Baroness – Yellow and Green (Relapse; 2012)
By Matthew Law:“An impressive album”
The previous two releases by Baroness were somewhat disappointing (Red Album and Blue Record). There were signs of great rock potential, but the majority of their music relied too heavily on a monotonous, cacophonous sound. Their music only seemed to satisfy fans of doom or sludge metal, people who only get their kicks from a drone of a guitar and a Tankian-esque death growl over three or more minutes.
This was a problem for the Georgia four-piece. Despite also dabbling with a relaxed, stoner-rock sound, they were branded too broadly with the heavy-metal brush.
Perhaps as a consequence of this, with Yellow and Green, Baroness have replaced the heavy and gloomy tone of their previous releases with a more alternative-rock feel. Their new sound is closer to a mix between Biffy Clyro and 30 Seconds to Mars. Fans of their previous work though will still be satisfied with hard-rock songs like “Take My Bones Away” and “March to the Sea“.
Yet, it is songs such as “Cocainium“, “Psalms Alive“, and “Eula” that make Yellow and Green such a treat to the ears. While less aggressive, the intricate technique of Baroness’ instrumental sections – combined with Baizley’s eerie vocal range – still creates a powerful and meaningful sound.
When Baroness’ released their debut, Red Album, in 2007, the album art was a reminder of the artistic, physical presence that CD’s and LP’s have, which on-line only releases lacks – Blue Record had the same effect. Their album covers are designed by lead singer John Baizley, and they are legitimate works of art. There is an aquatic, mystical feel to them, with the first two album covers juxtaposing the aggressive quality of their music. In the case of Yellow and Green though, the album-art is as mystical, and for once indicative of, the album’s sound and wonderful lyrical content.
This is an impressive album.