Baroness has made a name for itself over the last decade as
one of the finest bands in the underground metal scene, playing with everyone
from High On Fire to Jane’s Addiction to Metallica. With the double record Yellow & Green, however, the Savannah foursome drops a
lot of the extreme metal trappings (like sludgy tempos and harsh vocals) for a
more expansive, melodic sound.
As with Baroness’ brother band Mastodon, there’s an emphasis
on progressive rock – “Mtns. (The Crown & Anchor),” “Cocainium” and “Psalms
Alive” flow through shifting moods and atmospheric textures beyond metal, while
“Back Where I Belong,” “Sea Lungs” and “Eula” form a psych/prog trilogy of sorts.
Elsewhere there’s the Queenesque majesty of “Green Theme,” the atmospheric pop
of “Collapse,” the instrumental acid folk of “Stretchmarker,” the groovy acid
rock of “Board Up the House” and the lilting coda “If I Forget Thee,
Lowcountry.” There’s also the straightaheadbanging of “The Line Between,” “March
to the Sea” and “Take My Bone Away” for the traditionalists.
If this sounds like the group is firing wildly in the hope
of hitting a target, fear not – through careful sequencing and the sonic consistency
of leader John Dyer Baizley’s voice and vision, the record never feels
scattershot. Yellow & Green documents the evolution of Baroness from great metal band to great band.
Where I Belong,” “Psalms Alive,” “Take My Bones Away” MICHAEL TOLAND