Baroness: Yellow & Green
Baroness keeps their heavy metal guitar sound and adds the more carefully plotted-out harmonies of actual singing. Guttural singing, a staple of metal, is sometimes essential; it brings an intensity to the music to match the frenetic guitar playing, the extremely skillful rhythm being produced by a mad man with lightening fingers.
Using more melodic vocals allows the progressive metal to be accessible to an audience outside of your typical metal crowd. Baroness releases albums titled simply with colors, so technically Yellow & Green is a double album with dichromatic concepts, separated by a “Yellow Theme” and “Green Theme.” Both instrumentals, “Yellow Theme” is a funeral invocation, with deep and foggy tones, while “Green Theme” is looking on the other side of things, with slightly ominous background reverberations, but positive (if a guitar note can be optimistic) guitar and drums culminating in big musical euphony. “Green Theme” differs because it sounds like a self-contained ending, while “Yellow Theme” is a perfect lead-in to the single, “Take My Bones Away.”
Production wise, Yellow & Green is extremely clean; there’s no garage feel, no static background. It’s a heavy metal album with clean notes and even cleaner vocals. “Take My Bones Away” is a whiskey anthem, dripping with anger and frustration. The lamentations are exaggerated through the frontman’s vocals, and the pain is driven by the guitars until the listener is head banging or fist pumping along. Listen closely and Yellow & Green also surprises with the appearance of an acoustic guitar. “Eula,” the closing track on the Yellow side of things, is the opposite of “Take My Bones Away,” a little sappy and slow, but contains the same agony.
The songs on the Green side are hit or miss. They often times veer into alternative rock radio monotony. The instrumental work is laid back and less enforced, and the vocals sound lazy.
Yellow is the stronger side, Green is for the more light-hearted, but the combined effort shows critically acclaimed metal band Baroness branching out, trying new sounds.