At this point in their music career I don’t think Baroness really needs any introduction. After releasing massive album after massive album, everyone in the rock and metal world seems be familiarized with them to some degree by now. Especially after the release of the highly acclaimed Blue Record. Well, now, Baroness have set out and created their most ambitious work to date. That’s really saying something when you take a good look at their back catalog. Perhaps that’s exactly why their latest work, Yellow And Green, has been met with so much criticism and debate(well, downright arguments) and succeeded in creating a huge rift in their fan base. Such is the effect of all truly great albums.
Months before this album was even released people had already written off Baroness completely. After the first single “Take My Bones Away” was released fans condemned them to the “radio rock” zone which, in the metal world, is as deadly as the “friend zone” is in dating. After my initial listen to that single I was unsure about the new material myself, and, admittedly, I quickly fell in with the naysayers. In hindsight, calling anything at all from Baroness “radio rock” is one of the most laughable things I have said or done all year. This stuff is light years beyond anything playing on typical rock stations these days. If any of it were by chance to end up on one it would sure as hell make the radio that much more tolerable.
Thankfully, upon hearing Yellow And Green in its entirety Baroness gave me a swift hard smack across the face and made me realize the error in my ways. I have been nonstop listening to this album for several weeks now, and I just can’t seem to grow tired of it. Once again, Baroness has put out “album of the year” quality material. Much like vocalist/guitarist John Baizley’s paintings, this is a well thought out work of art. It is living, breathing, and writhing as it traverses lush landscapes full of rich melodies. The eighteen songs create this massive beautiful world built on a foundation of raw emotion. You can sense the joy and the sadness in these songs and, overall, a sense of hope.
It’s foolhardy to expect anything other than growth and evolution from this band. They have done nothing but that with every single release they’ve put out. If you were ever looking to Baroness for sheer brutality or heaviness for the sake of heaviness then you’ve been in the wrong place all along anyway. Yellow And Green is divided into two parts naturally. The “Yellow” half is more upbeat and aggressive. Its songs have a harder edge than its counterpart. The “Green” half is more melodic and introspective. Though they differ from each other they share many elements and run through a wide variety of colors that tie them together. In its entirety Yellow And Green is kind of like the start of a new day. You awake fully recharged and rearing to go. Then, as the day progresses you begin to wind down and relax as your energy drains. It could also be said it’s like taking drugs with the first part being the high and the second being the period of coming down.
Overall, this is instantly some of the most accessible music Baroness has ever written. There’s still more than plenty for those that want to dig deeper though. Layers are slowly revealed with each new listen. The songs are very guitar and melody driven, and they follow more of a structure than past outings from the band. Baizley shines on each song as a full-fledged vocalist who has found the perfect balance between his caveman bellowing and clean singing. ”Twinkler” is downright chilling in its heartfelt solemnity and strength. Ladies, there’s even a few ass shakers on here. Check out “Little Things” and “Sea Lungs” if you want to get your dance on! Standout tracks for me are “Eula” and “March To The Sea” although each track is just so damn good in its own way.
Yellow And Green is a career defining album. As a whole it may just be the best Baroness has ever created. It’s one to sit with and let completely engulf you in its waves and take you to distant foreign shores. It really deserves your full attention every time you hit “play.” After countless listens I can safely say that it’s perfect in every way and one of the few albums this year that has come along and been able to put a halt on my ability to listen to absolutely anything else.