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Baroness: Blue Record

In 2007 Baroness released an album with glorious red artwork. In a fit of unbelievable creativity, they named it Red Album. In 2009 they are cementing their reputation for nomenclature with the ingeniously titled companion album Blue Record.

Like all great pairings though, these two Baroness albums are a contrasting duo. Red Album was a galloping charge of muscular grooves, building layer upon layer of sound into an unrelenting assault. Blue Record is a different beast entirely, trading the slowly building sonic landscapes of its predecessor with a more jarring sound, full of twists, turns and tangential moments. This is an inventive album, one not afraid to tone down the band's clear talent for musical muscle for the sake of originality.

Baroness have undoubtedly retained their tight and pounding style, but it has been shoehorned into a different context. Here the guitars lead the way, and while the aggression is still there, they are more willing to throw different tones and styles into the mix. Straight up metal riffage jostles for position with bluesy folk breakdowns, jangling garage rock style arpeggios and prog rock cascading rhythms. Even though the raw vocals at times sound slightly odd against the more delicate musical sections, it's still a breathlessly effective melting pot of sound, and the frenetic pace is sustained throughout.

Despite all of this musical chaos Blue Record manages to maintain an enormous amount of identity. From the sizzling fuzz laden guitar solos to crushing bass grooves; the album positively drips with the flavour of the American Deep South. This grounding provides a sense of unity that ties the album together, giving it a sense of narrative throughout.

Blue Record reinforces Baroness' status as a musical powerhouse, but perhaps more impressive is that is does so whilst deviating substantially from the formula set down in their first full length album. Brave, fresh, and original this excellent album packs a punch.

Track Listing
01. Bullhead's Psalm
02. The Sweetest Curse
03. Jake Leg
04. Steel That Sleeps the Eye
05. Swollen and Halo
06. Ogeechee Hymnal
07. A Horse Called Golgotha
08. O'er Hell And Hide
09. War, Wisdom and Rhyme
10. Blackpowder Orchard
11. The Gnashing
12. Bullhead's Lament

Added: September 7th 2009
Reviewer: Richard Wheelhouse
Related Link: Relapse Records
Hits: 4605
Language: english

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