THE BAND: John Dyer Baizley (vocals, guitars), Brian Blickle (guitars), Summer Welch (bass), Allen Blickle (drums & percussion). Origin – Savannah, GA.
THE DISC: (2007) 11 tracks clocking in at approximately 56 minutes… however the last untitled track is 11 minutes of silence followed by a 60 second garage jam. So in reality, there are 10 tracks coming in at 44 minutes. Included with the disc is a 6-page booklet containing song titles/credits, musicians, and thank you’s. Album cover artwork by front man John Dyer Baizley. Recorded at The Jam Room in Columbia, SC. Label – Relapse Records.
COMMENTS: A new album with an old familiar sound… like those garage days are being revisited. Heavy guitars and a loud bass dominate the melodies. The rumbling is raw and stripped down – no keyboards and sound effects. I’ve had this album for several weeks now and I can’t help but hear elements of early BTO, Black Sabbath, Kyuss, Fireball Ministry, Isis, Black Stone Cherry, and Mastodon (though not as progressive and not as much vocal growling). Hard rock (borderline metal) with a southern rock flare. I’d also swear I heard some of Molly Hatchet’s triple axe rhythm guitar licks too. First and foremost – the band likes to jam. The intros to the songs are long – sometimes 2 or 3 minutes before the vocals enter. There are 4 instrumentals on this “Red Album” – the beautifully acoustic “Cockroach En Fleur”, the trippy “Aleph”, “Teeth Of A Cogwheel” (with an intro reminiscent of Steve Miller’s “Swingtown”), and the slow chugging “Grad”. What first hooked me into the album was the opener “Rays On The Pinion” – a cool intro – nice rocking jam that gets heavier as the song progresses. Another highlight is “Isak” – some heavy bass along with some great drumming and hi-hat work. After many spins though, my favorite track here is “Wailing Wintry Wind”, with its long 4 minute long psychedelic intro and great rhythm guitars and drums. As much as I like the music, there are a few flaws that I keep coming back to: Baizley’s vocals – reminded me of a young CF Turner (BTO) or even Paul Di’Anno (Iron Maiden) – raw, gruff, throaty… and extremely limited in range; all the vocals arrangements sounded the same or even interchangeable. The lyrics – call it deep or esoteric; call it emotional and poetic; call it whatever you want – I simply can’t get into the lyrics enough to find myself singing along. The untitled bonus (track 11) is a waste. In the end, I’ve found that I bought this album for the music (and simply tolerate the vocals). And, no… it’s not a chick band (the name “Baroness” usually refering to a wife/widow of a Baron). Overall this is a solid release. The “Red Album” is a welcomed change of pace in the world of hard rock albums being released after the millennium – even if it is a throwback of sorts (4 stars).