Baroness - First & Second (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


First & Second (2008)


Hyperrealist has put together a beautiful and cohesive package that conveniently pairs Baroness' first two blistering EPs into one handy release. The covers of both EPs are replicated on respective sides of the outside package, and both sides are also embossed with a red foil stamp. With a slipcase over that. And full liner notes. Not too shabby.

First was, well, their first EP. The 2004 release featured three snarling, heavy tracks that are more raw and claustrophobic than what would materialize on the 2007 full-length, Red Album. "Tower Falls" begins with smoldering axes and the band's cataclysmically sludgy vocals before temporarily diving into some crusty tempos that sporadically come up and then leave. Still, cleaner riffs manage to poke through intermittently. "Coeur" is a quicker, head-banging cut with plenty of reasons to bust out the air guitar.

The other three come from the following year's Second, where the throbbing, relentless "Red Sky" practically refuses to let up. John Baizley sounds like a dying bear ("We've been here for days / Stuck on shipless sea / We've got nothing left"). Finally at about 3:40, some lighter fare comes into break up the song's generally brute force. "Son of Sun" and "Vision" both span over seven minutes apiece, with the latter getting in some wandering, unique guitar textures that hadn't been as prevalent elsewhere on this release.

Definitely worthwhile for Baroness fans who found 'em through Red or even the split that came out just before it.

Rise [First]
Vision [Second]