Some things you just can’t fake. Sometimes in music, you can’t help but be genuine, even if you exist in a genre specific aesthetic. Sometimes the rules, the style, the formulas just can not contain the creative impulses of four people in a room. Such is the case with Baroness on their stunning full length debut Red Album.
I’ve written off metal as a genre pretty extensively as I’ve aged. I mean what is going to top Obituary’s The End Complete or Anthrax’s Among the Living. Metal hasn’t given me too much over the last few years. I mean there is Mastodon, who did save the genre for me from extinction, but nothing in recent years has really floored me like the classic, thrash and death metal of years past. This was all changed last week.
Baroness, perhaps pre-maturely, are gaining comparison to home state hero’s Mastodon quite a bit, but these comparisons I think draw more on the soulfulness of the music, then any similarities in structure or style. Like their compatriots, Baroness has flow. They understand how to make a complete album, where one song connects with the next. From the very beginning on “Rays on Pinion” the subtle start eases you into a most exciting journey. Building into an anthmatic resonance, akin to a great Fugazi song, Baroness have come to not only rock you, but to get inside your head. They are riff heavy with the right amount of buzz saw guitars, peppered with shredding fingers over the deep rich bass and wildly flailing drums. The sound is thick and large, but also musical and tasetful.
The vocals are used as an instrument as well. The lyrics are sparse through out the album. Baroness lets the music do the talking where the low yells aid in the rise of the anthems. During “The Birthing” the vocal yells introduce the rock thunder, and as the song disolves into the following track, “Isak,” the song builds up and the throaty roar acts as the punch line. Every tie in is seamless, there is no fat on Red Album, nothing is wasted but the songs remain large and impossing.
Baroness, shake and move and still remain metal, they are feet stomping, fist raising, neck breaking and head nodding. Metal ussually doesn’t do all of those in the entire genre, Baroness manages it through out Red Album alone. There are not many bands, let alone metal bands that can accomplish so much in a single album. This little expose is only the tip of the ice berg too. Red Album is a future classic in the genre, a defining album in the begining of what appears to be a very exciting journey for Baroness.