Rating:
9.0
Baroness - Blue Record
13 October 2009


Disc I
01. Bullhead's Psalm
02. The Sweetest Curse
03. Jake Leg
04. Steel That Sleeps The Eye
05. Swollen And Halo
06. Ogeechee Hymnal
07. A Horse Called Golgotha
08. O'er Hell And Hide
09. War, Wisdom And Rhyme
10. Blackpowder Orchard
11. The Gnashing
12. Bullhead's Lament

Disc II [Deluxe Edition bonus] [Live from Roadburn Festival 2009]
01. The Birthing
02. Isak
03. Rays On Pinion
04. Wanderlust
05. Grad


I picked up the new Baroness, Blue Record on a lunch break genuinely wanting to like it. I had heard enough intriguing hype from MS and other sources to encourage me to buy it - and as with every album I plunk potential beer money down on, I want to enjoy my purchase.

(get ready kids, a curve ball is a-comin'!)

I popped it into the cd tray and hit "play" while toiling away at my desk, finishing up the work day. I gotta say it took me forever to get through a single listen of the album. I just couldn't sit straight through it.

(the wind up… and the pitch…)

It was just that freaking good.

The reason the first listen took so long is I kept hitting the back button to hear songs again. Very, very seldom does an album upon first listen make me want to immediately flash back to what I just heard rather than trek forward. This one did.

The album, sludge with a more than healthy amount of 70's rock influence, is just that enjoyable.

Great riffs - some driving, some galloping, some crushing-, beautiful sounding acoustic interludes, harmonized runs, great textures, fuzzed out solos abound. The drums propel songs along with some enjoyable fills and enough volume to add to the wall of sound created by the guitars. The bass slinks along as the best do - not merely doubling guitar lines or slapping away in a "look at me (I wish I were a guitarist)" frenzy, but acting as an undercurrent to the dense and beautiful cacophony. The vocals were well executed as well - the harsh vocals are shouted as is sludge fashion, but not so harsh as to become horribly grating (see my thoughts on the latest by fellow Relapse-mates, Buried Inside) and Baizley has a nice clean voice that he alternates in, particularly, and poignantly, during the more mellow moments.

John Congleton and the Baroness boys did a great job with the mix, allowing each piece enough space so that all are clearly heard, all mesh, and no one component is neither particularly overbearing nor MIA. The songs have a dense feel, they seem like a lot is going on, so pulling that off as well as they did is worthy of praise.

Blue Record, to me, was like the Windows 7 of the music world - when you hear so many good, rave reviews about something, you get intrigued enough to buy it, set some pretty lofty expectations for it, and have that voice gnawing away in the back of your head that it will never live up to your hopes. As someone who pre-ordered 7, I can only hope it matches up to the hype as well as Blue Record did… because Blue Record will easily make the top 5 of whatever the hell number I decide to do my "best of '09" blog early next year.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Band profile: Baroness
Album: Blue Record


 



Written on 14.10.2009 by
BitterCOld
BitterCOld has been officially reviewing albums for MetalStorm since 2009.
More reviews by BitterCOld ››

Guest review by
Boxcar Willy

Rating:
9.2
Alrighty Folks, I'm BoxCar Willy and today I've got a very good deal for you, that deal is the new Baroness Album… That's right the Blue Record! Stayed tuned folks, because you're about to find out about this deal of the century!

Okay, we're back folks, now I'm going to tell you about this mind-blowing deal. First of you get a little atmosphere, but that little bit goes a long way, creating a nice full bodied ambiance. Upon further digging, you will find amazing distorted riffs, and I mean "Turn it up to 11" distortion! A song like "The Sweetest Curse" will have you headbanging in no time!

Read more ››
published 18.02.2012 | Comments (1)



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Marcel Hubregtse - 14.10.2009 at 04:02  
Great album with some great cover art courtesy of one of the band members once again
Derwood - 14.10.2009 at 04:45  
Sludge is not a genre I have spent a lot of time listening to. This album has changed that.
Thanntos - 14.10.2009 at 05:37  
Sludge is one of my fav. genre's. The Ocean, Mastodon, Isis, Neurosis, Ufomammat, Minsk, Intronaut ect. That said, after the Red Album, which was stunning, I was expecting more from this second release, and was not all that impressed at all. It's still a decent listen, but they took a different approach to this, and in my opinion, it doesn't work out so well.
I feel like the record starts out good then at times it seems like the band is trying to pull off a more accessible album with a pop-metal sound.

7.0

(in other words, if you are looking for some GREAT sludge this year, check out Kylesa, Minsk, White Buzz, Isis, 16, and Black Math Horseman's releases from 2009 before this) All better then this.
Dangerboner - 14.10.2009 at 15:41  
Hmm I guess I'll check this out then, even though I was never impressed by what I had heard from their previous album.

