Thursday, 23 August 2012


Stunningly perfect progressive metal from Georgia's finest. 

n.b. I actually wrote this a month ago, when the album came out.  Yet for some reason, it has sat, with several others, as a draft for that month, unpublished, gathering internet dust. Until now...mwuhahaha. Ahem. On with the review, with those other half-finished ones on their way in coming days, including The Gaslight Anthem,'s Handwritten and Frank Ocean's Channel Orange. I don't just do rock.

The latest offering from heavy rock/metal quartet Baroness - or rather, offerings, as it is a double album - is a quite simply beautiful slice of music. Combining swirling melodies, stellar riffage from the more sludgy side of metal with psychedelic effects-laden oddity and strong vocals married to great lyricism, Yellow & Green  rhythmically flows from stonking song to stonking song. As it's a double album, I'll review Yellow and Green as two different entities. 

Tonally darker in comparison to Green, we're led into this first disc amid echoing tones into the riff-heavy lead single Take My Bones Away - a good, proper rocky song, with its anthemic chorus, fuzzed up solo and riffage ahoy. That in turn flows into the more sombre sound of March To The Sea, which in many ways is a pattern that Yellow follows - sombre melodies into  more classic-sounding rocky affairs, all with a dark undercurrent running through it.  And underlying all of that is a style that Baroness have made their own, a uniqueness in their sound. From usage of unusual and varying time signatures that contribute to the changing flow of the record, echoing guitars, punchy and prominent bass - each element of the music is given its own time to shine. The song Twinkler, my favourite from Yellow, is carried by a brooding acoustic melody and what sounds like a baroque-esque flute - case and point of the distinctive sound Baroness possess.  

Like Yellow, we begin with an instrumental intro track, but the Green Theme works on a different wavelength. It still has the echoing guitar, but bursts into a triumphant cacophony of an almost Queen-like solo, ebbs a little, then bursts back into life once again. It sets the tone for Green, with less of the inherent brood of the first disc and more lilting harmonies - not to say there aren't hints of that, but the overall tone compared with disc 1 is brighter - these hints come in the forms of things like darker lyricism to a more upbeat song (always a trickier combination, but it works well)  in tracks like Psalms Alive and Collapse, but songs like Board Up The House and Mtns. (The Crown & Anchor)  have the greater sense of positivity. There's more riffage, the best in the album, from The Line Inbetween, and instrumental tracks to be had in Green as well; Stretchmarker and closing track If I Forget Thee, Lowcountry provide echoey, resonating semi-acousticness that are quite lovely. The latter in particular is a frankly beautiful close, bringing the tempo right down, with just the faintest suggestion of Yellow to tie the two together as it finishes. 

All in all, I think this is a perfect album. It's incredibly well-formed - rather than just a collection of songs, each song carries on from its predecessor. I hate to repeat myself, but it really does flow. There are some excellent songs there; Back Where I Belong, Eula and Psalms Alive are just 3 but in reality they're all superb. Don't be put off by the tag of metal, because this transcends a lot of genres in establishing Baroness as a brilliant band with a sound that is distinctly them. It's too early to say now, but this may be my album of the year.

Tom Castle, Copyright THE NOISE August 2012

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tom, this is James from Independent Music Promotions. I'd love to send a few artists for review consideration. Feel free to contact me at if interested. Thanks!