Saturday, October 10, 2009

Red Album - Baroness (#1, 2007)

"Our trust lies in might wing,
as we thrust ourselves into the drink.
Pitched boats sail and ploughmen toil,
to drift on and work the soil." - Rays on Pinion

"Rays on Pinion" from Red Album (2007)

I'm as surprised as anyone for such a metal album to hit #1 on my own Top 10 of 2007. But... BARONESS ROCKS!! Well, definitely the Red Album. Starting with the opening trifecta of awesomeness: "Rays on Pinion" (above), "The Birthing," "Isak" (both live on Rockpalast, German tv). These three epitomize what's great about good metal today - it's loud, suitable for headbangin', but engaging, almost thoughtful. Baroness can bring a dramatic intro, then they'll unspool a tangle of different musical threads, and just when it's needed, they lay down a monster groove. And just keep doing it!

Guitarist, singer, songwriter, fine artist, main man John Dyer Baizley has one of the most tuneful bellows going. The songs straddle the line between classic boogie-rockin' - tandem harmony lead guitars! - and the now sound of intelligent heaviness. The next few songs show the band's diverse abilities: "Wailing Wintry Wind" (with eerie psychedelic intro), the acoustic "Cockroach en Fleur" (Spanish guitar meets finger-pickin' blues), and "Teeth of a Cogwheel" (metal-soundtrack chase-scene music). Somewhere in there, they drop another bomb of face-melting prog metal: "Wanderlust," with official, professional video...

The record ends where it began, assaulting the listener with more majestic stoner metal goodness, in the form of "Grad" (again live on Rockpalast). So, righteous album, right? In less than a week (10/13), the follow-up Blue Record is released - with available bonus disc of their Roadburn 2009 set! They seem to be great live, but we missed them opening for Clutch because House of Blues runs on kindergarten time. Fortunately, they're back on tour and will grace Houston as headliners in December!! I'm there.

Red Album
Official/Myspace -
Purchase - Relapse Records
iTunes - Baroness

Genre - New Wave of Southern Boogie Stoner Prog Metal
Review - Treble Zine

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