The cover art is irritating because it looks just like Phantom Limb by Pig Destroyer.
Visioneerie - 14.10.2009 at 17:16  
It's a good album, but to be honest with myself I enjoy the Red Album more. It must be that they softened up a bit... don't get me wrong there are some heavy tracks on here but sadly to me they don't match the crushing and catchy songs of their first full length. I'll have to listen to it more though.
UnholyMenace - 14.10.2009 at 18:22  
Good album indeed. I really like the first part of it.
Elio - 14.10.2009 at 18:26  
Meh, I don't understand the hype, I've heard way better sludge, Kylesa's new album is better IMO just to make an example.
Sellathurai - 15.10.2009 at 00:56  
I've been listening to this album for a while and it's definitely a grower. Every time I listen to this record, it gets better, but the first few listens I would constantly compare it to the Red Album and I would get discouraged because it wasn't the Red Album. Then I realized the approach for both albums were different, so with that in mind i could fully absorb the album. Hopefully they'll comeback to Calgary since the last time they were here they killed, and seeing them play their new material would be quite interesting and until I see them live again I'll just be listening to this over and over again.
Marcel Hubregtse - 15.10.2009 at 01:29  
Written by Dangerboner on 14.10.2009 at 15:41



The cover art is irritating because it looks just like Phantom Limb by Pig Destroyer.


Guess who the artist is? Yep, John Baizley from Baroness, He does all the artwork for Baroness and of course did Phantom Limnb, plus Kylesa and Torche and others.
Nosurper - 15.10.2009 at 01:38  
I think the first five songs on this album SLAY, and really bring out the world on the cover, but I'm not sold on the second half. The Hymnal is ok, Horse is solid, and then after that I find it seems to lose focus. Less of those badass underwater guitar effects, infectious riffs and grooves, and more proggy meandering. I don't know, I'm still listening to it, and I generally agree with your tastes BitterCOLD, at least from what I can tell as far as ratings and reviews go. Not sure if I'm the only one that finds the first half of the album stronger. That's the key difference for me, because Red Album I have no problem listening to start to finish.
MeloDeathViking - 15.10.2009 at 06:57  
This is the first sludge album I've really listened to, and I have to say, I reallllly enjoyed this album. The freaking banner at the top of the page got in my brain, I kept seeing Baroness so I had to get it lol.
Ag Fox - 15.10.2009 at 20:28  
Written by MeloDeathViking on 15.10.2009 at 06:57

This is the first sludge album I've really listened to, and I have to say, I reallllly enjoyed this album. The freaking banner at the top of the page got in my brain, I kept seeing Baroness so I had to get it lol.
Try this year's Kylesa. It's better imo
BitterCOld - 15.10.2009 at 20:36  
I do need to check kylessa, but for some reason this year i've really been stricken with a love for blended-style albums.. this, Mastodon, Ahab (incorporated darkwave elements into their funeral doom)...
chuchu - 15.10.2009 at 22:02  
This is the first Baroness album I've heard but I like Mastodon, Isis, etc so I thought I would give it a try. I'm glad I did because so far I really like the album. I can also relate to hitting rewind on the first listen like the review mentions - I listened to The Hymnal -> Horse 3 times in a row the first time through the album.
MeloDeathViking - 15.10.2009 at 22:18  
Written by Ag Fox on 15.10.2009 at 20:28

Written by MeloDeathViking on 15.10.2009 at 06:57

This is the first sludge album I've really listened to, and I have to say, I reallllly enjoyed this album. The freaking banner at the top of the page got in my brain, I kept seeing Baroness so I had to get it lol.
Try this year's Kylesa. It's better imo


That's what I've heard, so I put it on my "To Do" list. I wanna check out Mastadon too. I've never really given them a shot before, but I hear they're really good.
Visioneerie - 16.10.2009 at 01:35  
Written by Elio on 14.10.2009 at 18:26

Meh, I don't understand the hype, I've heard way better sludge, Kylesa's new album is better IMO just to make an example.

I checked it out... it's not that good. There are a few standout songs however. I might just not be a big fan of sludge.
BitterCOld - 16.10.2009 at 06:47  
Written by Visioneerie on 16.10.2009 at 01:35

Written by Elio on 14.10.2009 at 18:26

Meh, I don't understand the hype, I've heard way better sludge, Kylesa's new album is better IMO just to make an example.

I checked it out... it's not that good. There are a few standout songs however. I might just not be a big fan of sludge.


it's just a question of tastes. there are a lot of bands people here get all worked up about that i find downright boring. any review, written by any body, is just a subjective snapshot of their opinions of the album at the time they wrote it.

a review is generally useful only if you have a point of reference between your tastes and the reviewers.

i like it, i dug it a lot. i can see why other people might not think so highly of it.
Nosurper - 16.10.2009 at 21:49  
Ok, this album holds up better than I initially thought. While I still like the Red Album slightly better, this is still another strong release from these guys. Anyone interested in sludge should get this.
chuchu - 19.10.2009 at 17:05  
I went and checked out Kylesa based on comments in this thread and while it's very good it's not the same thing at all as Blue Album. Apples and oranges. Static Tensions (Kylesa) is straight ahead hard driving and pretty much stays that way from start to finish. Blue Album is less heavy but offers more variety overall. Static Tensions strikes me as a series of songs where Blue Album is very much an album with a progression, recurring musical themes, and a clear beginning and end. Another area where Blue Album stood out to me is the overall vibe is more upbeat than most sludge you will encounter. I think this comes from the 70's rock influence mentioned in the review and I would add to that and say there is 80's rock influence as well.

