Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Baroness - Red Album CD (album) cover

RED ALBUM

Baroness

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.73 | 104 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

FragileKings
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Baroness is described as a progressive metal band, an experimental/post metal band, and a sludge metal band depending on where you look. I found them while checking out sludge metal bands on Amazon. I had been kind of out of the metal scene in so far as new bands were concerned for a number of years and so I decided to see what was new out there. A lot of bands impressed me with their music but turned me off with their vocals. What ever happened to singing like Ronnie James Dio, Rob Halford, Bruce Dickenson, and Ian Gillan?

So, here was this band called Baroness with some pretty cool album covers (all designed by John Baizley (guitar/vocals) and I found that their approach to music rather appealed to me, at least after clicking on the 30-second track samples on Amazon. The vocals were still an issue for me; however, I decided that the music was good enough that I would order the CD. Actually, around this time I had decided not to be such a sourpuss about aggressive shouting vocals and roaring death growl vocals. I ordered Opeth's "Blackwater Park" and Mastodon's "Leviathan" at the same time in order to embrace a wider musical scope.

Off the bat, the thing that impressed me with "Red Album" was that it starts off more like a post rock album than anything else. There's a fairly long instrumental introduction that builds until it finally gets heavy and the vocals come in. I don't mind the shouting so much as long as I feel it suits the music. When the music is not so aggressive, I think the vocals should reflect that in most cases. I found however that the most aggressive vocal moments were too much for the music. Nevertheless, the song impressed me for its post rock/metal stylings. I hope the band will forgive me for mishearing "Rays on Pinion" as "Ray's Opinion".

Track one concludes and immediately "The Birthing" begins almost as if the two were one song split. The sound and style continue and I am still impressed, and accepting the vocals. However, when "Isak" flows out of "The Birthing" so that the first three tracks form a set, I begin to feel there's a certain sameness about the songs.

That doesn't last, though. "Wailing Wintery Wind" is over three minutes of post rock instrumental before the heavier tone sets in. My interest returns, and the album takes another turn with the acoustic instrumental "Cockroach en Fleur", showing us that Baroness are following in ancient metal traditions by showing us their classical side.

"Wanderlust" easily makes it a playlist selection with its creative composition, again playing different styles off each other. At times the vocals are actually starting to grow on me. I note that the guitars use different distortion sounds: one is heavy and gritty like on Pelican's "What We All Come to Need" and the other is scratchy and higher toned. The drumming is also a thing to mention as we often travel outside of 4/4 time and into a mixed bag of time measure changes and odd beats plus lots of fills.

"Aleph" keeps the pace and flow of the album but it's the instrumental "Teeth of a Cogwheel" that perks up my ears. It gets three consecutive plays on my way to work today. The sad thing is that it's so short. The first 24 seconds are the drum intro, then the main riff with regular percussion. Then comes the treat. Something that I can only describe as 70's rock rhythm/funk mixed with a complex tribal beat backs the riff. I am totally following the music here. Then we get a deliciously scratchy guitar solo, more impressive in sound than performance but very nicely done nonetheless. Another round of the riff while the drumming takes its former impressive path to another height. And that's it. The song concludes at 1:55 and the last 20 seconds are just delay pedal effects.

The final tracks of "O'Appalacia" and "Grad" also stand out though keep the style of the whole album. Except for the beginning of "Isak" I didn't feel that this album was repetitive or unoriginal. I still am not a fan of the vocals totally but musically these guys really know their stuff. Thankfully, there are two or three instrumentals and some of the songs feature more instrumental parts than sung ones.

I would give this album 5 stars for the music, but overall just four because of, well, the vocals. The shouting style suits the heavier approach of Mastodon more, in my opinion. An album worth checking out if you haven't heard of Baroness before. An excellent addition if this heavier, more raucous style is to your liking.

FragileKings | 4/5 |

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this BARONESS review

Social review comments () BETA







Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives