Review Summary: Both strong and emotional, Purple is a triumphant reincarnation for Baroness.
Purple is the fourth entry in Baroness's palette of color themed albums. At first, it seems evident that the color chosen for this album is the fusion of red and blue: the former is aggressive, powerful and energetic, appearing in the form of dynamic and heavy guitar sections, and the latter is serene, calm and melancholic, audible in the calmer, soothing passages of the album. But more than two separate entities, purple is a completely distinct shade, a beautiful fusion of contradictions.
The color selection is an accurate depiction of Baroness's growth as a band and as musicians, but also greatly influenced by the unfortunate accident suffered by its members in 2012. It was a horrible near death experience, described as extremely painful both physically and emotionally. Baroness was almost torn apart, as half of it's members left the band. In spite of these shocking events, the group has conceived a successful and impressive record, representative of never giving up and growing stronger from tragedy.
Purple is forged by a varied set of songs that include highly compelling and impassioned choruses, such as the infectiously catchy "Shock Me"
, strong riffing present in the heavier tracks like "Morningstar"
and "Desperation Burns"
, and exceptionally good drumming, evident in heavy and calm songs alike.
Specially excellent are the songs dripping with passion. "Kerosene"
, though fast and heavy, is strangely emotional in its chorus and end section. The standout track from the album, "Chlorine & Wine"
progresses smoothly from an alluring, calm introduction, to a grandiose finale, where the entirety of the band sings aloud. And the very different "If I Had To Wake Up (Would You Stop The Rain?)"
, is accompanied by chill inducing bells and chimes, which show the band breaking the mold of a traditional rock band.
The lyrical content is also superb, depicting abstract stories of melancholy and pain. Pieces such as "Try To Disappear"
portray an obsessive and sickly chase, whilst "Chlorine & Wine"
is an afflicted story of impotence, where laying down, waiting for bruises to heal is a path of constant pain and suffering.
Unfortunately, the production of the album is a hindrance to its highly moving content. The music has a muddy, compressed sound, which, acknowledging the sludge metal origins of the band, is a trademark sound for the genre. However, Baroness has moved past this era, and a cleaner production, capable of making the emotion of the album soar to new heights, would definitely play in favor of what the band wishes to transmit.
Purple is the sound of healing, battling adversity and being troubled by anguish. It is a sound characterized both by great strength and determination, and by deep sentiment and sorrow. Baroness succeeded in controlling these conflicting emotions, empowering themselves to rise from the ashes. They may have been weak, but now, they are stronger than ever.
Try To Disappear
Chlorine & Wine
If I Had To Wake Up (Would You Stop The Rain?)