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The Red Album

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(22 Reviews)

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Savannah, Georgia’s BARONESS blow the lid off their cauldron of hall of fame riffs on their first record for Relapse and debut full-length titled Red Album. With a sound built upon a resolute sense of purpose and shaped by hundreds of explosive live shows, BARONESS position themselves at the forefront of heavy music with an epic album that is at once powerful, expressive, confident, and commanding. Red Album sees the band expand its sonic vision; colossal riffs and haunting vocals roll like thunder across epic songs spanning both the intense and the sublime. As the Red Album proves, BARONESS’ formidable reputation proceeds them for a reason.

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  • I didn’t know I was a fan of “Sludge” metal, but this is great music. Not very heavy, and atmospheric at times, this album reminds me of Neurosis and Mastodon. Great production, refreshingly original song writing, and superb musicianship makes this album worth the money.

    Posted on November 13, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This record delivers. It reminds me of a more basic, bluesier version of the earlier Mastodon stuff. Not as technical, but nicely layered. Lots of the same arpeggiated guitar intros, plenty of instrumentals, ambient interludes. Vox sound kind of like Hot Water Music or Fugazi with a metal edge. If you’re into the more rock-oriented stuff on Relapse, this record won’t disappoint.

    Posted on November 12, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This album is HEAVY, DENSE and PROFOUND, yet still has the light, airy and calming passages of its less “metal” prog/rock predecessors. I have only begun to listen to “metal” in the last year or so and was mainly a fan of older music and had given up (quite literally) on finding any REAL new music. I must say that coming from a place where Rush is my favorite band and Mastodon was the first metal group I really got into, Baroness is an almost terrible band to jump to….because every band discovered after them simply can’t stack up. This album is timeless. The guitars are heavy (almost bludgeoning in sound) due in part to Baroness’ use of C standard+Drop D tuning(!) [lowwwww]yet accessible due to their melody. Time signatures change much as they do in Rush songs (i.e. they suit the song and don’t just sound like The Musical Olympics…I’m looking at you John Petrucci) and there are nice clean-toned sections as well (it takes about 2-3 minutes for Rays on Pinion to get heavy; Cockroach En Fleur is acoustic; Wailing Wintry Wind is a beautiful song with ridiculously clever arpeggios and harmonies). Between sweet sparkling clean tones, thundering drop-tuned riffs, dynamic guitar harmonies and rhythmic changes akin to Rush and Yes, this album starts and doesn’t let up until the seemingly out-of-place country twang that is the ‘Hidden Track’ at the very end of the album (11 min. or so into the last track). Fans of prog, metal, and fundamentally good guitar music will listen to this front to back…no fast forwarding or track skipping necessary. Bands leading the way for a “new”, more cerebral, less pretentious metal/prog scene include Mastodon, Baroness, Kylesa, Isis, High on Fire, Torche, Intronaut and the many more that have revived my faith in 21st century music.

    Posted on November 12, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • 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).

    Posted on November 12, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This is a message to the whole world: go get this album asap! All I can say is Baroness have created a new brand of metal! I’m not pulling your hair; the music contained herein sounds fresh and unique. Paradoxically, their influences do shine clearly and can even blind you sometimes. I would say this guys listen to older stuff, not all those bands they get compared to on the horrid sticker Relapse usually sticks on their cd boxes. I mean, yeah, maybe Mastodon, High on Fire and Isis- I don’t really care: it’s just an advertising strategy to call young kids’ attention… Don’t know how old these guys are, but if you asked me, I would compare them to excellent and timeless rock bands such as Thin Lizzy, Wishbone Ash, Maiden, Rush,Kyuss, a bit of K. Crimson, probably Sabbath, Helmet, Fugazi, and the Melvins!! Now, if you want newer stuff, I’d say Kylesa, Zebulon Pyke and Don Caballero (the album was produced by Kylesa’s Philip Cope, and though loud and heavy, the sound’s crystal clear, which can only help Baroness’ melodic yet powerful and enticing sound)… This year has seen lots of great underground stuff released: The Hidden Hand, Mammatus, Tragedy, etc. But these guys have released an album that made me feel twenty years younger, when I wasn’t old and jaded; I mean,I remember when I was 15 and excited about a new DRI, Voivod, COC or Celtic Frost album! Same exact feeling: as if I were part of a beautiful, reddish dawn. Something that calls forth paradoxical images of hope, longing, nostalgia, adventure and non-pathological solitude! Yes, indeed. I’m in a poetic mood thanks to this awesome music. In fact, I’m not even going to single out stand-out tracks, no sir! They’re all great, from start to finish… Be forwarned, though: there’s a different approach here, and those who are familiar with Baroness’ earlier output will have to be prepared for a slight shock: the vocals are not crust-like anymore; in fact, they sound as if Ian Mackaye had morphed into Gene Simmons!Come to think of it, that spells King Buzzo territory in my book! Not a bad thing, but it takes time getting used to…Plus, the fast stuff, the hardcore riffs and speed are gone. That I don’t like, but, really,Baroness have created an album that nowadays would be impossible to even imagine: something more akin to another era, or maybe another planet… ‘Nuff said! Greetings from Mexico!

    Posted on November 12, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now