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Baroness - Yellow And Green Award winner

Baroness
Yellow And Green
by Vasilis Odontidis at 29 November 2012, 7:34 PM

This album was released in mid July 2012. Somewhere around September that I bumped into it and I saw that we didn’t review the new BARONESS album here in Metal Temple  I said to our chief editor that I should do a review of it no matter the delay. But I delayed it even more and here we are in the end of November and I will eventually do justice to it.  So, here we are with the third full length album titled “Yellow And Green” of BARONESS, and indeed it is a double one! I have covered this year albums from bands (ANATHEMA, ULVER, SEMEN OF THE SUN) that were metal but they have evolved and changed their direction towards more rock and progressive forms and this record is no exception. But as we are here open minded people and I consider these bands to be metal in their essence those reviews won’t seize to exist.

What really dragged me to BARONESS in the first place was not their music but the record artwork. Obviously the cover artwork is the first thing that will captivate an unsuspected victim and John Baisley’s (who also sings, plays guitar etc) artwork in all the albums is nothing less than stunning. This guy’s talent is extraordinary and we should cover a whole article at some point about his work as an artist.

Both records run between 35 and 40 minutes and also both of them start with a small instrumental theme that opens the record. On the “Yellow” record that comes first, “Take my Bones Away” and “March to the Sea” are heavy rockers and thought they might give some hints for the rest of the record the next songs are mostly representative showing the post-rock progressive style that depicts the evolution of BARONESS. What someone can say about the groove of “Little Things”, the melancholy of “Twinkler”, the CAMEL psychedelic found in the stunning “Cocanium” or the majestic “Eula” that closes this journey into yellow?

“Green”record’s music direction is different than “Yellow” (if it was the same probably it wouldn’t be needed to have two records but anyway). The heavy parts are totally gone here and instead the band is fully drowned into post rock having a vintage, nostalgic sound. “Board Up The House” is probably the most hardest song of the green side and its bass lines are so addictive. “Mtns.(The Crown & Anchor)” is taking it slow going totally in 70s - 80s direction and so does “Foolsong” having very slow speeds and utilizing a lot of effects in the instruments. “Collapse”, “Psalms Alive” are following the same music direction while “Stretchmarker” is an instrumental song that leads to the second heavy rock song of this side “The Line Between” and the record fades away with the instrumental song “If I Forget Thee, Lowcountry”.

BARONESS with this record explore new uncharted territories in their music journey, going towards textures and soundscapes that would be mainly identified as the sound of 70s or 80s (concerning rock) but cleverly merging it with elements from the 90s grudge or even more modern stuff. The band is taking it slow this time allowing their music to flow slowly but steadily and giving the record space to breathe. In “Yellow and Green” the band focuses on dynamics rather than raw power to achieve its purpose. From the first time I heard this band it reminded me of MASTODON and I guess that it is connected both to their music and the sea inspired lyrics. However the lyrics here not only deal with the sea, but with drugs, struggles, hallucinations and there is everywhere a melancholy and the need to escape from everything. The compositions are simple yet they are dressed in proper textures and give a distinct taste of melancholy and loneliness. For second record in a row the production of John Congleton is essential to the sound of the band.

Records like these that deviate from the original sound of the band usually cause lots of troubles between the fans. Take for example OPETH with “Heritage”. The most complaints are because they turned down the growling vocals and gone all the way into this progressive rock thing. Personally though, I detest this record not because they did this, since I love “Damnation”, but because they tried to switch to progressive rock and it just failed musically in epic proportions. So my point is that a band has to have this kind of “touch” to get into other things. BARONESS,successfully in my opinion, managed to do this, producing a very different yet interesting record. I believe it is worth listening to it and I am sure it would appeal to a wider range of audience but no matter what this is a release that it deserves to get some attention. There is one big question left in my head now that this is over. How is the next one going to be like?

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Yellow
1. Yellow Theme
2. Take My Bones Away
3. March to the Sea
4. Little Things
5. Twinkler
6. Cocainium
7. Back Where I Belong
8. Sea Lungs
9. Eula

Green
1. Green Theme
2. Board Up the House
3. Mtns. (The Crown & Anchor)
4. Foolsong
5. Collapse
6. Psalms Alive
7. Stretchmarker
8. The Line Between
9. I f I Forget Thee, Lowcountry
Lineup:
Allen Blickle- Drums, Percussion, Keyboards
Peter Adams- Guitars, Vocals
John Baizley- Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards
Record Label: Relapse Records
     


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