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Baroness Blue Record album cover
3.52 | 86 ratings | 6 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Bullhead's Psalm (1:20)
2. The Sweetest Curse (4:31)
3. Jake Leg (4:23)
4. Steel That Sleeps The Eye (2:38)
5. Swollen And Halo (6:35)
6. Ogeechee Hymnal (2:36)
7. A Horse Called Golgotha (5:21)
8. O'er Hell And Hide (4:22)
9. War, Wisdom And Rhyme (4:25)
10. Blackpowder Orchard (1:01)
11. The Gnashing (4:18)
12. Bullhead's Lament (2:59)

Total time 44:29

Line-up / Musicians

- John Dyer Baizley / guitar, piano, vocals
- Pete Adams / guitar, vocals
- Summer Welch / bass
- Allen Blickle / drums

Releases information

Artwork: John Dyer Baizley

CD Relapse Records ‎- RR 7053 (2009, US)

2xLP Relapse Records ‎- RR 7053 (2009, US)

Digital album

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BARONESS Blue Record ratings distribution

(86 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

BARONESS Blue Record reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars These days, the prog tag is something easy to come by. Since prog isn't a dirty word anymore and seems to stir some positive feedback from the audiences again, clever marketers at record labels throw the term at just any album they wish to promote. If it has an occasional song over 5 minutes or if the band can handle their equipment reasonably then, there you go folks. It's prog!

And so fares Baroness. If this album had come out 15 years ago it would have been labelled stoner or alternative metal or sludge metal or whatever was the buzzword back then. Now prog is cool again, so they throw in the prog tag for good measure. Well, we can only applaud prog has lost most of its negative connotations but it makes you wonder how much more we wish to water down the term? Till it doesn't mean anything anymore?

Don't misunderstand me. I don't care much what musical form prog should take, nor does it bother me much whatever categorization a band is condemned to operate in. I would even listen to rap if you ask me friendly. But genre classification, no matter inadequate it is, can still be useful to describe what kind of music you may more or less expect.

And what I expect from prog is outstanding, adventurous, dynamic and textured music with a strong personality. The Blue Record has none of that and as such it doesn't come close to anything I appreciate at all. It is unremarkable, heavy riffs based sludge metal that is volume-butchered to death. This won't add anything to your collection of Neurosis and Melvins albums. Which you should have of course :-)

Review by Negoba
4 stars Champions of Rock and Roll Guitar

Some bands and albums transcend genre and taste simply because their energy is so good. Baroness is a band that is easy to love. Their common guy, hard working fire is evident all over their work. Lead vocalist / guitarist John Baizley has one of the ugliest mugs in music right now, but he is a multi-talented force whose best work may be his visual artistry. (He has designed album covers for multiple artists, including the phenomenal earth-goddess painting on this, his own band's BLUE RECORD.) Baroness is a band with multiple progressive sensibilities, even if they are not a purely "prog" band. But one thing is certain. Few, if any, bands out right now are as rock and roll as these guys. Their sound is simultaneously raw and carefully constructed. Their chemistry is great. In fact, the interplay between Baizley and second guitarist Brian Blickle is the foundation of the band's sound. Twin guitars, weaving in and out, trading lead and support, harmony solos, double grooves, they have it all. As a guitar lover, BLUE RECORD is simply a delight.

I was first exposed to Baroness as an unknown (to me) supporting act for Opeth during the former's tour for their RED RECORD. Though the sound was bad (as it is for all openers at the venue I was at), I knew that something really interesting was happening with this band. I sampled a few songs and liked them, but it wasn't until I started looking into this newer album that I was really hooked. The teaser single "Swollen and Halo" was an improvement on the sound I'd heard before, but it is really the entire album experience that grabs me. The band has clearly spent some careful time thinking about the transitions and pacing of the album. There are some textural short pieces ("Steel that Sleeps the Eye," "Ogeechee Hymnal") that are based on melodic themes from neighboring songs. The album is bookended by "Bullhead's Psalm" and "Bullhead's Lament" which are quieter pieces featuring harmony guitar leads. And in between are some octane-filled rockers that are perfect for jamming on the road, working out, and work just as well on headphones as they do on a car stereo ("Horse Called Golgotha," "Jake Leg".)

Singing in metal these days (maybe always) can be an acquired taste. Baroness is no different in this regard. I would describe Baizley's vocals as shouting on pitch. There is a clear melodic contour the vocals, but truly sung voice is heard only once. Even two years ago when I saw the band live, this was difficult for me to get past. Now that I've learned to put up with vocals from bands like Death, Maudlin of the Well, and various post-metal outfits, Baroness' seem relatively palatable. Still, guitar is the star of the show here, with some nice drumming in support. All the instruments have a live feel, a natural sound that one can imagine being able to produce in the garage (possibly with a stomp box or two.)

