Baroness - Blue Record review

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Band: Baroness
Album: Blue Record
Release date: 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.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9


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

Guest review by
Boxcar Willy
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!

published 18.02.2012 | Comments (1)

Comments page 2 / 2

Comments: 32   Visited by: 401 users
20.03.2012 - 00:58
If it is at all possible to wear out an mp3 file I am gonna do it with this album.
26.09.2013 - 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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