The remnants of metal music are still trying to find a clear way out. For many bands, metal finds them pigeon-holed and devoid of constructive progress. For Georgia-based Baroness, metal has been an exploration of vivid highs and stirring convictions. Through their first set of EPs and most recently with Red Album and Blue Record, they’ve fashioned a sound that is wholly expansive and not easily classified. And while metal has been a tag they’ve found difficult to shake, it’s not as if the band truly cares either. With Yellow & Green Baroness take the longer approach, combining two colors for a double-album of truly sprawling qualities. Continuing to further better their sound, it ends up being the band’s best album to date: a delectably rich collection of sounds, styles and well, colors.
Split into two separate halves, Yellow & Green finds Baroness approaching a qualified high in their career with music that is downright diverse in presentation. The band resorts to an 18-set record simply because everything is indisputably necessary and furthermore, solid gold. The Yellow side, and first-half, properly asserts with “Take My Bones Away” and its rocking possession. Like a forceful Queens of the Stone Age, blended with equal parts Metallica, Baroness take the edge off with melodic hooks that drive strong song structure. On “Cocainium” they tread lightly with a gentle guitar line and shimmering effects and a near psychedelic approach; as the music shifts into a solid groove of tight-knit movements the harshness tails off with superb rolls. There isn’t a lack of pulse because the band never lets off the pedal but instead of pummeling with pure noise, they add pop sensibilities that are simply too hard to find in the metal game.
Later, on the Green side, we find a more refined approach, as on “Board Up the House” and its stunning array of towering guitars and pounding drums. Taking nods from the Southern rock they are surrounded by, Baroness take the sludge of the guitars and combine it into a roaring escalation of sounds. The choruses are crisp and direct, the verses are melodically inclined and the bridging moments are splendidly rendered. On “Stretchmarker” the melody is quietly conjured through a guitar duo that is refreshingly light and brisk; the acoustic play showcases a beautiful approach to the so-called metal they’re creating and turns it into something much more meaningful. Perhaps they were making the album and realized it was far too amazing to leave out any songs, or perhaps they realized that the kind of music they crafted was a game-changer; the latter makes more sense but the former is easily understood as well.
Whatever sentiments the band challenged throughout Yellow & Green’s inception is hardly important – the end result conveys a band that is fully ready and able to improve with excellent results. They firmly attest that the spectrum they’re dabbling in is an extensive one, as portrayed on the penultimate, soaring, “The Line Between,” the clash of sounds exists but for a greater good. For Baroness, music is not about remaining true to some kind of handle; instead, they conquer a relatively wondrous approach with a fruition that is hopefully, never taken for granted. For what may be of metal is yet to be fully realized, in the meantime Baroness can still shock and awe with tremendous results.