51 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2012
Yellow & Green is the third full-length studio album by the Savannah based Progressive/Sludge Metal band Baroness, it was released in the summer of 2012, produced by John Congleton and is a double disc album.
Like the band's previous albums (and indeed some other Savanah based bands, including Black Tusk and Kylesa) the artwork was created by singer John Dyer Baizley. Furthermore, like the band's previous two albums Red Album and Blue Record, the discs are each given a colour theme.
Both discs open with a musical intro-theme, one for each of the two colours. For example, the first track on disc one is `Yellow Theme' which is a brief instrumental piece using some of the notes and rhythms from later on the disc.
Then, it bursts in with the ridiculously catchy single `Take My Bones Away,' which features brilliant melodic guitar lines and a memorable chorus, some keys and a brilliantly dynamic form where things build up, cut out, speed up, slow down and come in and out of effects loops. It may be shocking if you are caught off guard, but it's a phenomenal track that's every bit as memorable as `Teeth Of A Cogwheel' `Wanderlust' or `A Horse Called Golgotha,' if not more so.
Everything about the album is just a little bit bigger and better than the previous two albums. The production job is fantastic, the songwriting is a little bit more distinctive, John Baizley's vocals have improved immensely and of course there is a full seventy-five minutes worth of music to enjoy this time around.
You'd imagine that trying to absorb something so dense as a seventy-five minute album may be difficult, as with some other 70-80 minute albums, but the decision to both split the albums in two and also to lead with the more energetic stuff and let the second half hang back a bit more really works in keeping the listener's attention and gives you a logical pause point if you need one.
Stylistically, the band have actually gotten pretty far away from Sludge at this stage, and in parts far away from Metal in general. Its way less heavy than their earlier stuff, so approach this album with caution if you only want that one type of sound from Baroness.
Stylistically, there is a clear prog influence in as much as there are a lot of brilliant clean or acoustic sections, atmospheric background noises and touches of both synth and piano, as well as a few sections that center around multi-tracked vocals or chopped up passages (specifically `Psalms Alive').
There are a lot of sounds and tones that the band have explored on previous albums and EPs used too, but there are certainly a lot of surprises and things you wouldn't expect. Over the course of the whole two discs there are a diverse range of musical styles, and yet although the album as a whole is their least heavy outing to date, it still sounds unmistakably like Baroness, since they've always had at least one foot in this musical direction.
The great thing about the album is that while the album is more interesting as a result of the grander scope and prog influences, it is never obnoxiously difficult or overlong and a lot of effort has gone into still keeping the songs concise and easily digestible. Nor is it a rehash of anything that anyone else made, or any one set of genre tropes in particular, it is simply exciting and new music made by creative and talented individuals.
Highlights include the hypnotic `Back Where I Belong,' which almost evokes the spirits of both modern-Radiohead and Gentle Giant without actually sounding like them, as well as the tracks `Sea Lungs' which has an almost `Knights Of Cydonia' by Muse-esque sound in parts, the somber `Mtns. (The Crown & Anchor)' and finally `The Line Between' which along with the `Green Theme' recalls something of Thin Lizzy in the guitar department. Understand however, this record doesn't sound like a collage of other band's work or anything, those musical references are only subtle hints put through the filter of the existing Baroness sound.
Ever since the band offered this album up for streaming I wasn't able to stop listening to it and pre-ordered it pretty much instantly. It's an exciting sort of record that you can just listen to again and again, and have a new favourite track every time, as well as hearing bits of your old favourite track that you didn't pick up on the last time around.
I already liked the band's previous work a lot but this album is an improvement on that again; it may bare little resemblance to them at their Sludgiest, but it is simply such a great album that this shouldn't be a problem to all but the strictest fans. In fact, if they only put out Yellow, it would still be an amazing album and the fact that Green is as good as it is really makes this a stand out release. Just listen to the beautiful `Strechmaker' if you need convincing that Baroness made the right decision.
In summary; this is a superb album that has an awful lot to offer and one that is more instant than their previous work, but which also grows with repeat listens. If you are new to the band, I'd actually recommend that you try this album out first and work your way backwards, unless of course you only like heaviness and can't stomach anything clean, spacey or atmospheric. If you are already an existing fan and don't mind a little change in musical direction, I'd highly, highly recommend this album, its not something you want to miss out on.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2012
1 Year Later Review: It's been a year since I purchased this album and wow, how life - and with it what you appreciate - can change. This album, over any other album this year, has been my go-to record; this is the music that, when I find myself browsing my massive music collection, I routinely turn to and connect with. Not sure what else to say about this album than that it has started to help shape how this 30-year-old defines at least his musical tastes. I love this album - it is totally unique; 5 stars!
