"Stone" (Abraxan Hymns; 2023)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Stone" is the sixth album by Baroness, and it's got all the stuff that you'd expect from a Baroness album. It's an unpredictable, brilliantly performed and produced album that surrounds you with music and dares you to reach for the STOP button (spoiler alert: You can't).

"Stone" starts with the soft whisper of "Embers," a gentle, misleading tune that makes you wonder if this journey is going to take you where you thought it was. At almost exactly the one-minute mark, however, "Last Word" kicks in with rollicking guitars and sweeping melodies. It's an epic song with stunning leads and a driving rhythm section. "Beneath the Rose" is next and, although it takes a second (34 of them, actually), it lights up with an irresistible riff that morphs into something much more complex. John Baizley's spoken word vocals here give the song an aura of sincerity that boosts the entire track. I don't know why, but I was reminded of Johnny Cash at times.

The third track, "Choir," delivers another irresistible riff that draws you through the eerie track effortlessly. "The Dirge" is next, another easy, gentle tune that sounds a little like a sea ditty, with lots of atmosphere and story-telling. Impressive, for its 1:19 running time.

The album continues from that point on, delivering some heavy prog metal sounds and additional epic tunes like "Magnolia," with its 7:49 runtime. However, "Bloom," the final track, lets us go gently into that good night with its guitar/vocals simplicity and smooth tenderness.

Throughout, the lyrics are thoughtful and filled with emotion. It's one of those albums that you feel smarter just listening to. If you're tired of lyrics about screwing and partying, you'll find something more to sink your teeth into here.

Baroness are well thought-of in the music community because of their determined, individual style and their amazing musical talent. "Stone" is yet another great example of a terrific band at work.

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"The Red Album" (Relapse; 2007)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Enigmatic foursome Baroness keep a tight lip on many inter-band elements—such as the origin of their name, departing members, and even the title of their latest album—yet this secrecy hasn't thwarted the group from releasing a captivating new release with "The Red Album," the unit's first full-length affair. 

Drawing as much from ambient metalgaze as they do flag-waving Southern rock, tracks like the hypnotic "Wailing Wintry Wind" and the sonic crush of "Isak" demonstrate this Savannah, GA act's command of dynamics and comprehension on how to create an epic piece of work. 

As bold as it is beautiful, Baroness maintain a mystique throughout this 11-track endeavor whose grandiose feel carries from the colossal opener "Rays On Pinion" until the last note heard on the somber and soothing "O' Appalachia."

If you're looking for something refreshing yet still unbridled, this is the album to sink your teeth into, as everything from quiet acoustic passages to rifftastic NWOBHM twin guitars are included on this mammoth disc sure to thrust Baroness into metal's upper echelon.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright © 2023 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.