AlbumsSeptember 13, 20233,277 views

Baroness Stone

1. Embers 2. Last Word 3. Beneath the Rose 4. Choir 5. The Dirge 6. Anodyne 7. Shine 8. Magnolia 9. Under the Wheel 10. Bloom
2023 Abraxan Hymns
Our score 8

by Jake

The evolution of a band from one style to another can often come with growing pains, especially if that transition is a linear path from one distinct set of ideas to another. There have been plenty of bands which fans have deemed ‘sellouts’ when an act seem to tone down their approach for a wider appeal. While from an artistic standpoint there are reasons to be perturbed at this notion but ‘going soft’ doesn’t always mean selling out, nor does it always indicate a drop in quality. In fact a transition to a different style can often bring to bear ideas and skills that a band could have previously been sacrificing on the altar of heaviness. Baroness is one such act that has been spreading their creative wings in the last few years and across quite a few albums. The sludge metal tones of their earlier material have consistently waned in favor of a fascination with progressive ideas, more dynamics, and the bane of many a metalhead: melody. 

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It’s been around four years since Gold & Grey, Baroness’ most recent outing, and in that time there of course have been the lots of global events that I’m sure we’re all tired of talking about but that more than likely had an effect on this album due the interval between then and the release of Stone. As we have seen in the past, sometimes this creative burst can create some incredible things for some acts and has led to somewhat bloated releases for others. With Stone, we get about 46 minutes of new songs and ideas which for a band like Baroness that leans into progressive ideas, seems about right. Now, does taking up all this time end up being worth it?  



As Stone begins, there are some predictable tones and ideas that take the stage but by the time “Beneath The Rose” kicks in there are some bold choices that evoke the laid back noise punk stylings of acts like Chat Pile and the more extreme sludge acts such as KEN Mode. The three-song run of “Beneath The Rose”, “The Choir” and “The Dirge” are one of the strongest segments that they’ve ever recorded by fusing this all-out aggression, devil-may-care punk rock, and wrapping it up with the Beatles-esque harmonies they have been toying with for a few albums. While these tracks are the bulk of the risky business to be heard on the album there are quite a few other ideas that, while familiar, are presented with more confidence than in the past. Keeping the production flexible helps with these varied ideas as well, such as how things shift on the guitar solo of “Last Word” and the space and atmosphere of “Shine.” The latter has a brilliant fade-out that toys with ambient ideas while dovetailing perfectly with the folky beginnings of “Magnolia.” “Choir” may be the song that exemplifies this idea the most, however, with vocal and drum effects that change and deepen as the song progresses into a maelstrom of paranoia. 



Perhaps some would argue that the best bands never stop growing and changing and this seems to be the path that Baroness has chosen and is in some ways the true meaning of the ‘progressive’ genre. What’s more appealing about Stone is just how fully baked the ideas are and even the new wrinkles feel more securely and confidently performed.  Deftly swerving from progressive sludge to folksy layered harmony and back to some of the most menacing material that this band has ever put to tape takes a certain amount of swagger and Baroness have it to spare. The confident trudging into new areas doesn’t taper off as the album settles in, as even the final songs see sprinkles of innovation. “Under the Wheel” has some light industrial leanings mixed with sludge’s more easy going cousin, doom metal, and lays into a groove that will doubtless get heads banging if and when this track is performed live. The final track lets Stone end in a pensive, acoustic ballad that puts a nice bow on things while reaching back to the beginning of the record. While the album itself may not feel bloated in terms of length, there are a whole host of new sounds being employed on this record and one song barely feels like another. It’s ultimately up to the listener to determine if this is a strength or a failing on the part of Baroness or somewhere in between. 

Bottom Line: Stone is Baroness’ most daring, diverse, and confident album in a long time, possibly ever. While many of the disparate styles that are represented hardly feel adjacent to each other, this is a band that can make an island of misfit tones seem more like a family reunion than a commuter bus of strangers. It can’t be overstated just how dynamic this record is, ranging from aggressively bold to delicately fragile. Stone may take some time to settle in with long-time fans but those who give it the time it deserves will be treated to a record that is dense, powerful, and potentially the most rewarding risk of this band’s storied discography. 


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anonymous 20 days ago

Oooohhh sorry Baroness, you're just shy of Zulu level good

easyhateoven 20 days ago


anonymous 20 days ago

Never understood the appeal of this band. They sound kinda boring to me.

easyhateoven 20 days ago

Nice try, Jake

anonymous 20 days ago

Gina's feet!

anonymous 20 days ago

Its good but its no Zulu

anonymous 20 days ago

Needs more black guys for extra points.

anonymous 20 days ago

Chat pile???

anonymous 19 days ago

Gina's feet? What? Are they hot or something? Send links for wanking.

anonymous 18 days ago

This band has always been utterly unremarkable and entirely forgettable. They're the unflavored yogurt of metal.

anonymous 18 days ago

This album is by far the best they've released. Has direction, emotion, and quality production. 5/5 for "Stone"

NorthFromHere 18 days ago

^^Based on the singles I strongly disagree. And I don't care about hearing the whole album because the last one sucked.

anonymous 13 days ago

So what is Zulu? Why havent i heard of them?

anonymous 13 days ago

^fkn P O S E R

anonymous 12 days ago

Does this person get paid by the word? So much guessing at what the band is thinking, SO MANY ADJECTIVES, so little meat . IS IT GOOD?

Bortslob 9 days ago

I'm a fan of baroness. This album stinks

anonymous 1 day ago

Gay. Baroness hasn't been good since '09.