One other reviewer bemoaned the fact that virtually anything will pass for prog these days and that this is relatively straightforward stoner metal. Several years ago, I was an avid Queens of the Stone Age fan. So I pulled a few of those discs out to compare. While QotSA has some outstanding songwriting (and more listener-friendly vocals) the level of complexity is like night and day. Baroness clearly exists within the same realm of music, but there are so many more riffs, more layers, greater complexity. There is no doubt that the band follows some prog ideals, most importantly being the idea of intentional composition. I notice no improvised leads (or in fact wankery of any sort) on the record at all. The melodic lines are clearly worked out, the interplay composed. This is not a Metallica-style riff with blues based soloing over the top. These are songs, carefully put together from the first note of the album to the last.

The closest prog album I own to this is Mastodon's CRACK THE SKYE. While Mastodon's vocals and composition are both a notch higher in quality, and the record is clearly "proggier," Baroness wins in terms of pure energy. This is saying a lot, because CRACK THE SKYE was one of the most rocking records of the year 2009. Each has their own strengths, each a deserved place in any prog metal lover's library. 4/5 stars.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Blue Record" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US sludge metal act Baroness. The album was released through Relapse Records in October 2009. The regular version of the album features 12 tracks while the Deluxe Edition features a bonus CD with 5 tracks recorded live at the Roadburn Festival in 2009. Just like every other release by Baroness, "Blue Record" is also graced with a cover artwork created by guitarist/vocalist John Baizley who in addition to being a musician is also a very skilled visual artist.

The music on the album is a quite adventurous mix of progressive sludge metal, 70s hard rock/metal and rockīnīroll (thereīs even a folky acoustic track called "Steel That Sleeps the Eye" on the album). The musical style is pretty hard to describe with words and Iīm afraid my above description might confuse more than it helps. This is simply one of those albums youīll have to give a listen yourself (and believe me itīs worth it) to determine which labels you would apply to it. This is one of those cases that gives reviewers headaches and countless hours of problems with writing a review and Iīm sure thatīs how Baroness prefer it. No boundaries and one adventurous journey through a 44:25 minutes long album full of surprises. Itīs not like the music sticks out in every direction though. The album is highly consistent both quality wise and in terms of style (which kind of contradicts my above statement about the surprises, but I said this was a difficult album to describe right!). So letīs see, the music features heavy mid-paced sludgy riffing, lots of melodic guitar work (Iīm reminded of Thin Lizzy and Wishbone Ash at times), various raw/clean vocal styles and a pretty raw and filthy production. Itīs not a lo-fi underproduced affair though, the sound is deliberately made to sound this way. It took a while to learn to appreciate but ultimately itīs a pretty strong sound production.

The musicianship are on a high level on all positions. These guys are very well playing but itīs the playfullness of the whole affair that takes the prize. Upon conclusion "Blue Record" is a great sophomore album. Baroness have been through a radical tranformation and development since their early releases, which "Blue Record" doesnīt sound much like. A 4 star (80%) rating is more than deserved for a very original and adventurous sounding album by a band that refuse to be put into a box.

Review by aapatsos
2 stars This is one of the few occasions where an album, rather than start growing at me with every next hearing, becomes more and more indifferent. Blue Record is not easily compared with albums from the contemporary "big" bands of the post metal movement for one simple reason: it is not permanently slow and creepy and this is among the positives aspects of it.

The album is a strange mixture of 70's rock 'n roll, stoner rock (in the vein of Spiritual Beggars) and post/sludge metal but with a lot more "vibe" and less heaviness than a typical post/sludge album (if there is one). Among the above, there are influences from Metallica (intro/outro, particularly on the twin guitars), UFO (A Horse Called Golgotha, acoustic part), Mastodon (War, Wisdom and Rhyme), and country and folk music in the various acoustic parts that intervene between full songs. Disappointingly, the band has been affected by the modern "nu-metal" sound as well (e.g. Swollen and Halo).

I struggle to find the elements that would categorise Baroness under any prog genre, as their sound is mainly based in rock 'n roll/stoner riffs and simple acoustic melodies. Although the record is solid in terms of musicianship and structure, I feel that there is rarely something original to be found among the - sometimes enjoyable - riff lines or the - carefully executed - melodic parts. In addition, the number of different styles, which usually gives the required variation to an album, feels as it does not work this time as I found myself "confused" after listening to the 12 tracks in a row.

