By: Mark Martins
Baroness | website | facebook | twitter |
Released on December 18, 2015 via Abraxan Hymns
2012 was not an easy year for Baroness. The band had just released Yellow & Green and were involved in a serious bus accident, which could have had even worse consequences. Two band members left the band and new members came in. It was a time of change. The “making of videos” released weeks prior to the album show a very enthusiastic and hungry group of musicians. This is a reborn band looking to create something memorable, unique and most importantly something they can be proud of.
Kicking things off is ‘Morningstar’, a heavy song, in many ways resembling Mastodon. The vibes we get are dark and gloomy. It’s also a nice throwback to their most acclaimed Red and Blue records and, obviously, a great opener in the lines of their classics ‘Take My Bones Away’, ‘Rays on Pinion’ or ‘The Sweetest Curse.
One would think at this point that Baroness has returned to their heavier roots. However, Purple is not all about the heaviness. This album is about their healing process and the tough times they went though and you can feel the mix of darkness and hope in this collection of songs.
The next two tracks ‘Shock Me’ and ‘Try to Disappear’ are good examples of how to effortlessly write a catchy chorus without being cheesy and overly poppy. Both are straightforward tracks and involve excellent guitar work and drumming. The heavier ‘Kerosene’ again resembles their fellow Georgia friends Mastodon. Here’s also where things pick up, with this being the strongest song so far. The bridge, the chorus, the main riff and guitar part mid way through do it for me.
After a really nice dreamy/gloomy instrumental interlude (‘Fugue’) it’s time for some ‘Chlorine & Wine’. I love the dark vibe. This would so easily fit on Yellow & Green. A slow intro and build leads to barking vocals and midway the songs takes off with a glorious riff. The ending is triumphant and epic with the gang vocals and guitar melodies. “Please, don’t lay me down!”
‘The Iron Bell’ hits you right in the face. Punk attitude and rocking opening riff. The chorus is a bit “unconventional”, but it has a brilliant guitar section leading to solo! There’s loads of weird guitar stuff going on here.
The intro riff of ‘Desperation Burns’ is dark and twisted. Again I have to point out the great guitar work throughout the whole song (kudos, Peter Adams!). John’s singing voice also clearly stands out on this particular track. It’s great to hear how far he’s progressed since First and Second. The ending sounds so typically Baroness. It’s all about the riffs!
‘If I Have to Wake Up (Would you Stop the Rain)’ and ‘Crossroads of Infinity’ (a 17 second outro) are the closers. The first is a dreamy, haunting and gloomy and extremely beautiful piece of music. The lyrics are extremely heart felt and touching. Guitar sections are again extremely well executed.
I love how Baroness are not ashamed to blend their rock and metal roots so naturally and effortlessly. They keep it simple and they guarantee that no riff, no drum fill and no guitar solo goes to waste. Everything has a meaning and is executed to perfection.
It’s clearly noticeable they put a lot of love into this and pushed themselves to release the best music possible. It is definitely their most accessible album to date but in no doubt another invaluable piece added to their discography. I love how they’re always so good at adding something extra to their palette of colors.