Original review: Probably one of the most debated albums in the metal lover's world... Why? Because Baroness' latest dual album is intentionally NOT metal. A recent reported anti-metal music creator, John Baizley and crew have crafted a new genre of "metal-rock-a-lullabilly"...? (I'm Ron Burgandy?) I hated this album upon first listen..."Seriously? WTF!!!" However, I believe all music deserves a fair chance, especially when made by one of my favorite bands.
I ran into John Baizley a few weeks before the album released...we were both at a Philadelphia brunch spot near fish town. The dude seemed chill...his whole demeanor. Hardly the force I had seen live a few weeks earlier. I divert into meeting Baizley intentionally; Baizley and his art had seemingly (from afar) changed...he'd grown older, and possibly wiser. After purchasing the album I threw it on my Zune player (anti-apple!) And would listen to it occasionally or whenever one of the songs would pop up randomly.
Slowly I noticed the album themes...regret, loss, perspective, honesty, awareness. This wasn't the "Isaak-screaming" band I had once loved; Baroness has changed...and I think for the better. Slowly those trip-hop drumming and dream-like harmonies mixed with fuzz bass and clean melodramatic guitars started to groove together. Songs at first that seemed a mish-mosh of intentions and sounds slowly began to clarify...slowly they started to become ingenious. Lyrics began to ring true to myself and then became anthem-like.
I give this album four stars. "These days," when a yellow and green song pops up on my anti-establishment yet conformist Mp3 player I turn it up...this type of music is hard to find, and in my experience, totally unique.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2013
With Yellow & Green, Baroness continue their progression from hard-line dirty sludge metal to a more experimental yet accessible progressive rock. However, the sonic leap is much wider than the one from Red Album to Blue Record (their first two albums, Y&G being their third), which might leave some fans scratching their heads instead of banging them.
The band has shed their original hard-line dirty sludge metal sound, turning now to a more experimental, yet more accessible, progressive one. If you've never heard Baroness before, this is the album to get. However, I hesitate to recommend this to the more hardcore set who are expecting a harder, more refined version of the first two albums. The production quality has certainly improved, and the band members' focus, despite losing their dedicated bassist, is as precise as ever. But in improving their overall sound and playing, they've lost the rough edges that first drew my attention to them.
Now, I don't think that Baroness consciously is trying to become more "accessible" by purposefully watering down their sound to garner more record sales. I believe that Baroness is still the honest bunch of Virginians that I first met, with the same high degree of talent and dedication as before. They're going to make the kind of music that beckons them at this point in their growth. It remains to be heard if this poppier, radio-friendly sound points to the band's destination, or is simply an awkward teenage phase in a larger lifecycle.
On the album itself: its first of two parts, "Yellow" is the stronger of the two, with more memorable songs and a more cohesive feel across songs. I can't discount "Green" entirely, though, as it has my favorite track of them all, "The Line Between." And what an appropriate title indeed, for a band that finds itself standing in the line between its heavy metal roots and its progressive leanings. Whereas the album's other songs make a decided step into the realm of the latter, "The Line Between" really does stand in the line between poppy hooks and fat riffs, proggy explorations and unwavering focus.
I'm eager to hear what the band puts out next, but I hope that they continue to walk this line.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2013
This album has grown into one of my favorite albums of the last 10 years. Metalheads are up in arms. Pay no attention to them. It's different than blue and red, but, it's cohesive in it's themes and plays incredibly well over time. Here's hoping that they continue to grow and take chances.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2013
When a band starts to evolve in such a way that they seem to no longer resemble their past output, there is always a risk of experiencing a disconnect as a listener. On the flip side, some artists have to grow in such a way to feel creative and relevant. I try to understand both viewpoints. As a listener, the best example I can think of of feeling left behind by a band I once championed would be Metallica. To this day, I cannot hear a song from the infamous Black album and not feel that I was never the intended audience. In short, fame was sought and achieved and in return, high school cheerleaders nationwide had "Enter Sandman" to craft a routine around. With "Yellow & Green", some of the same complaints were uttered. Even upon first listen, I was feeling confused and disappointed that yet another band was leaving behind a slew of top shelf material for possible attention elsewhere. After what feels like a thousand listens since then, I can assure you that I was completely wrong.
