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Baroness The Red Album

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01. Rays on Pinion 02. Birthing MP3 03. Isak 04. Wailing Wintry Wind 05. Cockroach en Fleur 06. Wanderlust 07. Aleph 08. Teeth of a Cogwheel 09. O'Appalachia 10. Grad
2007 Relapse Records
Our score 9

by Casey Boland
10/8/2007

Advance word from the rock crit intelligentsia is that Baroness is the Next Big Heavy Thing. Of course they also said that about The Sword (a rather pebble-sized over-hyped entry into the "stoner rock" annals). Word of mouth from music writers is usually thinly veiled corporate-purchased PR anyway. But it's hard to deny the Ozzfest or Headbangers Ball opportunities on Baroness' horizon while listening to The Red Album. That isn't to say they've altered their sound to appeal to the Slipknot T-shirt wearing masses. Quite the contrary: Baroness perfected everything they've done before and created one of the finer debut full-lengths in recent memory. People far beyond the DIY underground will be sure to notice. On previous releases (First, Second, split with Unpersons), Savannah's heaviest trawled the thick, metal muck in similar fashion to locals Kylesa, Neurosis or the band they're most compared to, Mastodon. The band clearly took great strides to grow from their baby Mastodon status into a grown ass Baroness. They haven't altered the basic formula: their songs hinge on southern-fried metal riffs and thunderous bass and drum tempests, all winding through serpentine song structures. Previously these songs could sound like an album in and of themselves, at their worst coming off disjointed or forced. But on The Red Album, they explore the power of repetition. Most beneficial to the new record is the streamlining of the songwriting. No, they haven't enlisted the song doctors to prescribe healthy verse-chorus-verse ringtone ready jingles. But in contrast to much of their back catalog, each song does not feature a dozen plus parts. They've discovered the effectiveness of allowing their songs to flow. This gives both guitars room to explore in different directions and then converging for great NWOBHM sounding riff-frenzied moments. "Rays on Pinion" sums up The Red Album's assets: killer, catchy as mono in a game of spin the bottle riffs wailing atop a concrete solid bass line and tasteful drum patterns. The brief riff at 0:35 is easily the best moment of the entire record. A southern-style prog rock vignette, it's gone in seconds but latches onto the brain for weeks' worth of enjoyment. Had the entire record been as brilliant as that tiny burst of genius, we'd have the Biggest Rock Record of the decade on our hands. Immediately noticeable is the "sung" vocals found throughout. Indeed, the harsh Aaron Turner-like shouting remains. Yet equal vocal time is devoted to a newer, thick melodic style that sounds reminiscent of Steve Brooks of Torche/Floor. It works, in so far as Baroness (like Mastodon) have always been wanting for vocals as impressive as their music. They still haven't quite solved that dilemma, but they're improving. Vocals or not (nearly half the record is instrumental), Baroness glide through hulking metallic moments and proggier, quieter sections with aplomb. "Aleph" demonstrates this paradigm nicely, while "Cockroach En Fleur" is nothing more than finger-plucked acoustic down 'n dirty Deep South bluesy guitar. "Teeth of a Cogwheel" stomps along like an early 80s classic cock rock anthem, perhaps "Eye of the Tiger." Some of the material could have used a chop or two. Repetition has its place, but those of us not in the band (and/or smoking a spliff), may be hitting the scan button. Still, Baroness unload a heavy album displaying their tremendous instrumental prowess and an ever-increasing ability to craft memorable songs, a skill most metal bands of all stripes fail to perfect. Bottom Line: Those hungry for something special, something truly kick ass, something worth listening to in a time when most everything disappoints should check out The Red Album. It's easily Baroness' shining moment, though no song matches their towering classic, "Son of Sun."

67 comments

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theoneironaut_ 10/8/2007 9:52:09 AM

a nine? everyone I know loves this album. what's wrong with me, i think this is like a four at best, but then again I dont like anything that wasnt recorded inside a black metal musicians jerk.


anonymous 10/8/2007 9:57:01 AM

If you expect this album to rock...it doesn't


joe_ 10/8/2007 10:04:21 AM

why would I listen to an album where apparently the best part of the record is 35 seconds into the first song? wouldn't that mean the rest is a letdown?


anonymous 10/8/2007 10:10:26 AM

this album is bananas. the vocals kill it.


anonymous 10/8/2007 10:14:19 AM

great record


cmd_ 10/8/2007 10:36:21 AM

love this band but i just can not get into this record.


elliot_ 10/8/2007 10:37:40 AM

Great band, but this album really could have been better. A 7 at the most.


din_ 10/8/2007 10:48:09 AM

Decent album but not a f*cking 9.


