Review Summary: An excellent, flowing, mature record that balances its progressive tendencies with sound song writing and melody.
* John Dyer Baizley - vocals, guitar, piano, artwork
* Allen Blickle - drums
* Pete Adams - guitar, vocals
* Summer Welch - bass
This is the ultimate protest against the iPod '79p per track' generation. The second full- length from Georgia's Baroness is not so much a collection of songs written around the same time, more of an opus. Every fuzzy guitar, every screaming vocal, every second of this album demands to be listened to in the order the track list dictates. And it is all the more enjoyable for it.
Wikipedia defines this album as belonging to the 'progressive metal' genre, a rather performer- centric genre full of long instrumental interludes and over-the-top virtuosity. Before I put off buying this album completely, 'Blue Record' is all that, and more. Every other track is an instrumental, and most vocal numbers contain a lengthy instrumental passage, and no one can accuse Baizley or Adams as being prehistoric cave men when it comes to their six string weapons of choice, though everything is in context of the songs, as a single entity, as an album and of the melodies, though still having the balls and grunt of any metal band. Certain aspects of this album remind me of later System of a Down. Both have fairly centered on the song- writing, the interplay between two vocal parts, and the music of their hometowns, (Baroness: Country and bluegrass, System of a Down: Armenian folk music) with the odd progressive twist.
Personally, I would put this record as one of my favourite of 2009, the only real competition being from fellow Georgia residents Mastodon, with Crack The Skye. It seems to be a fairly consistent album to me, dipping into different styles, though with similar roots. From start to finish, I can honestly say there is not a terrible track. It’s a very easy experience to listen to the full forty- five minutes without skipping. There are obviously stand- out tracks, such as the double whammy of ‘Steel That Sleeps The Eye’ & ‘Swollen and Halo’, which together form one epic song, ranging from quiet vocal harmonies and acoustic guitar to some massive guitar solos, and the penultimate song ‘The Gnashing’, which is as near to Rock ‘n Roll as Baroness get, and it works as an uplifting end to the album. Honourable mentions to ‘Bullhead’s Psalm’ and ‘Bullhead’s Lament’, which are different arrangements of the same music, which help bookend the other tracks and create a cyclic feel, that you finish where you started, but ‘Lament’ is different enough from ‘Psalm’, and you know that you have finished this experience a better person.
Steel That Sleeps The Eye/Swollen And Halo
A Horse Called Golgotha