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Baroness - Blue Record (Cover Artwork)

Baroness

Baroness: Blue RecordBlue Record (2009)
Relapse Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: JeloneJelone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Surely, future generations will speak of Savannah, Ga. in the same breath as Seattle, Wash. or Athens, Ga. Its nascent metal scene has given rise to several bands that transcend scene politics. The biggest so far is probably Mastodon, from nearby Atlanta, who earned hipster approval outside of metal.
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Surely, future generations will speak of Savannah, Ga. in the same breath as Seattle, Wash. or Athens, Ga. Its nascent metal scene has given rise to several bands that transcend scene politics. The biggest so far is probably Mastodon, from nearby Atlanta, who earned hipster approval outside of metal circles. Indeed, Georgia has been turning out metal bands that defy metal expectations at a rapid clip. Take, for example, last year's releases Static Tensions by Kylesa and Blue Record by Baroness.

Both bands deal in sludgy, heavy, awesome tunes. It's certainly technical, but not to the point of exclusion. When Pat Mathis joked to Spin's David Peisner about "...that whole heavy, doomy Southern kind of metal. When you get these old punk guys who listen to the Allman Brothers and start a metal band, that's kind of what you get," he was pretty accurate.

Baroness deals in sludgy riffs, but they're willing to get expansive, often jamming out songs without sacrificing energy. They have a gritty appeal, but they're not afraid to explore guitar solos or the occasional haunting, acoustic part. Blue Record, the followup to 2007's even more awesome Red Album and perhaps a nod to the Beatles' singles collections from the '70s, even takes breaks from rocking to explore feedback and ethereal, Alice in Chains-style melodies. Mastodon gets a lot of credit for being a metal band non-metalheads can appreciate. The same could be said of Baroness.

The band's song lengths aren't distractingly epic -- "Swollen Halo" is the only song to exceed five-and-a-half minutes -- which should appeal to, say, punk fans. Sure, the record is heavy, but it's also easy to follow. After the delayed intro of "Bullhead's Psalm," the record shifts into turbo with "The Sweetest Curse," a track that announces its metal intentions without losing melody or focus. Over crushing riffs, John Dyer Baizley and Pete Adams bark out impressionistic lyrics and generally kick ass. They're a little less technical or hardcore than Mastodon, but these guys deserve to be appointed Next Indie-Approved Metal Band.

That said, Blue Record finds the band occasionally indulging in sounds that some folks might not be able to follow. Call them Metallica moments -- times when the group busts out acoustic interludes and chugging riffage akin to Master of Puppets. This is, of course, balanced out by songs like "O'er Hell and Hide," in which drummer Allen Blickle pounds out a rolling dance beat for most of the song, adding a bit of boogie to all the noodling. Blue Record is very much a crossover album, hinting at the better aspects of metal's roots while incorporating other genres to form something earthier and more fun.

Peisner's article mentions that the scene is starting to splinter as bands move away, but I can't blame them for doing so. Baroness and Kylesa both released stellar albums last year, and had I been on top of my shit, both would have wound up on my best of 2009 coverage. As is, though, I've found a great entry way into a musical scene that I intend to explore further.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundBaroness - The Red AlbumThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Gaslight Anthem - American SlangThe Clash - London CallingPropagandhi - Supporting CasteThe Flatliners - CavalcadeHot Water Music - ExisterBaroness - Yellow & GreenThe Gaslight Anthem - Handwritten

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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 (August 21, 2010)

this sucker is amazing.

theonetruebill (February 5, 2010)

Wow, this is holding steady at 4.5 stars from the readers. I underestimated you, Punknews people.

mikexdude (February 3, 2010)

This record is pretty great.

thirtyseconds (February 3, 2010)

Hmmm. Will check out. Cheers.

SilentStorms (February 3, 2010)

Ah shit, this is the score for the first three recordings. Damn new cool site design.

SilentStorms (February 3, 2010)

I still can't believe that their 1-4 (albums and an ep/split) are never mentioned. I think this stuff sucks compared to the old stuff. I wouldn't even download this for free. Score's for the first 3 recordings.

quicksandfan (February 3, 2010)

I absolutely love this album. Bought the Blue Record first, I fell in love with it and went back and bought the Red Album, which is also terrific. I went to see them live when the recently came through Philly and they put on an amazing show. They are now one of my favorite bands.

eazyd2 (February 3, 2010)

i also got in to this after hearing the song the gnashing that onetruebill posted. i fuckin hate mastodon and kyelsea but these guys are fuckin sick.

theproblemwithfire (February 3, 2010)

I felt compelled to comment because this album really is great. They also played it flawlessly live when on their most recent tour. What a memorable show. Probably my favorite/most listened to album of 2009 next to supporting caste...

ZachLeg (February 3, 2010)

i love this album. i saw a guy in walmart with a baroness shirt and i liked the artwork. i then proceeded to fall in love with this band. thank god for walmart

thepopeofchili-town (February 2, 2010)

So so so good. Third best metal record of last year after Crack The Skye and The Great Misdirect.

preston (February 2, 2010)

"i also grabbed 'city shock' cuz of you. seriously, your list kicked ass and i still want you to join my band that barely exists if you have a guitar and like beer... i think preston is in it too but he lives in new york. he's in the side project actually."

You slut!

This was one of my favs from last year. I think the Red Album has more playability for me though.

wallofyouth (February 2, 2010)

i also grabbed 'city shock' cuz of you. seriously, your list kicked ass and i still want you to join my band that barely exists if you have a guitar and like beer... i think preston is in it too but he lives in new york. he's in the side project actually.

theonetruebill (February 2, 2010)

Thank you, Wentz! I'm glad something good came of the list. This is the type of album where anyone who listens to "rock music" can find something to like. I saw them again back in November and the venue was packed immediately from the start of the show and they delivered an amazing 80 minute set (unfortunately no "Rays on Pinion" though) that basically cemented the fact that they're going to be rock stars very soon. Can't wait to see these guys take over the world.

Michael_Berryman (February 2, 2010)

i just picked this up this weekend and i love it. good review, too.

wallofyouth (February 2, 2010)

great music to shit to by the way

wallofyouth (February 2, 2010)

so so great, even the dumb parts rule. saw it recommended everywhere but didn't pull the trigger until theonetruebill's year-end list, which also ruled

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