Baroness has now become one of those rare bands that can be categorized in numerous genres. Showing tremendous growth from their previous progressive, sludge metal efforts – Blue Album and their very impressive Red Album debut – Yellow and Green offers plenty of stoner, metal, alternative, psychedelic, progressive, post/ambient, and straight-up balls-out rock. Interested? You should be.
Yellow and Green is a double album and continues with the color themes of albums past, including its instrumental openers – “Yellow Theme” then “Green Theme.” Including nine songs per side, Yellow and Green is a well-structured recording and though it contains appropriate finales for each respective side, it is not a conceptual creation and has scarce fillers that are often found on a double CD release. This album introduces vocalist John Baizley in a more prudent toned down approach that clearly displays personal maturation both lyrically and in sound. Modern metal bands should follow their lead, as actual singing is actually more gratifying, really, than growling indiscernible grunts.
Musically the grooves are all over the place, but the tracks feature a consistently interesting flow and it all manages to work. Going back to their debut producer John Congleton was a wise decision, as he helps make all the styles and intricate layers blend seamlessly underneath the skin of it all. The ending guitar riffs on “Little Things” is pure gold, as it streams eerily into the progressively acoustic “Twinkler,” with its choral vocals, bee sounds swirling, and an overall atmospheric sound that manages to blend decades of genres. “Cocainium” picks it back up in a post-rock ambient world that shifts impressively to trippy guitars, a perfectly building rhythm section, and eventually takes you for a directionless trip where only Baroness knows where they are going. “Take me down easy I can’t stand the sight or the smell. It’s getting harder and harder and harder and harder to tell.” Anthemic and superbly bracing.
The Green theme continues with “Board Up The House” that features more of a straight-up rock sound, but its ending agreeably levels up some great bass distortion similar to Radiohead’s “National Anthem.” The rest of the Green side is predominantly a chill-out listen that again displays the diverse maturity of the band, with standout tracks including “Collapse,” and the ambient outro “If I Forget Thee, Low Country.”
The refinement, diversity, and compositional quality on Yellow and Green, especially for a double album, is a welcoming pleasure and a gripping trip to experience. There’s not much like this out there. Baroness deserves a lot of praise for this record as it defines ground breaking in its own singular way. If there was such an award as “Most Improved Band,” Baroness’s Yellow and Green would win in spades. Cheers!
Baroness needs to maintain and expand on what they achieved with this recording, but hopefully they don’t go into the direction as displayed on “The Line Between,” which delves into territory that one can mistake for Nickelback (not quite a match, but don’t go there). Baroness should definitely work again with producer John Congleton and it might be time to move on from the color themes and break some new ground as they have with this recording.
Reviewer: Bill Pulice
IRC: Edla Lundgren
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