Baroness though are a band that don’t mess about or do things by halves, they took a year off in 2011 to work on writing and since they had enough material didn’t see the point in waiting for another album cycle, so you lucky reader are getting 18 songs and over 80 minutes of delectable riffs with this double album Yellow &, yes you guessed it, Green. It’s a record that builds on their ever growing sound pushing them further into the melodious realms, thanks in no large part to co-producer John Congleton (Explosions in the Sky) whose touch has further nurtured the bands note perfect space age effigies to metal wunderkinds like Mastodon, Metallica, and Kylesa.
‘Take My Bones Away’ is the first song proper on the album after an elemental instrumental opening, it’s also the first single, and captures their intense combo of punky-sludge metal. Baizley’s vocals on this record are raw throaty cries. His lethargically nuanced tones on ‘March to the Sea’ are at odds with the sheer tech metal precision of the riffs, it’s energy barrels forth towards you in a constant wave. This distinction between the instrumentals and the vocals is what makes Baroness one of the most interesting metal groups around and makes them accessible to those who would usually dismiss the whole genre.
Baroness are every bit as metal as any of the aforementioned bands, however within their sound they embed an artisan quality. They go heavy on bass and riffs (‘The Line Between’), but they’re also plucky and uplifting (‘Little Things’). This isn’t melodic metal, but metal for those who love melody. If you don’t want to join in with the slow burning lament of ‘Twinkler’ then you ought to get your ears checked out, the final vocal solo of “Though I stand in mire, I will speak distant fire, though I’m laid to ground, I will walk through age and sound,” is nothing short of chilling.
Their ability to harmonize is brilliant, check out how they change up ‘Back Where I Belong’ around the four minute mark and then again with a minute to go where it becomes a theme for isolation in deep space. ‘Eula’ the latest single to be released from the album and the final part of Yellow incorporates everything you ever loved about music with razor sharp electric guitar, deep grumbling bass lines, gruff vocals that straddle the line between cut-glass and acoustic like you’ve never heard, it’s prog, it’s classic, it’s punk, and like no other near seven minute song it’s urgent.
WATCH // 'Eula'
Like the stunning album artwork done by Baizley, himself a renowned artist, the record is a complex masterpiece of modern classic status. It’s bright, it’s sinister, and it’s infinitely detailed.
You might notice all the singles are from the first half of the record and that’s no oversight on their part for Green is a very different record to Yellow and yet is its thematic and musical brethren undoubtedly. It’s darker and softer with a post-rock ambience to the slow burning drawl of tracks like ‘Foolsong’ and ‘Collapse’, which sees the band experiment with dull electro drones. All eight of the tracks here are much more experimental, check out the drum machine break beats on ‘Psalms Alive’, yes I did just say break beat and yes I’m still talking about Baroness. It’s a cracking track from the opening cat call of “I am the nail that you can’t strike,” to the crunchy kick of guitars that skyrocket this into a contest of fret-board mastery; 65 Days Of Static eat your heart out.
WATCH // 'Take My Bones Away'
It’s hard to think of a time when it wouldn’t be suitable to play this double album, that’s just how fucking expansive it is and you’d be a fool if you ignored it because you think you don’t like metal, believe me you’re wrong, you just don’t yet know how wrong. Baizley says it best himself on ‘The Line Between’ when his voice buzzily resonates: “I have taken this for granted, please don’t take it all away…walk the line between the righteous and the wicked and tomorrow I’ll be gone.”
I mean really what else are you doing for the next 80 minutes that sounds better than all of this?
Yellow & Green is out now on Relapse Records
Worth Checking Out:
- Take My Bones Away
- Psalms Alive