A horrible hack

Baroness

Blue

Year Released: 2009
Format: CD
Label: Relapse
 
Reviewed by Joe Callaghan on Nov 16, 2009
Holy crap! This is quite the progression, from starting out as some crusty hardcore punk with the occasional Thin Lizzy riff, to this. The Red Album came across a little weak. Everything about it that should have sounded big sounded a little soft, and in all it was nothing more than a poorly executed Mastodon homage. Blue is Baroness having found their feet. Blue is what Red could and should have been, but for me, it has acted as nothing more than a learning curve, and Blue is Baroness punching in their own weight. Boxing puns are great. The guitars – which sound like there are about 20 of them, being multi-tracked simultaneously through amps the size of the moon – sound absolutely massive. Boatloads of vintage fuzz make every riff sound so authentic, whilst the modern production drags the premise kicking and screaming into the present. Every lick and shred is blissfully harmonised, like grooving, galloping metal riffs should be, and whilst Baroness lay on the punishing riffs thick and fast, melody is obviously a massive part of Baroness’ agenda, and as a result this is as fist pump-able as it head bang-able. I don’t think they are real words… Vocals appear to have been phased out a little, in favour of a relentless onslaught of time and key changes, yet when vocals are utilised; gigantic choruses are the result, with everyone getting involved, but not in a Bohemian Rhapsody kind of way. Rather than dilute themselves with a limited palette, Baroness seize the influence from all the right places to avoid the end result being an over-bearing carbon copy. The galloping relentless major key melody of power metal is boasted throughout, but it borrows as much from Black Sabbath as it does from Discharge, creating a hybrid of noise that could happily sit on either the Punk Rock or Heavy Metal side of the fence and not look out of place. The progression of this record is what is most inspiring. I heard the Red Album after I saw them live, and it just sounded so watered down in hindsight, with their earlier efforts striking quite a chord, even though they sound nothing like those early EP’s anymore. The Red Album opened the door, but The Blue Album walked through it whilst kicking it off its hinges. Everything Baroness did so well has been multiplied by a thousand. Compositional aptitude has overtaken the need for vocals ever so slightly, which indicates that Baroness just want to slay!! And rightly so. Vocals are the easiest target for blame in this field. You can either grunt like Corrupted, or croon like Big Business. A mix of the two doesn’t hurt Baroness however, but regardless of a few colossal choruses, the main focal point is the thunderous riffs, which surely won’t disappoint anyone.
Recommended record by Collective Zine!

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