Reviews Baroness Purple

Baroness

Purple

Through their career, Baroness has spawned a series of excellent works. From their early Mastodon-ian EPs to the evolution of their own unique sound with Red Album and Blue Record and the adventurous routes that led to the release of their most ambitious work Yellow & Green, the band has remained a constant force in heavy music. A horrendous accident while touring in the UK put a sudden halt to the band, which combined with the change of the line-up and the decision to release their upcoming album on their own, made intensely more interesting to see what the next work of Baroness would bring to the table.

Since Baroness choose to name their albums after colours, it is quite interesting to try and make some more sense of what these colours actually specify. I am not going to start on a philosophical journey to find the meaning of the colour purple, but I do find it very interesting that purple is the combination of red and blue, Baroness first and second album colours (and titles.) In a sense, Purple bridges a gap between the band's debut and sophomore album with their double album, Yellow & Green. Where Yellow & Green underwent a more mellow approach, leaving behind part of the band's history in terms of their heavy sound, Purple manages to bring these two aspects together. Additionally, it is also the record where Baroness allow themselves to go into further experimentations, leading to moments of psychedelic quality.

The basis of Purple still lies on Baroness heavy rock core, ranging from the pummelling down riffs of “Morningstar” and the dirty, sludge-oid attitude of “Desperation Burns” to more sensitive moments. “Chlorine & Wine” is such an instance of a warmer, more welcoming sound even though it still will unleash hell at times. Apart from the weight of heavy rock, Baroness also awaken a certain urgency that is derived from the genre. “Shock Me” and “The Iron Bell” are such instances, taking on a more rock 'n' roll feel, while keeping their emotive approach at hand. Further additions such as an acoustic guitar on the background further expand the magical horizons of the music.

Baroness however do not simply rely on the heavy rock presence and the emotional depth of their songs. In Purple they make some courageous moves into additional musical realms. Historically, the band has made use of more ambient moments of solitary quality, something that is also revisited in this album with moments such as the opening of “Chlorine & Wine” and the addition of alien-like effects in “If I Have to Wake Up (Would You Stop The Rain),” managing to awaken an otherworldly atmosphere. The band even goes as far as to dip into dub moments, as the excellent interlude “Fugue” lets on.

Still, the main aspect that seems to have been expanded and comes more into the spotlight with Purple, is the band's psychedelic tendencies. Even though those were apparent in all the previous Baroness' albums, in this instance they have a larger impact on the overall sound. The keyboards specifically in tracks such as “Shock Me” and “Desperation Burns” create a trippy ambient scenery with an intriguing mystical essence. The effects are also presented in such a tasteful manner in this record, as to compliment the main structure of the music and aid in transitions between different moments, as is the case with both “Morningstar” and “Try To Disappear.”

With Purple, Baroness return rejuvenated. Through the forty minutes of the album they are able to pay tribute to all their history, from the early sludge-oid days of the First and Second EPs, the heavy rock extension of Red Album, the transition stage of Blue Record and the sensitivity of Yellow & Green. All this information is preserved in Purple and the band builds music that is heavy, but yet sensitive and filled with hooks.

8.9 / 10Spyros Stasis
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8.9 / 10

8.9 / 10

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