard melodies should become an essential part of the sound. That song was "Forlorn Waves" which ended up to their debut album.

The original plan was not followed in the vocal duties, either. Kotamäki was known for his death grunting, but in Barren Earth he sang clean, clear vocals as well. Almost everyone gives a vocal input to the band. Yli-Sirviö does a great deal on arranging the vocals and harmonies and takes care of a lot of vocal leads alongside Kotamäki. If Mårtenson had a major effect on music becoming more melodic than what it was supposed to, the way of arranging the vocal duties by the band adds to it.

The band was signed to the British record company Peaceville Records. Laine had sent a link to the band's Myspace site to many companies and one of the companies that replied was Peaceville. Peaceville was particularly interested in the band, as they had been looking for a Finnish metal group to sign. Rehearsals began immediately, and by the summer of 2008, Barren Earth found themselves in the studio, recording the first four songs they had put together.

Our Twilight and Curse of the Red River (2009 onwards)[edit]

In November 2009, the EP Our Twilight was issued, and included four songs. Strangely enough, the same year came out an album by another Finnish band Swallow the Sun, called New Moon. Some people noticed a connection to Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga of vampires, her novels being Twilight and New Moon. When Laine was asked about that, he said he had never heard of these vampire movies or books. Shortly after the EP had been issued, Barren Earth performed its first gig, in the club Dante's Highlight in Helsinki. However, the LP coming up on March 2010, most of the festivals had already been booked bands for the summer 2010. Barren Earth had a gig on Tuska Open Air Metal Festival, though.

In February 2011, the band played a five-week tour in North America under the name "Finnish Metal Tour 2011", alongside other Finnish bands including Finntroll, Ensiferum and Rotten Sound, gathering support for their album that would officially be released around two months later.[1] On 31 March 2010, the band issued their debut album, Curse of the Red River. One of its nine songs was the title song of the previous EP, "Our Twilight". The album received very positive reviews. The band went on to receive the title of "Newcomer of the year" in 2011 at the Finnish Metal Awards, and "Best debut album" at the Metal Storm Awards 2010.[2]

The Devil's Resolve (2012)[edit]

On various websites dedicated to metal bands, it was told that the band's second album, The Devil's Resolve, containing nine songs, was due to be released on November 2011, once again by Peaceville Records.[3] The Devil's Resolve is said to contain even more 1970s progressive influences while keeping the brutality associated with the band. On their website, the band stated that, originally, twelve songs were written.[4] However on the band's Facebook page the band told that because of delays in the production process the second album would not take place until February/March 2012.[5] On 29 February 2012, the band released the video "The Rains Begin" from their upcoming album.[6]


Members of the band have known each other for different connections and bands for a long time. The Finnish media has been quite eager to hold a thought of a "superband" when referring to Barren Earth. That is probably because each member is connected to, either currently or in the past, notable metal bands from Finland. But after all, Barren Earth is not the number-one priority band for all of its members due to their engagement to other bands. However, this gives an opportunity to the members to express such a musical passion or vibrations not quite fitting to their number one priority bands at the time. Barren Earth is making music out of its own reasons and ambitions, not much paying attention to any bias whatsoever coming from outside their own thoughts.

The backgrounds of the members bring experience to the band, and having known each other for a long time created an atmosphere of trust. It has been possible for every member to bring different influences and versatile elements to the music, whilst all of the members have taken duties on composing and/or writing lyrics.

The group has its focus on song writing and publishing albums, because the other bands the members participate in are top priority when it comes to doing gigs and going on tours. Members of Barren Earth are or have been engaged to several bands among the years, including: Mikko Kotamäki – Swallow the Sun, Alghazanth; Olli-Pekka Laine – Amorphis, Mannhai, Chaosbreed; Kasper Mårtenson – Amorphis, Mannhai; Janne Perttilä – Rytmihäiriö, Circus of Flesh; Marko Tarvonen – Moonsorrow, Chaosbreed; Sami Yli-Sirniö – Kreator, Waltari.

Band members[edit]





  • 2010 – "The Leer" (directed by Owe Lingvall)
  • 2012 – "The Rain Begins"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Finnish Metal Tour 2011 – Parts 1-8". Barren Earth. Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "News Archive". Barren Earth. 31 May 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "Barren Earth – The Devil's Resolve". Encyclopaedia Metallum – The Metal Archives. 19 October 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "What's Up?". Barren Earth. 31 May 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "Facebook – Barren Earth". Barren Earth. 10 November 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2011. 
  6. ^ "Barren Earth – The Rains Begin". 29 February 2012. Retrieved 29 February 2012. 

External links[edit]