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Blue Record

Baroness

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Album Review

Georgia-based psychedelic rock band (calling them a metal act seems very reductive, though there's some seriously headbangable material on this disc) Baroness has made a subtle but unmistakable evolutionary leap on this, their second full-length and a clear companion piece to 2007's Red Album. It's hard to say exactly what new guitarist Pete Adams has brought to the band after replacing drummer Allen Blickle's brother Brian, but the band's established blend of Southern sludge riffs, druggy instrumental journeys, and melodic interstitial interludes, all propelled by a particularly thudding drum sound and held together by John Baizley's hoarse but clean vocals and gorgeous cover art, are even stronger now than before. The transition from the almost Moody Blues-like "Steel That Sleeps the Eye" into the crunching hard rock epic "Swollen and Halo" is just one example of Baroness' seamless melding of moods through technique and compositional acumen. There are numerous interludes on the disc — basically, any track shorter than four minutes is an exploration of a riff followed by a dissolve into sound effects or keyboard swooshes, slowly dissolving into the next actual song. "Ogeechee Hymnal," for example, offers one of the album's heaviest riffs, but it's a mere appetizer before "A Horse Called Golgotha," a suitably galloping prog-metal epic that effectively conquers Mastodon's territory, and includes some astonishing guitar leads. This is a ferocious album that's not afraid to be genuinely beautiful. One of the best hard rock releases of 2009. [There's also a two-disc deluxe edition that pairs the album with a live set recorded in 2008.]

Customer Reviews

Could be BETTER than Crack the Skye

To the guy who said this band sounds too much like Mastodon, you're just not listening. Baroness is bringing some Mastodon to the party, sure, but they're mixing in some Torche, throwing in a little Fugazi, maybe even some King Crimson. They're HUGE. This record is probably my record of the year - and I just got it Tuesday - it's a stunner. Super badass.

Baroness: raising the bar for metalheads worldwide

Throughout the past 6 years, Baroness have been clawing their way out of the mucky residue left by nu-metal and its ilk. Having been a staunch fan from my first live show of theirs --Buffalo shout-out!-- I have yet to be disappointed with their creativity. The Red Album was a giant step for the foursome (then including Brian Blickle) which set them apart from their contemporaries as a quickly-growing monster of bone-crushing hardcore interlaced with orchestrations that could make angels weep.
That said, when The Blue Record went online last week via MySpace I could have been considered the happiest man alive. Starting with the Bullhead's Psalm and finishing with its Lament, Baroness continue to deliver their unique sound and throw in a penchance for continuity that was only hinted at on their previous LP. With Steel that Sleeps the Eye and Swollen and Halo, a bewitching interlude manifests itself and listeners find themselves utterly lost and floating in the musical flow.
Named as Decibel Magazine's frontrunner for album of the year, The Blue Record has certainly earned that honorable distinction. Although 12 tracks long, you'll find afterwards that it just wasn't enough. If you're discovering Baroness for the first time, you have a back-catalog of music that is just as engrossing and only a couple of dollars away. More importantly, the band will probably be coming to your area in the next few months (an Australian tour to follow!) and you would be a fool not to take the opportunity to see them.

Bottom line: you won't regret your purchase and if you're out at the show, I'll see you there!

Best album of 2009...?

...Possibly. My jaw's on the floor as I write this! Trust me, you need this album!

Biography

Formed: 2003 in Savannah, GA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Baroness play an eclectic brand of heavy metal, embracing the ferocity and sharp technique of new-millennium metal but with melodic accents and intelligent guitar work that suggest the influence of indie rock and post-punk bands. The four members of Baroness — John Baizley on guitar and vocals, Brian Blickle on guitar, Summer Welch on bass, and Allen Blickle on drums — are all originally from Lexington, Virginia, but they pulled up stakes and relocated to Savannah, Georgia, when they...
Full Bio
Blue Record, Baroness
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