Review: Baroness – Purple – Abraxan Hymns – Release: December 18th, 2015.
The future was bright for Baroness. Their first two albums “The Red Album” and the “Blue Record” were highly praised pieces of work, filled with an impressive mix of sludge metal with progressive elements, and while their third album “Yellow & Green” from 2011 received mixed opinions for being a lot softer they were on a roll.
Then in 2012 disaster struck as the band suffered a massive bus crash, leaving several people severly injured. The new album’s title “Purple” reflects the heavy period of recuperation that followed, yet it is by far meant to be a downer of an album, quite the contrary!
John Baizley – Vocals, Guitar
Pete Adams – Guitar, Vocals
Nick Jost – Bass, Keyboards
Sebastian Thomson – Drums
Right off the bat people will want to know which side of Baroness the new album will show, so if you were hoping for a return to the first, and in small part second, album you might be in for a bit of a disappointment.
However, if you, like me, quite enjoyed “Yellow & Green” you will be happy to hear that “Purple” is more along the lines of the harsher songs of that double album, albeit with the occasional heaviness reminiscent of the first albums.
Instead of an intro song or a long intro piece like with the first album’s ‘Rays on Pinion’ the band jumps straight into it with ‘Morningstar’ which manages to mix the heaviness of yore with the more melodic recent side of the band. John’s voice is so recognisable that you’ll be right at home. Having Peter alongside him handling the guitar duties keeps that familiar sound in there and whilst Nick and Sebastian are the new kids on bass and drums respectively they keep up the catchy rhythm that especially “Yellow & Green” brought forth so well.
Fans will have already heard the first two released songs ‘Chlorine and Wine’ and ‘Shock Me’ and they form a great bridge from the previous album into the new one, mixing up the melody and heaviness in a way the band really excels at.
Yet, like said before there’s still plenty of heaviness in there and a song like ‘Desperation Burns’ will be sure to be a heavy crowd banger to shout along to.
And in typical fashion the band ends the album by dipping into their melancholic side with ‘If I have to Wake Up (Would You Stop the Rain)’, yet with the dual leads there it’s so unmistakably Baroness.
There will probably be detractors yet again, but this album is still definitely Baroness, combing elements of old with new infusions here and there. The album has a certain flow that keeps the songs going on right into each other, while each song still retains its own identity.
It might be a bit of a grower, but after having listened to “Purple” for quite a few times this album will end up in my own top ten for 2015 for sure.
Score: 4.7 out of 5
- Shock Me
- Try to Dissapear
- Chlorine & Wine
- The Iron Bell
- Desperation Burns
- If I Have to Wake Up (Would You Stop the Rain)
- Crossroads of Infinity
Text by: Robert Popovic