Devin_ 10/8/2007 10:49:20 AM

Great album - I can agree with this nine.


evilf22_ 10/8/2007 10:49:36 AM

no f*cking 9 ever. 6-7 seems right


arty_mcfarty_ 10/8/2007 10:53:13 AM

great review.....keep up the good work soldier


truthsayer_ 10/8/2007 10:54:23 AM

I think it's time to call a moratorium on the term "southern-fried" when describing music -- it's overused and it makes no sense.


ohiokillsyou_ 10/8/2007 10:59:01 AM

9 works for me. This album jams.


Nick_ 10/8/2007 11:12:11 AM

This album is awesome.


Rachel_ 10/8/2007 11:25:28 AM

one of the most fantastic, solid, complete albums i've ever heard. best of 07. i hope good things come to this band.


anonymous 10/8/2007 11:41:37 AM

0:35 into the first song is noise.


Fur_Beach_ 10/8/2007 12:42:26 PM

I don't like this one nearly as much as one or two, but it still f*cking slays 99% of this years other metal releases.


xote_ 10/8/2007 1:35:03 PM

Love this f*cking record vocals are really strong I think.


pinkmaggiit_ 10/8/2007 1:38:25 PM

great review. one of my top 3 or '07 for sure.


deadwithfear_ 10/8/2007 2:11:54 PM

agreed on Son of Sun being their best song by far. but i couldn't get into this album.


Cory_ 10/8/2007 2:25:03 PM

My name is Cory and I approve this message. Kick ass album. If I wasn't so f*cking busy, this would've been a Cory 9/10 instead of a Casey one. Either way, glad to see this record get its props.


observethemoon_ 10/8/2007 3:04:05 PM

great album, awful review.


thalassa_ 10/8/2007 3:21:30 PM

this review seems to tread the line between the muck of the usual 'Goat reviews and the pretentiousness at the 'Fork. I like it.


anonymous 10/8/2007 3:21:41 PM

i was so disappointed in this album. so much filler! it sounds like 3 great baroness songs unwinded into 10 mediocre baroness songs. music also seems dumbed-down, not as technical. drummer still brings the goods but the guitars and vocals are mediocre.


anonymous 10/8/2007 3:22:34 PM

*unwound


hotaction_ 10/8/2007 5:00:52 PM

this album is a 7 at best. just doesnt do it for me. its the bastard son of some kind of mastodon/pelican drunken lovin' session. old stuff ripped way more.


Bodo_ 10/8/2007 5:37:38 PM

Cory was too busy sucking c-cks to give this album a 9/10. Am I right, guys?


anonymous 10/8/2007 5:51:59 PM

shit album, shit review.


arsonist_ 10/8/2007 5:53:57 PM

one of the best of '07 easily, along with Given To The Rising.


thealmightyjim_ 10/8/2007 6:23:48 PM

I'm not so hip on the review but this album is f*cking incredible. f*ck anyone who doesn't like it.


anonymous 10/8/2007 6:36:26 PM

way overrated. I could barely listen to that mp3


embraceofdarkness_ 10/8/2007 6:40:05 PM

saw both baroness and torche live.....god they suck...and baroness has a drummer that moves like a gay while he's playing.9/10????get real.


grudgeagainstastranger_ 10/8/2007 7:43:08 PM

i seem like the only one who wasn't blown away by this. second > red album.


kingben_ 10/8/2007 9:02:34 PM

what am i missing? this shit is boring. i listened to this album a few times and not one moment grabbed me and made me want give it any more attention than i already wasted on it. this shit just plain sucks.


jeff_ 10/9/2007 12:09:35 AM

this album is the bigest disapointment of 2007.


john_ 10/9/2007 12:31:50 AM

terrible. this album got a ton of press, but they for sure to not, do not deserve it. there are better bands that deserve the press. relapse, stop wasting your money!


Alec_ 10/9/2007 2:00:47 AM

Shit band


kyriakos_ 10/9/2007 3:21:20 AM

nice album but waaaaaaaaaaaaaayyy overrated...


Chad_ 10/9/2007 9:14:36 AM

Love this album, but a 9 is pushing it and pretty confusing when you seemingly follow each pro with a con. Oh yeah, and this record is a little more than just Rays on Pinion.


anonymous 10/9/2007 1:30:10 PM

after reading this review i was expecting this CD to be killer (with the 9 rating) and personally i find it extremely boring.