There is no doubt that Baroness has softened the surface level approach on this double album. For the most part, gone are the barrage of stampeding riffs and mammoth driving percussive rhythms. While the opening track "Take My Bones Away" starts things off in expected fashion, songs like "Little Things" opt for more air and my favorite track "Cocanium" gets more psychedelic and haunting. Move on to "Back Where I Belong" and you begin to see that where Baroness has stripped some of the heavier tinges, there is expert craftsmanship to these songs. As there is an ebb and flow from song to song where things morph between light, dark, heavy, moody and so on, there is no denying that time and effort went into making these songs meaningful on multiple levels.
I will admit that there is a small and dwindling part of myself that wonders if a time will come where Baroness is no longer recognizable. The more you experience these two discs, the more you realize that the evolution from "Blue Record" makes perfect sense. Still, the difference is also noticeable. For now, you can be certain that if you love Baroness' earlier output, "Yellow & Green" will occupy significant playing time in your stereo. It really is an accomplishment of rarefied air.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2012
Admittedly this is my first Baroness album, but holy crap, it is amazing! The songwriting on tracks like "March to the Sea" and "Cocainium" is top notch. I see a lot of die-hards on here who are bitter that their band didn't stick to writing the same album over and over. Don't listen to them. If you're a fan of great progessive hard-rock (I wouldn't even really call this metal) pick this album up. You don't be dissapointed. There's a reason it's on most 'best-of' lists of 2012.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2013
In most ways, any new music from Baroness is good music and there's nothing inherently wrong with Yellow & Green (Y&G). However, when the albums first came out I wasn't blown away by them in the same way I had been the first times listening to Red and to Blue. Some of the songs on Y&G seem more melodic and accessible than either previous release, but also less layered and deep. I don't think that opinion has changed in the months since they came out, but I think I've learned to appreciate them on their own merits and I find myself listening to the albums repeatedly. Y&G might be an easy entry point into Baroness' music, and once you find yourself wanting more the Blue and Red albums will really heighten the Baroness experience.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2014
Whether you've been weened on radio-rock, consider yourself an elite metal-head or gravitate towards prog-rock, Baroness would like a moment of your time. The Georgian outfit blurs the line between stoner sludge and melodic hard-rock on their third album, a double affair dubbed simply "Yellow & Green." Like most thirds in a band's career, "Yellow & Green" is an important step in the band's career, expanding upon their original sound and blowing expectations away. This is an all or nothing sort of album, and thankfully for the members of Baroness (who have since undergone a drastic line-up change), the effort has paid off.
Though it may seem dense and uninviting to a first time listener, "Yellow & Green's" 18 tracks are anything but. Tracks like "Take My Bones Away" and "Psalms Alive" are infectious and hard hitting, occupying that rarely explored space where heavy metal can be heavy and yet still be fun and inviting. Deeper cuts (and personal favorites) "Twinkler" and "Cocanium" show the band digging deeper, emerging with gorgeous melodies and sprawling sounds that recall the best of classic rock just as much as modern metal. While heavy music has a tendency to be one-dimensional at times, Baroness never fall into such a trap. Never throughout the album's hour and a quarter run-time does the album lag, as each song flows perfectly from one to the next, making for a seamless and satisfying experience.
While long-time fans are bound to be disappointed by the perceived lack of heaviness on "Yellow & Green," the average listener will gravitate to the wide open space it offers where good music is simply good music. Even if you are just hearing the name Baroness for the first time, you owe it to yourself to give this one a shot. Who knows what the future brings for these guys, but if this album is any indication, they have a very bright future ahead of them. If somebody tells you that rock is dead and there's nothing new under the sun, direct them to this piece of music.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2013
I actually first heard this album on YouTube, so kudos and thanks to whoever allowed the entire album to be posted. I thought it was a great blend of "stoner metal" and classic hard rock, without going one way or the other. The singer doesn't growl like Cookie Monster or scream incessantly. The guitar riffs range from funky, to 80s power chords, and into hypnotic melodies.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2013
I discovered Baroness with the Red album, then went back and picked up their earlier releases, and now have heard three more colors, so to speak ... and for my tastes, Red was the standout, by a considerable degree. That's the album with harsh/melodic/unpredictable tracks that I felt compelled to listen to again and again. Blue Record, for me, didn't have any 'slap it on repeat' tracks, and Yellow/Green is even less compelling than Blue. Bands change, sometimes it's a pleasant surprise, sometimes a disappointment. Guess I have to get busy searching out the next RED or BLOOD MOUNTAIN ...