Barren Earth – Dead Moon Rising

Saturday, 30th March 2013

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)

Finnish metal is top dawg right now and if there is one country that gets a free pass from the assemblage of a supergroup, it is Europe’s eighth largest country. The latest entry into the fray is Barren Earth, who is comprised of members of Swallow the Sun, Moonsorrow, Kreator, along with a pair of ex-Amorphis members to boot. As we’ve noted it would have been way-too easy to mimic the classic works of Amorphis’ Tales From the Thousand Lakes or Sentenced’s Amok, but Barren Earth doesn’t play that game. Instead, their first proper full-length, Curse of the Red River is awash with 70s-inspired progressive metal elements (think a more bell-bottom adorned Opeth), alongside the traditional anglings of melodic death metal.

The common dilemma for Barren Earth will be finding time to do the band, something current Moonsorrow live guitarist/ Rytmihäiriö member Janne Perttilä didn’t sound too concerned about when Blistering cornered him for an interrogation…

Blistering.com: Going into this, were you prepared for the onslaught of “supergroup” connotations?

Janne Perttilä: Well, the lineup of the band got together based on certain people feeling that it would be a cool idea to play with certain other people. It wasn’t until the lineup was more or less complete that we kind of realized that there’s no way to avoid people perceiving this as yet another “supergroup” (although we’re not exactly superstars, hah) side project. I guess these kinds of lineups are what you get when all the players in your phonebook are from more or less internationally known bands! So we knew the supergroup-talk was inevitable and tried to think of how to avoid all that, since in our mindset we definitely approached this thing from the beginning as an actual band that we’re going to keep building and going indefinitely, as opposed to a “project”. But we discovered it’s a futile struggle, especially since we’re just a new band that’s just putting out its first album and trying to raise people’s interest in general. I mean we can downplay the fact all we want, but that list of other bands people play in is still going to be there in every review of the album, interview etc.

Blistering.com: Most supergroups consisting of veteran guys from the underground (i.e. Bloodbath, Chaosbreed, etc.) were content to just re-write the past. So, what does Barren Earth offer that these groups could not?

Perttilä: That’s actually well put right there, being content on re-writing the past or not? In my head, I can completely understand getting together with good friends and a few six-packs to a rehearsal place and banging out some pseudo-Autopsy or pseudo-AC/DC songs on the spot for a jolly good time. Heck, sounds like pretty damn good past-time if you ask me. And I’d be lying if a certain bit of the inspiration behind Barren Earth wasn’t just that. It’s just that in addition of all this good time death metal and stuff, we’re huge fans of 70’s progressive rock. And that means a part of the equation (with the six-pack jam sessions and all) is to capture the feel of that kind of musical creativity! To answer your question, there’s a number of great songwriters in the band, with a hunger to try out new things and push the envelope. We genuinely feel like we have something to say, something of our own. And we’re genuinely having a lot of fun while doing it.

Blistering.com: What spurred the formation of Barren Earth?

Perttilä: Our bass player Olli-Pekka “Oppu” Laine [ex-Amorphis] started to have these melodies and song ideas floating around a few years ago while the band he was in at the time started sort of slowly ceasing to exist. Being a proactive guy, he called me and Marko about getting together and trying out the songs, to start out with something new. Kasper [Martensen, keyboards, ex-Amorphis] and Sami [Yli-Sirniö, guitars, Kreator] soon joined us, and things started to sound pretty damn good. Better than we expected! And it seemed to feel really comfortable for everyone. It was FUN. Marko [Tervonen, drums, Moonsorrow] and me knew Mikko [Kotamäki, vocals, Swallow the Sun] from before, from Swallow the Sun and Moonsorrow touring together in 2007. We knew he had the perfect voice for this kind of stuff, and was a really great guy to hang out with… so we just gave him a call. Simple as that!

Blistering.com: Do you think the relative close and friendly nature of the Finnish metal scene made it easier to bring the band together?

Perttilä: I think it’s exactly that. Only slightly exaggerating, it seems that everybody knows everyone and there’s basically no egos anywhere to complicate things. People in general have a humble and respectful attitude, and a love of (did I already get into this?) having a bit of fun.

Blistering.com: Surely some thought has to be given as to how everyone will make the band work given everyone’s other priorities. How do you plan on making this work?

Perttilä: Planning ahead is the key, now keep in mind that even though some of the members are involved in what you could call “high-profile” bands, it’s all still relatively small scale. No year-long touring or anything like that. So it’s just a matter of getting our calendars out and finding the weeks when everybody’s free! And working on new music doesn’t even take that. We’ve been able to gather to our rehearsal place basically every week to work on new stuff all the time, sans Mikko who lives in a different town anyway. Sami has done a couple of month-long tours with Kreator during the past year, but otherwise even he’s around for the most of the time.

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