Baroness - Yellow & Green [Sludge / Alternative Rock]
Baroness is a Georgian sludge metal band that emerged in the sludge era with Mastodon and Kylesa in the early 2000s. After the innovative indie-metal of Red Album and the cohesive sludge of Blue Record, Baroness have been generous enough to serve a double album Yellow & Green, which goes very far off from their metal roots. There are no more screams, no more double pedals, no more hard jagged riffs. In its place are atonal but melodic vocals, soaring guitar riffs and alternative rock drum fills with poppy song structures and more personal themes and lyrics. This is not a metal album.
Production is fantastic, with a lot of heaviness and a very fuzzy, warm sound that highlight the heavy riffs and the sweet titillating melodies. Baroness is intelligent enough to keep the commercial traits that will definitely bring a lot of new fans to the genre. Primal sounding drums continue to pound their way through the music. The melodies are fantastic, the first single 'Take My Bones Away' is catchy beyond belief. The Yellow album is the heavier of the two with very catchy rock anthems with less adventurous experiments, but with enough excellent songwriting, like the use of strings in 'March To The Sea' as opposed to guitars, the epic change in tempo and style in 'Little Things'.
The Green album starts off with an excellent introduction. However, the songwriting here is less exciting, even when it is clear that the band is exploring their psychedelic side with many unorthodox song elements one would usually find in a Pink Floyd record.
A good way to put it would be that the new direction of Baroness is excellent, but the execution may still not be there. Moreover, fans of the band would recall how cohesive and tight the band's previous album Blue Record was, that album had virtually no filler and was full of surprising song variations (whilst there is a sense of drudging repetitiveness here). Still, this is a fantastic album and definitely one of the best to be released this year (and I have listened to more than 80 albums from this year alone, so I mean it when it is one of the best). Don't play this while you study or workout, grab some powerful headphones and put the album on whilst using the Internet or when chilling alone.
Rating: ★★★★☆ Good - Strong flow, immediately grabs you