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Baroness - Yellow & Green CD (album) cover

YELLOW & GREEN

Baroness

Experimental/Post Metal


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Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars "New musical direction" is perhaps the scariest combination of three words to fans of any band, but for my part Baroness' three year metamorphosis after the competent sludgefest Blue Record is a convincing and worthwhile experiment, though as time goes by it feels increasingly like it's suffering from the old disease of double albums - namely, that there's enough really compelling ideas here for a super-intense single album spread out thinly over two discs.

Sonically, it's strange amalgam of stoner metal and the heaviest end of psychedelia, with a few spacier moments - I detected at points passages reminiscent of an odd mashup of Meddle-era and Animals-era Pink Floyd, and elsewhere a few moments a lot like Popul Vuh - though the album is saved from becoming a nostalgia-fest by taking on musical influences from much more recent subgenres. On the Yellow disc in particular much of this ends up being a particular aesthetic achieved by the tuning, engineering and production - when you strip aside the surface aesthetic there's some pretty standard but fun hard rock songs underpinning all this.

There's a few crescendos here and there which are highly reminiscent of metalcore, some musical passages where I honestly couldn't tell whether I was listening to a guitar riff or an electronic pulse, and overall the album offers a dizzying combination of musical genres. When it works, it works pretty well - at other times, it feels like they're throwing lots of ideas at the wall and seeing which ones stick.

Report this review (#796801)
Posted Monday, July 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Baroness is a spacey, hard-edged metal act, who will invite obvious comparisons to Mastodon. A fair assessment, especially on Yellow & Green, a double album that really feels more like two albums in one.

The first half, Yellow, is a dark and gloomy affair. The heavy keyboard ambiance and the echo on the vocals contrasted with the crushing drums and screaming riffs, create a desolate effect that puts the listener in a distant place. "Eula" refines this formula, jumping from atmospheric to aggressive.

On Green, the ambiance is lessened, and the songs are much more forceful in their delivery. "Board Up the House", "Psalms Alive" and "The Line Between" have an unexpectedly amiable approach. Where Yellow brings you down, Green will pull you back up. There is a lot going on in Yellow & Green that you may not pick up from the first listen.

At less than 80 minutes, it's not long for a double album, but you can see why Yellow & Green were separated from each other. Each one has its own distinct sound, yet they somehow connect to balance out.

Report this review (#800863)
Posted Sunday, August 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Baroness are a band that I haven't really heard of, and this is my first experience with the band.

I'm not a massive fan of stoner rock/sludge and if I'm being honest, I like Mastodon, and that's about it. Now and then I like some songs by some stoner bands...depending on what mood I'm in, but I won't lie, it's not 100% my thing.

But...this album was receiving a lot of positive criticism and a lot of people where talking about and comparing it to the last Mastodon album...so I was a little intrigued. So having listened to the first single, and liking it, I thought...meh, might as well buy it. So I did..

Now overall...I did like a good bit of this album. I think the album is a little bit over hyped, and maybe the band in general, but maybe it's because it's not my thing. But because it's not my thing...and I actually rather enjoyed it...does show that the band have achieved something good...so if this is your thing you probably would love it.

The only problem with the album that probably would have made this album better for me would have been to make it more compact, get rid of some of the filler and just make one single album, instead of a 2 disc double album (even though you can easily fit all these songs on to a CD).

I do like the double album format, especially when deciding on which disc of the album I favour more. Now I think everyone will agree that the first disc is the best side of the album, and if it was just a single album, it might have been one of the albums of the year. But the second disc does really just sound like leftovers. I won't lie, there are some good moments, but it does sound like a collection of B sides...and it's why I think a single album with some songs left off would have made a better album.

Now this does sound a bit negative, but overall, even the filler isn't the worst. Grated there are about 2 songs that I find are completely useless, but the rest is still pretty great.

Musically the band have adapted a style which is better suited for songwriting, and has been toned down a bit from there previous material, making the album a lot more compact and listenable. The vocals I'm not the biggest fan of, but they are ok. I do love the use of vocal harmonies throughout the album.

YELLOW

1. Yellow Theme - A great intro to the album. Perks the atmosphere right up. 8/10

2. Take My Bones Away - The perfect single for the album. A very catchy song. At times it very reminds me of Thrice at times. 10/10

3. March To The Sea - A song about drug. Woopee. An interesting song with a pretty cool chorus. Great lyrics too. 9/10

4. Little Things - When I first heard this song, I was thinking to myself, "ha, this sounds like Jimmy Eat World"...which isn't a bad thing because I do like Jimmy Eat World a good bit. But there is a twist...due to the sludginess of the song and the jam like style of the end, making it pretty unique. 8/10

5. Twinkler - A bit of an interlude with some nice vocal arrangements. Nice accompaniment too. 8/10

6. Cocainium - One of the more moodier songs on the album. Great build up at the start and a pretty cool groove in the chorus, Overall, it's a pretty moody groovy song. 9/10

7. Back Where I Belong - This song definitely has some of the best guitar playing on the album. Nice arrangement and chorus too. 8/10

8. Sea Lungs - One of the more heavier songs on this side of the album. Some cool riffs. 8/10

9. Eula - The best song on the album in my opinion. A very powerful song and not a boring moment on it. And the guitar solo on this song is pretty impressive. 10/10

