H. O. L. Y. Crap! Just when you thought Ocean Grove couldn’t evolve more than they …
Following yet another change in personnel, Baroness have delivered the sixth and apparently final album in their chromatically themed album series.
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After Purple re-established their metal credentials in the wake of the glorious if occasionally unfocused double Yellow & Green set, which had some critics trying to further elasticise the genre’s already wide scope to make it fit within some kind of metal boundary, the Georgia four piece have again marched into different musical territory with the 17-track Gold & Grey. While plenty of heavy riffing still abounds, it isn’t until deep into the album, say around track seven, Throw Me an Anchor, where Baroness lets the metal have its head. Leading up to that point is a melange of stylistic shifts from the bass-heavy opening groove of Front Toward Enemy, to the looser rock of I’m Already Gone with its soaring melodies, to acoustic interludes and introspective tracks held together with John Baizley’s mournful, ragged croon.
An album of deep contrasts, where clashing metal bumps against brooding melancholia, Baroness adding nuance and colour with sonic interludes and mood swings
As the title suggests, Gold & Grey is an album of deep contrasts, where clashing metal bumps against brooding melancholia, Baroness adding nuance and colour with sonic interludes and mood swings. Literally the next song following Throw Me an Anchor’s driving metal is a yearning, melodic ballad as the record surges to a crescendo and immediately subsides, leading to a long reflective stretch in the middle of the album full of gloomy minor-key acoustics and pensive, intertwined vocals.
Bracketed by interludes, Emmet – Radiating Light and Cold-Blooded Angels highlight the melodic interplay between Baizley and recent recruit Gina Gleason’s vocals and chiming, sad guitars before Baroness takes another turn into the chugging mid-paced metal of Broken Halo. While there are heavier songs overall and less of the electronic wanderings, Gold and Grey is very much the spiritual successor to Yellow & Green, as Baroness explore the parameters of their creativity, with the final two tracks here foreshadowing further experiments to come. Now rapidly outgrowing their original definition, as they move further on their musical sojourn, Baroness are becoming less of a metal band and increasingly more of a band that has metal songs.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Throw Me an Anchor, Borderlines, Cold-Blooded Angels
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