I haven't decided whether I like Red or Blue Album better yet.
Visioneerie - 19.10.2009 at 18:38  
Written by BitterCOld on 16.10.2009 at 06:47

Written by Visioneerie on 16.10.2009 at 01:35

Written by Elio on 14.10.2009 at 18:26

Meh, I don't understand the hype, I've heard way better sludge, Kylesa's new album is better IMO just to make an example.

I checked it out... it's not that good. There are a few standout songs however. I might just not be a big fan of sludge.


it's just a question of tastes. there are a lot of bands people here get all worked up about that i find downright boring. any review, written by any body, is just a subjective snapshot of their opinions of the album at the time they wrote it.

a review is generally useful only if you have a point of reference between your tastes and the reviewers.

i like it, i dug it a lot. i can see why other people might not think so highly of it.

Yeah, no doubt about it. I was simply stating my opinion on the new Kylesa album. Not a bad album by any means but when compared to Baroness, it's of less richer content and not as interesting, to me.

To get back on topic I gave the Blue Record a few more spins and it has grown on me but I don't think it will ever reach what was accomplished on Red. The eerie intro of 'Wailing Wintry Wind', the crushing 'Aleph' that resembles Nirvana are unbeatable, imo.
MeloDeathViking - 26.10.2009 at 21:10  
The more I listen to this album the more I love it. The Gnashing always gets me so pumped up!! Makes me wanna kick some ass! haha
danielllewis - 16.11.2009 at 05:20  
I'm not very familiar with this band or genre in general, but I'm really liking this album.

I bought it thinking it would be grindcore or something because of the cover, and the fact that they're with relapse. But I like it for what it is, and it grows on me with every listen.
Marcel Hubregtse - 16.11.2009 at 14:50  
Written by danielllewis on 16.11.2009 at 05:20


I bought it thinking it would be grindcore or something because of the cover, and the fact that they're with relapse. But I like it for what it is, and it grows on me with every listen.


Actually most of the bands on Relapse aren't grindcore at all.
danielllewis - 16.11.2009 at 22:46  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 16.11.2009 at 14:50

Written by danielllewis on 16.11.2009 at 05:20


I bought it thinking it would be grindcore or something because of the cover, and the fact that they're with relapse. But I like it for what it is, and it grows on me with every listen.


Actually most of the bands on Relapse aren't grindcore at all.


Well yeah, but the cover added to my assumption.
Marcel Hubregtse - 17.11.2009 at 02:20  
Written by danielllewis on 16.11.2009 at 22:46

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 16.11.2009 at 14:50

Written by danielllewis on 16.11.2009 at 05:20


I bought it thinking it would be grindcore or something because of the cover, and the fact that they're with relapse. But I like it for what it is, and it grows on me with every listen.


Actually most of the bands on Relapse aren't grindcore at all.


Well yeah, but the cover added to my assumption.



Just because the same guy drew the Pig Destroyer cover? Well, he is the Baroness vocalist, so...
danielllewis - 17.11.2009 at 05:15  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 17.11.2009 at 02:20

Written by danielllewis on 16.11.2009 at 22:46

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 16.11.2009 at 14:50

Written by danielllewis on 16.11.2009 at 05:20


I bought it thinking it would be grindcore or something because of the cover, and the fact that they're with relapse. But I like it for what it is, and it grows on me with every listen.


Actually most of the bands on Relapse aren't grindcore at all.


Well yeah, but the cover added to my assumption.



Just because the same guy drew the Pig Destroyer cover? Well, he is the Baroness vocalist, so...


YES! That's the one it reminded me of. I knew it looked like an album cover I've seen before, but I couldn't remember which one.
White Metal - 24.11.2009 at 16:33  
O'er Hell And Hide is a killer .... makes me wanna ride a bull XD Yeeeha
Thanx for the great review
Mr. Doctor - 25.05.2010 at 19:37  
Written by Visioneerie on 16.10.2009 at 01:35

I checked it out... it's not that good. There are a few standout songs however. I might just not be a big fan of sludge.

I have a hard time thinking Baroness as sludge, but that's just me I guess...

Because everytime I hear/read the word "sludge" I always think of Acid Bath and Eyehategod.
Always.

I don't think I will get into this band, I found them very good, but the music didn't appeal to me anyway... I can't like it for some reason. It's a shame because I really really love the artwork and that might as well be the only reason I have for buying this album.
Guib - 07.09.2011 at 15:28  
This album is probably my favorite Sludge Work, ever.
Grimskallen - 02.01.2012 at 03:16  
Great album, I remember giving this quite a few spins a while back.
John Baizleys covers always kick ass. on a sidenote, there's this norwegian (non metal band) which has an album that has a really looks like he's drawn it (but he hasn't)
Dogsbreakfast - 20.03.2012 at 00:58  
If it is at all possible to wear out an mp3 file I am gonna do it with this album.
SmokyPeat - 26.09.2013 at 19:01  
Just gave this jewel another spin this morning, what an album. All the influences in Blue make for such a fun listen.

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