Yellow & Green
When Baroness released the Blue Record in 2009, it rightly found itself an audience with fans of even the heaviest of metal and those more inclined to four-chord stadium rock 'n’ roll. Blue managed to be simultaneously one of the heaviest albums of the year and one of the prettiest. So now three years later we have 'Yellow & Green', a double disc album with an even more epic sound than its predecessor.
It opens to the most metal tribute to ‘Scarbourgh Fair’ with an instrumental track that lulls you into a false sense of security, then ‘Take My Bones Away’ punches you in the face with a HUGE riff and a much softer vocal delivery than their previous efforts. Right out the gate Baroness make their lofty intentions clear with a song that’s part-CKY, part-High On Fire. And much of the album continues with these stadium-sized metal songs, they somehow manage to come across as still heavy as fuck and ridiculously Pop at the same time.
‘March to the Sea’, the third track, gets even bigger and louder, like a Melvins-meets-Thin Lizzy collaboration. And while there’s a large dose of unashamedly big sounds there’s also no shortage of intelligent delivery. ‘Cocanium’ sports so many complex guitar parts it’s verging on the virtuosity of classic Prog-Rock. The Green half of the album feels like a much more subdued affair with fewer heavy riffs: ‘Mtns.’ and ‘Foolsong’ are both slow numbers with much less focus on heaviness in favour of more complex rhythmns and sounds. ‘Collapse’ is an almost acoustic song and ‘Psalms Alive’ has an unashamedly simple rock structure.
The whole album comes across as an art student’s portfolio, with different works constructed from different media and materials, ultimately though everything gels together as one consistently themed piece. The band’s decision to make this a double offering now seems like the only option with so many ideas and concepts coming in from all angles. By the time I reach the second half of the record I’m almost exhausted by it.
Those who enjoyed Mastodon’s last album ‘The Hunter’ will probably also find something in 'Yellow & Green' to sink their teeth into, the same balance of pop and heavy metal applies to both records. It feels like Baroness have arrived at the destination they’ve always strived for when combining the elements they have demonstrated previously.
'Yellow & Green' splits me down the middle as I’m sure it will with a lot of people. The childish part of me that still enjoys air-guitaring to 'Enter Sandman' and headbanging to Judas Priest wants me to just forget about everything and enjoy the hell out of it, while the part of me that just wants to listen to Wolves in the Throne Room in a darkened room somewhere needs something a bit heavier and more miserable.
I feel that Baroness hit the mark so perfectly on Blue Record that it was always going to be a difficult thing to follow it up, the band took on the challenge with so much enthusiasm and ambition that it’s impossible not to commend the records on offer as a step-up in grandiosity. 'Yellow & Green' is a grower, and right now I’m giving it 3.5 beards, maybe at the end of the year it will be my favourite record but it’s a cursory rating, there’s still a lot more I need to get to grips with and I look forward to repeated listens. Whether you end up really enjoying or really hating this album it still deserves to be listened to; try not to be at least a little impressed.
Posted: Fri 20 July 2012 Total Views: 469Views Today: 0