RustyPS_ 10/9/2007 4:44:14 PM

Baroness are great, but so is The Sword.


anonymous 10/9/2007 5:33:01 PM

the vocals make me want to shit on my own ears so I dont have to listen anymore. Its like a mix between fear factory and newer Mastodon vocal styles, expect not in key or good. Just do art John, your band is lame


anonymous 10/9/2007 9:20:27 PM

this album is so disappointing and boring...moving to another label ruins another great band


voidvod_ 10/10/2007 2:10:38 AM

To the Negative Nancys here: If you don't like this record that's all well and fine, but if you're going to take the time to post a negative comment at least put some sort of thought into it instead of just some juvenile one liner reaction (oh wait...I just realized where I am). This record really isn't all that bad, it just can't be viewed through the lense of being a "metal" record, this is more of a meandering heavy rock album than anything else that has some good moments. I mean let's get re


blah_ 10/10/2007 3:10:08 AM

i take it you never listened to everything they released before this.


voidvod_ 10/10/2007 3:35:02 AM

"i take it you never listened to everything they released before this." If this is in reference to my comment: I take it you skimmed my post, read again. I saw this band when they started early on years ago several times while living in VA. I own their old shit and bought them at the shows.


Zampano_ 10/10/2007 9:49:27 AM

What what what? No one making fun of the reviewer? Could this be a LG first? Good review, good album, good reviewer.


dibky_ 10/10/2007 11:37:37 AM

good album, but 9's don't get old after a few spins.


Travis Aker_ 10/10/2007 2:02:43 PM

You give this album a nine but yet give The Between The Buried and Me a six what is wrong with you f*cking people this band f*cking sucks has like the worst band name ever called Baroness. If the Red Baron was listening to this album he would commit sucide not even pull out his parachute.


random dude_ 10/10/2007 2:22:09 PM

BTBAM are f*cking overrated and lame, try listening to something else besides metalcore gay-t-ts. Baroness kills live.


solideogloria_ 10/10/2007 4:09:59 PM

lol @ kid who thinks BTBAM is better than Baroness. This record ain't a 9. I miss old Baroness, not that this is horrible or anything. but First >>>>>


Travis Aker_ 10/10/2007 8:48:58 PM

Between The Buried and Me isn't Metalcore. Besides this album and the guys voice is horrible and doesn't even sound good at all. I would take Despised Icon over these motherf*ckers any day of the week


robert_ 10/10/2007 8:49:30 PM

"Rays on Pinion" that's tight


assvomit_ 10/11/2007 12:59:25 AM

"Between The Buried and Me isn't Metalcore" HAHAHhaha... "The Pope isn't Catholic"


smokeoutloud_ 10/11/2007 10:15:09 AM

their shining moment??? kidding u r. Not their best, the early stuff was where its at. Most bands that have an early effort that is worthy seem to always shit the bed. This is that kind of album. I'm going now to listen to the new HOF, they have not fallen which is more i can say of most heavy bands.....


Travis Aker_ 10/11/2007 5:32:38 PM

It just amazes me sometimes you people have a lousy taste of bands sometimes, except for when you reviewed Engineer now thats a good band.


random dude_ 10/11/2007 8:05:41 PM

Your taste in terrible run of the mill bands that no one will care about in 10 years like BTBAM amazes me. Although I agree Engineer is good but Botch was better.


Phil_ 10/12/2007 2:07:59 PM

I'm pretty new to Baroness, and I dig. I completely agree that the older material is much better, but I really enjoyed this too. I think a 9 is a bit high, this is something you kind of need to be in a certain mood to listen to, but good stuff nonetheless.


anonymous 10/15/2007 10:36:20 AM

what f*cking riff? its just 3 ambiguous hums at :035


crustcake gerf_ 10/15/2007 6:44:24 PM

This album has grown on me-- a lot-- since first listen. The Sword may have been over-hyped, but I still heart them. Like, lots.


fuck it_ 10/20/2007 12:57:32 PM

Reviews are somone's biased opinion so everyone stop get so heated and negative about a review you don't like. Half the people on here would get ripped to pieces if they tried to review a cd. Baroness is the shit. But not to everyone.


MAOI_ 11/7/2007 11:33:07 AM

This album is disappointment. It lacks the heaviness and solid riffing of the first two ep's. Most of the songs tend to bleed into one other, and nothing truly stands out. Their split with unpersons is killer, and captures that Baroness sound I appreciate. The talent is there, but the execution on "Red Album" was flawed.


XHXBX_ 11/8/2007 5:28:01 PM

ehh its ok


NERD_ 1/31/2008 3:56:58 PM

AMAZING!


fucky0u_ 2/12/2008 4:13:24 PM

the vocals are truly grating. not in a good way either.


nah sun_ 10/13/2008 4:10:03 AM

Baroness knows Destro's Secret! This album is t-ts. I want to f*ck Baroness. She had that monacle and black hair, and a pair of soft breasts. much better ass than Scarlet's or even Jinx's. She looks like that porn star Belladonna. If you think this album sucks then shame on you. Go up there and tell that nigga i want a chicken sandwich and some waffle fries! for free!


tylerdurdentylerdurden_ 2/5/2009 1:06:49 PM

quite possibly one of the best albums i have ever listened to