GREEN

1. Green Theme - This has to be one of the best intros I have ever heard to open up an album.

2. Board Up The House - If this where the single of this side of the album, it would have gone done well enough. I do feel that the song would have been better if it did have a better chorus. The chorus is alright, but the verses have a lot of build up and don't really go anywhere. 9/10

3. Mtns. (The Crown & Anchor) - A nice soft arrangement and some nice lyrics too. 8/10

4. Foolsong - The best song on this side of the album. I probably would have preferred this to have been on the first half of the album. A very beautiful and melancholic song that focuses very much on using minor keys. 10/10

5. Collapse - I won't lie. All I can hear in this song is a very hipster sounding arty farty attempt at songwriting with bland instrumentation and nonsensical lyrics. 5/10

6. Palms Alive - The same as Collapse really with a slightly more interesting side due to the electronic sounding drum beat and a good enough ending to the song. 6/10

7. Stretchmaker - A nice instrumental acoustic interlude. 7/10

8. The Line Between - The riff at the start of this song is really kick ass. The song does kind of morph into a more standard song, but it's still a pretty great song though. 8/10

9. If I Forget Thee, Lowcountry - A nice little ending to the album. 7/10

CONCLUSION: It's not 100% my cup of tea. But I did rather like it a lot. There are some great songs on it, and overall it's a pretty decent album. The band aren't a band I would usually go for, but I might give there other stuff a listen, because this was rather good.

7.6/10

Report this review (#816164)
Posted Friday, September 7, 2012 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Yellow & Green" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US sludge rock/metal act Baroness. The album was released through Relapse Records in July 2012. Baroness are quite the adventurous act and over the course of their first two albums "Red Album (2007)" and "Blue Record (2009)", they have gone from being a sophisticated sludge act to incorporating stoner, rock´n´roll and 70s hard rock elements to their sound. Not completely unlike the development that a contemporary act like Mastodon also have been through.

This time around Baroness have focused even more on accessibility (even occasionally touching maintream appeal) than ever before. Most tracks are vers/chorus structured with only few excursions beyond that formula and the choruses are catchy and for the most part leave a lasting impression. The raw shouting vocals, which were already sparse on "Blue Record (2009)" are now completely gone from the band´s music. Instead the vocals are clean with an occasional rough edge, but often layered with distorting effects.

"Yellow & Green" is a double album. The first disc is titled "Yellow" and the second disc is titled "Green". So there are about 75 minutes of music to digest. Personally I find "Yellow" slightly more interesting than "Green". There are simply more tracks on "Yellow" that stand out. Highlights are tracks like "Take My Bones Away" and "Cocainium" but the quality of the tracks are more or less consistent throughout. Few real highs and few real lows.

While I can see the drawing of what Baroness want to achive with "Yellow & Green" I don´t think the mission is fully accomplished. It´s like they lack the last conviction in the delivery and the songwriting could be better and more defined too. The fact that lead vocalist/guitarist John Baizley isn´t in possession of the most interesting voice is a minor issue too. When that is said "Yellow & Green" is still a well produced, well played and for the most part well written album and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

Report this review (#849406)
Posted Saturday, November 3, 2012 | Review Permalink
TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
3 stars All of Baroness' albums from "The Blue Album" back to the beginning (including the EPs) were top notch, inventive and amazing Prog Metal albums with a lot of emotion, and with as much instrumental music as vocal music. Yes it is very heavy music, but with a lot of progressive elements and very imaginative. The vocals were close to growling, but they still had a very melodic quality to them that made them all the more emotional in the same way that Devin Townsend's growling vocals are. I highly recommend any of those albums.

This album, called "Yellow & Green" is actually a double album, hence the title with two colors. Just one month after the release of this album, the members in the band were all injured in a bus accident, and it looked like this would be the demise of the band, but they all recovered from very serious injuries and started touring again. Not long after this however, two of the members left the band, but two other musicians soon joined the band and touring continued.

So, with this album, Baroness takes a turn towards a more accessible sound. You can't really say this is a progressive record, but it is a great heavy metal album nevertheless. I still enjoy the music on this album, there are still plenty of high points on the album, they just aren't progressive aspects anymore. The vocals are now cleaner, but unfortunately, they tend to lose the emotion they used to possess. The vocalist is still the same as on the past albums, he is just singing cleaner. The guitar work is absolutely awesome. You could pretty much say that the "Yellow" disc is more on the heavier side with a few mellower sections added in, and the "Green" disc has more softer and mellower tracks with a few heavy sections, especially towards the middle part. But, overall it has lost it's progressive heart, and that is a shame because this is an excellent band. In fact, I actually increased "The Red Album" to a 5 star album now after listening to it several times and gaining a better respect for it. Unfortunately, I can't be so generous to the "Yellow & Green" album simply because it is not progressive enough. Amazing harmonies, excellent guitar work, great instrumentation, but I miss the progressiveness of the older albums, the power and emotion. It is an excellent heavy metal album, but only a good but non-essential album in progressive terms.

Report this review (#1947790)
Posted Wednesday, July 11, 2018 | Review Permalink

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