Baroness - Green (2012)


There is something in the artwork, something in the style that always let's you know that a new Baroness album has landed. With the release of "Yellow & Green," Georgia's four piece outfit have given us all a reason to widen our horizons in metal, and in life. As Justin pointed out in his breakdown of the first disc, "Yellow," this isn't the blisteringly heavy metal album he was expecting. And as we continue on into the second disc, "Green," there is little doubt remaining. These guys aren't just a juggernaut of riffs and yelling vocals. They have become so much more.

With a whining distortion in the background, soft, clean riffs open "Green Theme." They are joined soon by a light tapping of drums, and a smooth bass line. But the impending explosion wastes no time, with a full blast of snares and cymbals coating a grooving guitar riff. What results is a massive sound, one that seems so much larger than the sum of its parts.Even cutting back and forth between the punch and the subtle, the wheels are already in motion, which helps to flow seamlessly into "Board Up The House." Once again building from silence, there is a much quicker turnaround at play here, diving right into the main body of the track. It may be hard to feel the initial impact of the vocal line, one that seems to be equal parts soulful and mesmerizing, but it will come as the track progresses. This may not be their heaviest work, or even close, but there is something to the way it is all delivered, something to the tone of not only the vocals, but the guitar work underneath it, that makes it bury itself so deep in your skull.

To say that the opening moments of "MTNS (The Crown & Anchor)" has a feel that could be classified as "indie" may seem worthy of a lynching, but the tone is there, with deeper melodies taking center stage. This is a more focused Baroness, a band that is showing off how rich their music can be. Whether it be the clean guitar riffs, or the constant sizzle of cymbals throughout, you may find something entrenched here that you didn't expect. That same foundation is used to form "Foolsong," which sees the dueling vocals each taking a very soulful approach. There is an emotional investment to be made here, both from band and fan standpoint, something that is often asked for but never required. But in this three minute track, you have to give a piece of yourself to really enjoy it, something so worth the pain. If you are looking for something am little more intricate, "Collapse" may hold the key for you. From the subtle drum touches, to the light picking of an acoustic guitar, there are so many small layers to digest, all beneath a sullen vocal. Even the sparse use of electronic effects can't derail the arc of the track.

There is something overtly positive in the sound of "Psalms Alive," something you might not have been completely prepared for. With an electric piano accompaniment, you seem to be slipping in and out of consciousness, into some dream world of dream-pop beats and hoarse vocal melodies. But for the first time since the disc opened, you are rewarded with a backdraft of distorted guitars and heavy snare rolls. Two voices combine into one harmony, pounded home by two guitars melding into one singular wave of fluttering riffs. As if taken straight from a driving scene in your favorite drama, "Stretchmarker" bends and winds into action. multiple acoustic guitars tangle up inside one another, with a softly played drum beat backing it all up. There are no vocals, and rightfully so. The guitars do the job here, telling a story with each pick or slide.

The longest track on the album, barely topping the five minute mark, "The Line Between," is a different sort of animal from the rest. This is the raucous affair you may have expected from the onset. Immense guitars riffs and pounding drums open the track,blasting through your speakers with the aid of a deep bass line. As the vocals in the verse kick in, there will be comparisons to the Foo Fighters. The multitude of different guitar sounds and structures keep things moving and fresh, while also providing you with fodder for the shower singing sessions you have planned for later. This may be the most complete track, depending on your point of view. The closing track, "If I Forget Thee, Lowcountry," is predictable in the best possible way. After the album you have just be treated to, it would only make sense to finish things off with a soft, acoustic based track. The effects are ethereal, as if you are floating in the air, surrounded by notes.

Standing alone, "Green" is an album that would warrant all the praise you could possibly heap on it. This is unique in so many ways, without being pretentious or preachy. Instead, Baroness have taken a step out of the pigeonhole they get shoved into by the mass media, and given us all something unexpected and delicate. Combined with the first disc, "Yellow," this becomes a sprawling soundscape of riffs, melodies, and well crafted songs. In a day and age where releasing one album of new, fresh material has become a chore for lesser bands, Baroness give you two full albums worth of inspired tracks. Now that, my friends, is a bargain.

9/10

Official Site - http://www.baronessmusic.com/
Myspace - http://www.myspace.com/yourbaroness