Baroness – Blue Record

baroness-blue-record

By Gruesome Greg

You could say that I’m leaving the best for last. Before I’d even heard a note of this record, I knew that it was going to be on several people’s Top 10 lists for 2009. Those are some pretty lofty expectations, yet I’d hafta say the critics have a point. This Blue Record goes from heavy to melodic to acoustic and back, offering something for all fans of heavy rock; from Priestess to Pentagram, Angel Witch to Acid Witch, Kansas to Jerusalem…

While “A Horse Called Golgotha” is the so-called college-radio single, I prefer its predecessor, the doomy “Ogeechee Hymnal”. This record’s getting good buzz in true doom circles, although several slow-motion headbangers have a beef with John Baizley’s vocals. Bobby Liebling, he is not, but I think they’re just bitter that the success of Baroness is dragging Peter Adams away from Valkyrie…

Alas, this isn’t a record that can be taken in small doses, on a track-by-track basis. You gotta listen to the whole thing, in its 45-minute glory, and experience all the changes in tempo, in mood, in feeling. And man, this record really has feeling. When they dubbed “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,” the prison guard’s request that the inmates play piu forte became “more feeling.” Granted, that flick’s 40 years old, but if he wanted more feeling, in hindsight, he coulda just said “Play some Baroness”…

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RATING: 8.5

Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.