Baroness - Yellow & Green
Relapse Records
Alternative/Progressive Rock
Disc 1: 9 songs (39'44) Disc 2: 9 songs (35'15)
Release year: 2012
Relapse Records
Reviewed by Milan

Three years after their previous album Blue Record, which was praised not only by most of the metal community but also by a lot of the mainstream press, Baroness return with Yellow & Green, a double album that sees them move away even more from their sludge roots, if not abandon them completely. This might concern quite a few fans, especially those that weren’t all too happy with Blue Record’s more melodic approach and were hoping for a return to their original rawer sludge sound. Yet this concern is unwarranted because, after giving this album some time to grow, it is quite clear that despite their major change in sound Baroness have crafted a great set of songs that should please at least some old fans and gain them some new ones in the process.

Baroness’ shift in style shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been following their career. From their raw, sludgy ep’s, through the more progressive Red Album and then Blue Record, they have been refining their sound, gradually removing the rawer edges and slowly moving towards the rock end of the music spectrum and away from metal. That's not to say that this doesn't sound like Baroness anymore. The band's trademark solo's are still present (Take My Bones Away, Little Things), the heavier riffing -though used more sparingly- is all but gone and the use of vocal harmonies isn't new either (Twinkler being a prime example, they might as well have called it Steel That Sleeps the Eye Part 2).

On the other hand would it be quite foolish to deny that this is a major shift in style for Baroness. For one, they have never been this poppy: songs such as the single Take My Bones Away and March to the Sea just beg you to sing along. The guitars only add to this accessibility: they're not as punchy as before, their main goal being to carry the vocal harmonies instead of urging you to bang your head.

Baroness are definitely trying a lot of new things on this album and luckily they have the songs to pull it off, the best ones being featured on Yellow. At first I was a bit underwhelmed but through time songs such as Take My Bones Away, March to the Sea, Little Things (which I hated at first) and the best ballad I’ve heard this year, Eula, got stuck in my head and wouldn’t leave for days. That doesn’t mean that Green is an absolute snoozefest because it isn’t. Green Theme kicks everything into gear, Board Up the House and Mtns. (The Crown and Anchor) have a great laid back summer vibe and Psalms Alive’s use of electronics is pulled off tremendously. But this is still a double album and it suffers from the main weakness most double albums suffer from: filler. Especially Green’s middle section is plagued by this, making it the weaker disc of the two.

So overall a lot has changed, whether those changes have been for the better or for the worse will depend on the listener and his expectations of what a Baroness record should sound like. What is absolutely clear though is that, despite this being barely metal anymore, this is still clearly Baroness. So I encourage everyone, whether they’ve been a fan of Baroness or not, to give this album a listen because it does contain some of the best songs I’ve heard this year. This is a great rock album that had the potential of being a fantastic record had it not been for a few songs that didn't live up to the rest of the material. Nevertheless, definitely recommended for those with an open mind.

Killing Songs :
Take My Bones Away, March to the Sea, Eula, Green Theme, Board Up the House, Psalms Alive
Milan quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Baroness that we have reviewed:
Baroness - Purple reviewed by Andy and quoted 82 / 100
Baroness - Blue Record reviewed by James and quoted 86 / 100
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