Review Summary: a metalhead in the deep south fills a condom; Baroness release the Blue Record.
It comes as no surprise that Baroness’ newest release is a mediocre jumble of styles that simply cannot find any solid footing in what is essentially a mess of an album. Ignoring the fact that Baroness contribute to the death of all that is good about sludge, propagate the inherently boring and useless sub-genre of post metal and much like every other similar band cannot manage to produce a single original record from the overbearing stress attained from having their jaws stretched around Neurosis’ almighty co
ck, the Blue Record
is simply a laughable attempt at creating something profound and involving, an attempt which even overshadows the band’s similarly mediocre Red Album
‘Swollen and Halo’ and ‘Jake Leg’ are but two examples of composition that utterly destroy any semblance of credibility Baroness may have had, and there is certainly no shortage of examples I could refer to when making point of the fact that Baroness no longer have any character. In what comes off as a feeble attempt to please as many people as possible, Baroness offer a dumbed down muddle of tunes amidst second-rate composition. The entire record is coated with what is essentially a layer of dullness – from the guitar tone to Baizley’s headache-inducing vocals, melody and rhythm simply meld into one nauseating mess. The introductory ‘Bullhead’s Psalm’ begins with something of a moving melody, though its descent into a jangly smirk-driven trailer tune sets the tone for the entire album.
Given the distinct ‘southern’ flavours apparent in their sound, it would be logical to assume they would either follow the tread of their sludge counterparts and use it in a ferocious and thus effective
manner, but such an assumption of the band does no justice to their burgeoning mediocrity. ‘The Sweetest Curse’ endeavours to conjure a metallic vibe despite its utterly watered down and tedious drone, and takes all but three seconds to fail. Guitar lines accompanying the verses match Baizley’s atrocious vocals, intermediary guitar licks which lead into the following passages are inexcusably bland, and the ‘solo’ midway through is simply embarrassing. The attempt at vocal diversity under the guise of interchanging dual vocal lines does not even come close to having its desired effect, and just exacerbates the distaste one has for Baroness’ so called progression.
Although it has been claimed that the Blue Record
is everything Mastodon’s newest Crack the Skye
is not, comparing an equally insipid album to Blue Record
is not at all to its advantage. Despite the general incompetence of Mastodon in being remotely interesting, that band does not struggle to maintain their own sound, or if you will, a Mastodon ‘brand’. Baroness, on the other hand, do everything in their power to merge as many styles as they can into one, regardless of compatibility or coherence. In this respect, the Blue Record
is nothing more than assortment of disjointed and trashy metal riffs interspersed with an almost revoltingly trite southern rock aesthetic. Complementary tracks which are meant to inspire a wistful mood such as ‘Steel That Sleeps the Eye’ are just pitiful, and said track’s continuation into the infinitely stale and corny ‘Swollen and Halo’ is one of the most irritating moments of the album.
Where the band says charm, we have a hackneyed and essentially bullshi
t record; where the band says style, we have a complete lack of; where the band says composition, we’re left scratching our heads; where the band says music, we say shut the fu
ck up. There is really no question as to Blue Record
’s failure as a piece of music – it does not invoke any sense of awe in relation to its tone, is not much more than a piece of garbage in light of technicality, and the unappealing nature of every tune and hook just digs the band’s grave deeper and deeper. By the time one reaches the end of the album, one will be positioning the final nail on Baroness’ coffin.