Baroness - Red Album review

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Band: Baroness
Album: Red Album
Release date: September 2007

01. Rays On Pinion
02. The Birthing
03. Isak
04. Wailing Wintry Wind
05. Cockroach En Fleur
06. Wanderlust
07. Aleph
08. Teeth Of A Cogwheel
09. O'Appalachia
10. Grad
11. [Untitled]

Before we begin, take a look at that cover art! If you don't already own the album, I suggest going on Google and take a gander for yourself. The artwork is a perfect reflection of the music itself; a broad look shows some attention grabbing colours that pull you in to notice the fine detail. The music similarly has great, heavy, driving riffs, interlaced with some fine, detailed musicianship.

The opening is simply fantastic; a gradual build-up from tranquil guitar work into a heavy, grooving stoner metal work of art. As with most stoner metal, the song structure is based almost entirely on solid riffing. Although the band does walk on the experimental side bringing in fresh sounding riffs, you can definitely tell the guitarists have a love for blues and southern rock. One great instrumental track comes to mind; 'Cockroach En Fleur', where they not only hint at blues influences, but play some pure acoustic blues before returning to the heavy stuff. Occasionally we see the focus shift from guitars to drums on some pretty interesting extended instrumental segments, drumming which is vaguely reminiscent of legendary stick-man John Bonham - could you think of a better fit for some bluesy heavy metal? There is even some elements that would appeal to the prog fans out there - tempo changes, odd time signatures, and (as previously mentioned) some interesting instrumental parts.

The album left a lot to be desired in some aspects. The first thing that sticks out in my mind while listening is that the guitarists have an annoying tendency to throw halting stops frequently into the otherwise cool riffs, kind of ruining the groove to it a bit. The sheer length of some of the instrumental parts can be tedious to sit through at times as well. While they do pull off some effective tranquil ambiance in these parts, there is little variety thrown in, making it tempting to fast-forward back to those kick-ass riffs. The only other problem that comes to mind is the lack of any prominent bass lines in it, with each instrument having their time in the spotlight showing off the bands skill, you expect to hear some magnificent bass-line pop out at you...but it never comes.

Ignoring the setbacks this album has (which is an easy thing to do), this is a thoroughly enjoyable listen, in fact its almost hard to believe its only a debut! It may not be "album of the century" by any measure, but it's definitely worth every dime spent on it.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Production: 8

Written by Doc G. | 23.05.2009


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 144 users
24.05.2009 - 00:00
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
I like this album but let me guarantee you that they are a lot better live. Saw them again at roadburn this year and they bludgeoned everyone into submission.
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

15.08.2010 - 06:50
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 24.05.2009 at 00:00

I like this album but let me guarantee you that they are a lot better live. Saw them again at roadburn this year and they bludgeoned everyone into submission.

long time late quote. i'll agree. Red sounds great, but the Blue Record "special" edition included 5 tracks off this album from their Roadburn set... sound fantastic.
get the fuck off my lawn.
18.10.2012 - 10:47
This has some groundbreaking and interesting pieces in it, but unfortunately I find it numbingly boring. Wailing Wintry Wind with its wailing riffs could be something fantastic, but in the end it's just boring. A lot of excellent ideas, excellent musicianship, but poor songwriting makes this debut a tedious ride.Also, just as Doc Godin says, the stops in the riffs are very annoying and ruin the flow.

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