BARONESS – ‘Purple’ (4/5)

(Abraxan Hymns)

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Baroness Cover

 In 2012, Georgian alternative metal group Baroness were on a roll.

Their just-released third album ‘Yellow & Green’ had been critically acclaimed, showcasing a more progressive sound, a departure from their sludge metal roots. With this and their fast-expanding fanbase, the band was tipped for the top.

Then, disaster struck. The group were involved in a near-fatal tour bus crash, leading to the bassist and drummer both quitting, and frontman John Baizley almost losing the use of one of his arms.

Therefore, it is no surprise to hear that the main theme of ‘Purple’, their fourth album, is emotional pain. Baizley places his personal trauma into the songwriting, meaning the lyrics have a deep emotional depth.

Baroness’s style has evolved into a sound that is easily accessible and not too heavy. This is apparent throughout the album, some of the tracks, for example ‘Shock Me’ and ‘Kerosene’, are fast-paced, catchy and anthemic, with simple choruses, whereas other songs, such as the instrumental ‘Fugue’ and the concluding track ‘If I Have To Wake Up’ are more slower, with gentler riffs and subtle drum beats, with ‘The Iron Bell’ having elements of 70’s prog rock.

Overall, ‘Purple’ is an album which has wide appeal, even to music fans who would usually not touch metal with an eight-foot bargepole, and it shows that despite the obstacles that they have faced in the last few years, Baroness have firmly stuck two fingers up to adversity.

TOP TRACK: ‘If I Have To Wake Up’

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