It would be unfair to say that this is a bad album; it does certainly have its moments but I fear that the end result would appeal only to some fans of the stoner/sludge style without many expectations of "progressive" music.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Baroness play a dirty, sludgy style of metal which draws heavily on 1970s influences but at the same time refuses to brush aside modern advances and technology, with some at points really very effective sythesiser use setting Blue Record apart from its peers. With rough, bellowing vocals channeling the "Bullhead" figure referenced in the bookending tracks, some really fine guitar work, and a greater diversity of styles on offer than your typical stoner throwback band, Baroness seem intent on driving their chosen musical style into the future. On the basis of Blue Record, they might even have the chops to accomplish that.
Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Baroness' 2nd full length studio album, "The Blue Album" was released in October 2009. The album was produced by John Congleton, who produced albums for "Black Mountain" and "Explosions in the Sky". Baroness also got a lot of exposure following the release of this album opening for "Mastodon", "Metallica", and "Isis" among others. Their debut album, "The Red Album" was a great Progressive Metal album which proved the band had the talent and the innovation to be considered one of the best upcoming Progressive Metal bands, and this album ended up being called the 20th Greatest Metal Album in History by L.A. Weekly. It is also their first album to feature Pete Adams on guitar, who replaced Brian Bickle.

Since I really love the "Red Album", I had a lot of hope for this album when it came out. They had set a really high bar with that album, and I hoped that this one would be able to at least meet that bar. I was not disappointed, at least not this time, though I was when they released their next album "The Yellow and Green Album". But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Let's look at the Blue Album.

This album starts out with an introductory track called "Bullhead's Psalm". It features a quick dual guitar instrumental with no percussion that segues into the 2nd track, "The Sweetest Curse". This one starts immediately with the full band and a much heavier sound. John Baizley soon starts his melodic growl vocals and everything begins with a bang after the introduction. Once again, as in the previous album, we get that excellent dual guitar work with strong progressive riffs and a heavy dual guitar solo. It quiets down to a dual acoustic finish close to the end.

"Jake Leg" continues with this style, with a more rapid fire drumming pattern and killer stop/start introduction. John's vocals are a bit cleaner on this one, but the song's power is just as strong on this one. The track is even more progressive than the last one, with some tricky rhythms and a mostly non-traditional song structure with just a bit of a mid-east influence. It ends with a heavy dual guitar solo.

"Steel That Sleeps the Eye" uses a quiet acoustic backdrop with some wind effects and vocal harmonies that are very reminiscent of "Alice in Chains" on some of their softer songs. The reverb effect on the vocals adds a great atmosphere. Percussion finally kicks into a slow pounding rhythm as it builds to lead into the next track.

"Swollen and Halo" is the longest song on here at over 6 ― minutes. It starts out at a mid tempo rhythm and a nice guitar hook, but soon increases in tempo to a more driving and heavy rhythm and more vocals. The dual guitar power of this band leads to some very strong and heavy guitar, yet it stays quite melodic even in its heaviness. There is a sudden shift in the middle of the long instrumental break to a new hook and cool warbling guitar effect. The ever changing tempo and meters makes this track fly by and you wish it could just keep going.

"Ogeechee Hymnal" is an instrumental that starts off a bit laid back, but a slow heavy rhythm prompts louder guitars, but it suddenly goes to a more atmospheric and psychedelic sound with sustained guitar chords and effects after losing the percussion, and giving it an electric guitar hymn style.

Crazy riffs and effects are squeezed out of the guitars to open the heavy and fast paced "A Horse Called Golgotha". Mixed solo and harmonized vocals come in at 1:15, and the pace feels frantic and fast. Soon the dual guitar sound creates an amazing instrumental section and increases the intensity before vocals come in again. Then there is this amazing guitar sound that will make your ears perk right up. At 4 minutes, percussion drops off as guitars echo around each other and then suddenly blast off again and then go into a rapid fire progressive riff before screaming to a stop.

"O'er Hell and Hide" starts up with an acoustic and suddenly softer riff. This makes for a nice contrast as it goes on for about a minute before going into another powerful frenzy with the full band. Spoken vocals come in for a short time as music continues to play behind it. Heavy growling appears here and there between the vocal readings. More great instrumentals and effects carry the track to its conclusion. "War, Wisdom and Rhyme" continues the feel of this track right away. Vocals, both heavy and clean, begin and the track continues to deliver progressive heaviness with a non-traditional song structure in the same style as Tool and Mastadon.

"Blackpowder Orchard" is a quick acoustic/electric guitar solo which makes a nice effect, but is over too quickly. "The Gnashing" starts with a pensive electric guitar melody. Bass begins to establish a slow walking rhythm. A steady beat then takes over and intensity builds as the beat increases in tempo and a heavy extended instrumental continues before vocals come in for a few short verses well into the 2nd half of the track. All of this ends with the final track "Bullhead's Lament". This is a nice, slow instrumental that is an effective closer to the album.

The use of tempo, dynamics and progressive dual guitar riffs make this album an amazing Progressive Metal album from beginning to end. It is as good as "The Red Album" and continues to show the talent of this band, and if they had continued in this style, it could have established them as one of the best progressive metal bands out there. Unfortunately, a turn towards a more accessible sound in the next album helped them lose this foothold they were establishing. Even though the sound stays heavy, it ends up losing its progressive flavor. But, at least for this album, you still get a great album full of amazing riffs and progressive characteristics enough to make any prog head and metal head happy.

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