Baroness – Gold & Grey (Album Review)

Baroness – Gold & Grey
Released: 14th June 2019

Baroness Lineup

John Baizley // Vocals & Guitar
Nick Jost // Bass
Gina Gleason // Guitar
Sebastian Thomson // Drums

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Keeping up the kaleidoscopic escapades, Baroness have spun their colour wheel and mixed together the raw material of this Georgian four piece to smear an aural canvas with Gold & Grey.

Right from the beginning of ‘Front Towards Enemy’, the guitar tone is very Torche. A gritty, sludgy rumbling underneath John Baizley’s iconically smooth voice. Immediately recognisable as Baroness but with a progressive polish that was somewhat lacking on the previous few albums. As the album opener, it had raised my expectations to towering heights for the rest of the album, as this is the perfect theme to bring along for the bouncy, intoxicating ride. ‘I’m Already Gone’ follows up with an emotionally draining, yet wonderfully exciting concoction. Eddying adrift the slow moving, dark river of the riff, Baizley’s vocals are yet again the perfect complement to round everything together in a perfect package.

Single, ‘Seasons’ is no different. Following the trend of progressive brilliance, Sebastian Thomson shows his utter skill and creativity on the drums; filling every available space with a fill or a superbly timed flourish on the high hats. The depth of the music is increased tenfold due to his work on the album. One of my favourite moments on the album is during ‘Tourniquet’ when Thomson is bashing away on the ride cymbal in this brief moment of between two verses. Or the introduction to ‘Throw Me an Anchor’, where a tom fill that is repeated throughout the song kicks everything off. Little additions like that bring the level of the music much higher, make it sound much more complex and frankly, make it much more enjoyable to listen to.

After this point, the album takes a sharp tonal shift – two acoustic songs follow – they are welcome additions but, a bit jarring. Nonetheless, they do allow Gina Gleason to harmonise underneath the music, adding an ethereality that would be hard to find anywhere else. ‘Emmet – Radiating Light’ is fucking beautiful; the way it progresses and fades into ‘Cold Blooded Angels’ could force tears from a stone statue. The construction of the song is expert, layer by layer it becomes a mite louder, faster, stronger, until the listener is all but bellowing along, their tear stained face shaking atop their body that cannot help but to bob and weave along to Nick Jost’s bass as it pushes everything onwards and ever upwards.

The latter third of the album is a conundrum. The first third has a superb dynamic between the more pounding string combinations and less sludgy additions. The second third is a slower shift but no less satisfying in its creativity and emotion. The last third; contains the brilliant single ‘Borderlines’, a satisfyingly moody and exceptional return to Baroness for those who have been away, but yet, the rest leaves a bit to be desired. And after much gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair, I conclude that it’s the glut of interludes. Every song is bookended by them and it severely breaks the feeling you get from listening to those songs. I had a recurring feeling of finishing the album, which is long, and instead of feeling like I had just listened to a collection of the best songs of Baroness’ career, I felt put out and underwhelmed.

Overall, the greatness of the songs Gold & Grey cannot be overstated. Baroness have crafted the most enjoyable songs of their entire discography; hitting the sludgy, gritty highlights, and the acoustic, emotional ones too. The overemphasis on interludes has hindered the album somewhat but does not change the fact that every song on this album is a revelation.

Baroness - Gold & Grey

Baroness – Gold & Grey tracklisting

  1. Front Towards Enemy
  2. I’m Already Gone
  3. Seasons
  4. Sevens
  5. Tourniquet
  6. Anchor’s Lament
  7. Throw Me an Anchor
  8. I’d Do Anything
  9. Blankets of Ash
  10. Emmet – Radiating Light
  11. Cold-Blooded Angels
  12. Crooked Mile
  13. Broken Halo
  14. Can Oscura
  15. Borderlines
  16. Assault on East Falls
  17. Pale Sun

Rating: 4/5
Gold & Grey is Out Now. Grab a copy here
Review by: Dylonov Tomasivich

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