For a lot of years Baroness has been one of my favorite bands. They have gone through a multitude of changes leading to their fifth studio release, now down to one founding member as a result of a traumatic 2012 bus accident that almost claimed their lives, relocating their home base to Philadelphia. The band is as diverse as they come stylistically. I get anxious to listen to a Baroness album because you truly never know what you’re going to get, but what you do know is that the album will be named after a color (or two) and that it will be really, really good.
From the very beginning of Gold & Grey Baroness had my full attention. “Front Towards Enemy,” the record’s first track, is engaging and fun. The introduction has a brief chant (and by now you have to know I LOVE chants) and the bass-driven riff that drives the track takes center stage. “I’m Already Gone” leaves the momentum from the first track behind and takes the slow route. For me, the highlight of this song is the absolutely mesmerizing bass line the song forms around. “Seasons” was one of the pre-released singles and is a very catchy tune. It starts slow and gradually builds, but with that comes a very heavy shift and a double down in tempo.
“Tourniquet” is one of the highlights of the album for me. The track picks up after “Sevens,” a piano interlude. It starts of as an acoustic ballad that adds double time drums and a driving bass line and just picks up to a slower-paced, but very heavy breakdown with a solid groove. “Throw Me an Anchor” has a cool prog-punk feel to it, is uptempo and offers one of the biggest and catchiest chorus lines on the album. The guitar riff used in transition is incredibly technical and very well done.
The album transitions into a few slow, instrumental-driven tracks and interludes that are as unique as any other track on the effort. “I’d Do Anything” has that big ballad feel with melancholy melodies and a deep bass synthesizer tone that keeps the it feeling heavy. “Blankets of Ash” is easily my favorite of the interludes, giving off the feeling of a war zone with the melodic acoustic guitar being interrupted by what sounds like a bomb. “Emmett: Radiating Light” stays passive and serene throughout where “Cold: Blooded Angels” starts soft and picks back up, transitioning the album back to a heavier feel. “Crooked Mile” reminds me of a broken music box with that distorted, off-pace sound.
“Broken Halo” picks back up the tempo and melodic sounds from earlier in the album. This track particularly brings me back in with heavy themes and a big-time chorus. “Borderlines” has another unique, upbeat bass line that pushes the song forward in a big way. The song has a wide open, almost hollow and haunting chorus that eventually gives way to a heavy synth break and guitar solo that makes me feel like 70’s psychedelic rock is alive and well (and I am on board)!
The album ends with “Pale Sun” which is, in a lot of ways, a culmination of the album. It features a heavy, driving bass riff, engaging group vocals and chants, a prevalent synthesizer (which appears to make video game-esque sounds during a brief solo) and ends in a haunting yet musical chant that I can only imagine would give me the chills in a live format.
Coming in at 17 tracks and just over an hour long, Baroness has done it again. Gold & Grey is at times experimental and progressive but is every bit as heavy and unique throughout as anything the band has ever done. These guys are talented musicians for sure, and their most recent work did not disappoint! The album is available everywhere now!
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