Board Up The House (so no one bothers you while you listen to Baroness)
Georgia is one lucky state. Sure, it’s a hotbed of peaches and pecans, but it’s also home to a peculiar brand of Southern-fried sludge metal championed by bands like Mastodon, Kylesa, and the indomitable Baroness. On their third (and fourth) full-length, Yellow & Green, the band shows a considerable amount of growth, and proves that they’re not just shadowing their woolly brethren.
The Yellow record opens with the sedate instrumental “Yellow Theme” before kicking off in earnest with “Take My Bones Away”, a driving, groovy number awash with melodic guitars and dry lung vocals. “Little Things” is a standout, its mournful strains anchored by a catchy dance beat, while “Cocainium” features aquatic guitars and 60s-style vocal harmonies. Finally, “Sea Lungs” marries the Georgia sludge with English dark wave and Phil Spector’s wall of sound before the slow, textural build of “Eula” closes out the first half.
The Green side opens with the Eno-inflected “Green Theme”, driven by distant drums and haunting piano and punctuated by anthemic guitars. “Board Up The House” has more than a little 90s alt-rock in its loping groove, creating a very interesting and addictive combination of sounds, while “Foolsong” is an evocative ballad drenched in gloomy guitars and deep bass. Finally, “The Line Between” opens with a Soundgarden-worthy riff and is a return to the crushing metal that made the band famous, leading to the quiet, contemplative, Music For Airports close of “If I Forget Thee, Lowcountry”.
While in their earlier days, Baroness was often accused of sounding like a clone of other Georgia sludge bands (something this author was guilty of), with Yellow & Green, they’ve certainly laid claim to their own fertile piece of the metal landscape. With their own unique combination of catchy riffs, melodic yet heavy vocals, and bone-rattling crunch, Baroness has proven that they have their own story to tell. Fans of the band before will definitely want to grab this. As well, folks who couldn’t seem to get into the band should pick this up, as it’s far more rounded and accessible than their previous efforts. If you appreciate metal that’s about more than just brutality, grab some peach cobbler and pecan pie and give Yellow & Green a spin!