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Baroness - Yellow & Green (Cover Artwork)

Baroness

Baroness: Yellow & GreenYellow & Green (2012)
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Reviewer Rating: 4.5
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Contributed by: thepopeofchili-townthepopeofchili-town
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Baroness have always occupied a unique space in the Savannah, Ga. metal scene, falling somewhere between the technical prowess and commercial appeal of Mastodon, and the more experimental, psychedelic nature of Kylesa, until now. With Yellow & Green, their third full-length and first double album, t.


Baroness have always occupied a unique space in the Savannah, Ga. metal scene, falling somewhere between the technical prowess and commercial appeal of Mastodon, and the more experimental, psychedelic nature of Kylesa, until now. With Yellow & Green, their third full-length and first double album, the group have completely reinvented themselves, delivering their strongest material yet and in the process, stealing the crown from both those groups.

2009's Blue Record proved that Baroness had big ideas, and their 2012 cover of Descendents' "Bikeage" showed that they were willing to think outside the box and go places well outside the confines of their sludge metal beginnings, but those experiments only hinted at what was to come. There is such a vast array of styles and influences present on Yellow & Green that one wouldn't expect to hear from a band such as this, from the aggressively danceable post-punk of "Little Things" to the Radiohead circa-Kid A atmospherics of "Psalms Alive", and they pull off all of it with flying colors.

The fact that Yellow & Green is split into sections, and the huge cornucopia of styles on display call to mind Thrice's ambitious Alchemy Index project. The comparisons to that recently disbanded Irvine, Calif. group don't end there, however: The first two tracks released to public from Yellow & Green, "Take My Bones Away" and "March to the Sea" would fit right in on The Artist in the Ambulance and Vheissu, respectively. These are also the two most aggressive tracks on the LP. Baroness in 2012 cannot be accurately labeled as a metal band, as the Megadeth-influenced riffing in the chorus of Yellow's otherwise psychedelic "Cocainium" and the intro to "The Line Between" are the only traces of the band's abrasive early work to be found on Yellow & Green.

Of the two sections, Green is the more laid back, and focuses more on instrumental sections, such as the stunning, mostly acoustic "Stretchmarker" and post-rock leaning album closer "If I Forget Thee, Lowcountry" than Yellow, which prominently displays vocalist John Baizley's newfound clean singing skills.

As always, Baizley contributes gorgeous album art that cannot be fully appreciated in a one-inch jpeg on an iPod. It shows how much attention to detail the band put into every aspect of their work and emphasizes the importance of albums as a complete package. The best way to experience a Baroness album is on vinyl, poring over the album art and taking it all in.

If there's one aspect of Yellow & Green where fault can be found, it's that the lyrics aren't quite up to snuff with what the rest of the band is doing. Lines like "You lied about everything, you greasy little thing" from Yellow highlight "Little Things" don't do the jaw-dropping instrumental work justice. It's not exactly cringe-worthy, but it does make the album less perfect than it would be otherwise.

It's always great to see an established artist taking risks with their sound, and it's even better when those risks actually pay off. In that sense, this total reinvention of Baroness' sound can almost be seen as on par with radical left turns like Kid A, Achtung Baby or Metallica's Black album. The group has at once become both more experimental and more accessible. They've created an album that towers over anything their peers in the Savannah scene have done, and while they may lose some fans as a result, they'll surely stand to gain a lot more.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
hobbzoid (July 19, 2012)

it's sooo boring.

preston (July 19, 2012)

A lot of moments on here are like some sort of AM Gold version of metal. Other moments remind me of latter-day Metallica. Overall, I like it, but I think it's a lot sleepier than I would like.

88fingerstonypart3 (July 18, 2012)

Easily the best record that has come out this year.

skeetopunk01 (July 18, 2012)

This is a fantastic record. One of the best this year.

pleasantbullet (July 18, 2012)

Great, and their best to date.

SilentStorms (July 18, 2012)

Opinions can be funny.

EchosMyron (July 17, 2012)

"mediocre Neurosis style"

LOL.

AlmostPunkEnough (July 17, 2012)

i've listened to this over 20 times now and i'm pretty sure it's their best work. possibly the third best album of 2012 so far.

SilentStorms (July 17, 2012)

Take is easy eazyd2.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, everything I've heard after III was boring. I'll check this out though, as it sounds like they're trying something new. The vocal change from great screaming to mediocre Neurosis style was a major put-off for me.

wallofyouth (July 17, 2012)

first listen was disappointing and not because of the lack of metal, but i'll try again. it just seemed flat -- emotionally, vocally, productionally

sleepwalker (July 17, 2012)

Enjoying the album art more than the music right now. Will listen again. But come on: there is a giant shrimp on the cover! So, so rad...

EchosMyron (July 17, 2012)

Not sure how I feel about this one yet. I don`t care about the lack of metal songs, but the production isn`t very energetic.

overdefined (July 17, 2012)

Love this record. I've been listening to the NPR stream everyday.

eazyd2 (July 17, 2012)

you forgot to mention that baroness is your favourite band you fucking poser fan boy

MN_DrNick (July 17, 2012)

Great, but not their best.

bryne (July 17, 2012)

It's pretty great!

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