Review: Baroness – Yellow and Green (Part 1)

Posted: March 5, 2014 in Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Ah Baroness, what a wonderful band you are. You have graced us with four (since this is a double) coloured coded records of supreme loveliness. It’s rare you can regard metal as lovely. It’s supposed to be BROOTAL, HEAVY, VICIOUS, BROOOOTAL and numerous other metaphors for musically scything your balls off. But Baroness isn’t. Baroness is just, well, lovely. It’s difficult for me to review a double album, because I don’t want to find myself waxing lyrical about how good it is. So I’ve split this review into two, reviewing the Yellow and Green discs as separate entities.

Yellow (Disc 1) opens with a triumphant stoner doom rock stomp in the form of ‘Take My Bones Away’ after a suitably moody intro. This is a song that could personify the whole record. It’s catchy as hell, rocks hard and has superb melodies. The more rumbling ‘March to the Sea’ takes over, with an insistent rumbling bass and drum performance, and yet another killer chorus. The guitar licks in this chorus are very reminiscent of Mastodon’s fretwork, but they lack the primal roar of Atlanta’s finest. That’s fine though; if anything was needed in this world, it was LESS Mastodon clones (because most just can’t cut it). Baroness are more unique than some of their peers, simply because they employ beautiful melodies and harmonies. And good cleaning singing. Very Important. ‘Little Things’ is a indie hit record doused in southern groove; if the Shins listened to Torche. I love the solo in this song, it is so unconventional and brilliant.

‘Twinkler’ is acoustic balladry at its finest. It’s Appalachian campfire music, and probably should be played while staring up at the night sky through trees. ‘Cocainium’ is a funky, bass driven trip out, all psychedelic guitar work and ethereal vocals that then morphs into a hard rocker. Baroness are ‘post sludge’ on this record, taking cues from their heavier, doomier past but adding lush instrumentations and subtle touches. Combinations of metal and indie rock shouldn’t work. But Kylesa did it to beautiful effect on ‘Spiral Shadow’, and Baroness do it here. ‘Back Where I Belong’ adds spiralling guitar tones and dream pop atmospheres. ‘Sea Lungs’ has a driving, insistent riff, and is pleasantly heavier than most of the disc. ‘Eula’ is the close of the ‘Yellow’ disc, a towering monument to what this disc is all about; beauty captured in intricate guitar melodies, dreamy atmospherics and a transcendant feeling.

Much of this has moved beyond metal into rock territory, but it doesn’t matter. Baroness are not a genre band, they are a music band. A band where songwriting is paramount. ‘Yellow’ is a collection of heartfelt songs, and we are all better for hearing it. Coming up soon, disc 2 review, ‘Green’.

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