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Baroness - "Blue Record" (CD)

Baroness - "Blue Record" CD cover image

"Blue Record" track listing:

1. Bullhead’s Psalm (1:20)
2. The Sweetest Curse (4:30)
3. Jake Leg (4:23)
4. Steel That Sleeps the Eye (2:38)
5. Swollen and Halo (6:35)
6. Ogeechee Hymnal (2:35)
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 (1:00)
11. The Gnashing (4:17)
12. Bullhead's Lament (2:59)

Reviewed by on December 3, 2009

"Baroness has stepped into a whole new direction with 'Blue Record' and, as far as I can tell, it’s a good one."

Two years after the release of their first full length album comes Baroness’ “Blue Record.” Distinctly different from “Red Album," the band has added a ton of variation and diversity. While this makes “Blue Record” a stunningly well composed album and is definitely a step in the right direction for the band, some of the music comes across as filler. This can make the album, while only clocking in at about 45 minutes, a little long. Still, the band’s playing is impressive and they create music that is progressive and memorable.

The first difference Baroness fans will notice about “Blue Record” is the difference in production quality from the last album. The riffs are a lot crustier sounding. This definitely adds more atmosphere to the music, but some fans might miss the sharp, crisp sound from “Red Album.”

The biggest difference in this latest album is the utter diversity the band has added to their music. The riffs (ranging from post metal riffs to classic rock and southern) are much more diverse and greater in number. There are actually licks and occasional solos, where there previously were none. These additions increase the quality of the music exponentially. The music also flows together brilliantly. The heavier riffs combines with brighter guitar work perfectly. Just like the frontman John Baizley’s artistic endeavors (he provides the cover art for all of Baroness’ albums, as well as many other bands), Baroness pays attention to the details.

These details are heard throughout the album. Going along with how well the music flows, some songs seem to pick up where the previous song left off. This is done in a manner that makes it sound not like the music blends together and become indistinguishable, but like the songs continue off of one another (this is prevalent in “Steel That Sleeps The Eye” and "Swollen and Halo”). Another detail that makes this album stand out is the fact that, while every song has its own unique sound to it, one tends to hear riffs from previous songs showing up later in the album. Most bands that do this come across as reusing riffs, but Baroness is able to pull it off without sounding trite.

Some of the songs on the album are markedly different from typical Baroness songs. “Steel That Sleeps The Eye,” for example, is a beautiful acoustic folk song. “Swollen and Halo” uses higher licks that are pretty atypical for Baroness, but they fit well and are definitely a progression.

The album tends to get a little long near the end and some of the mass amount of diversity tends to come off as filler ("The Gnashing," "Blackpowder Orchard"). But overall, this album is very interesting to listen to and is very entertaining. Baroness has stepped into a whole new direction with “Blue Record” and, as far as I can tell, it’s a good one.

Highs: Progressive, diverse metal that is a marked improvement from the band's previous efforts.

Lows: Some parts tend to come off as filler.

Bottom line: A diverse album with an impressive amalgamation of different influences, all remarkably composed.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)