Artist of the week: Baroness
Baroness is an American heavy metal band from Savannah, Georgia, who have been producing some of the most exciting progressive sludge of the past two decades, thanks to an eerie combination of psychedelic and straight-up rock with ambient washes and angular post-rock. Their four chromatic titled LPs showcase an unorthodox metal band always willing to explore new soundscapes for their muscular approach to songwriting and performance, turning them one of the most exciting and accessible metal acts of the past two decades.
After releasing their Southern rock indebted and proggy debut Red (2007) and their hyper-dynamic and kinetic Blue (2009), Baroness delivered in 2012 what was at the time considered their absolute masterpiece: Yellow & Green, an expansive, subtle and deeply layered double LP that gained them a critical and popular recognition that spread their musical talent beyond their metalhead fanbase. Unfortunately, only a month after the release of this career-changing album, Baroness got into a serious bus crash while on tour in England, that killed their momentum and almost ended the band. Faced with the fact that drummer Allen Bickle and bassist Matt Maggioni left the group, guitarist, singer and visual artist Jon Baizley and guitarist Peter Adams recruited bassist and keyboardist Nick Jost and drummer Sebastian Thomson for a new tour and started to tease the fans with the possibility of a new record.
Purple finally arrived in the end of 2015. As the title suggests, it is a bruised and post-traumatic affair, thematically anchored to the possibility of death, the astonishment of survival and the battle for recovery. Musically, it features not only Baroness’ best hooks and melodies, but also their best and most focused songs to date. There’s no excuse to miss this one monster: not only for the sake of its own merits, but also for being the best entry for the stellar discography one of the most enthralling metal acts that have dared to make their music accessible to a bigger audience.
João Pedro da Costa is a web studies scholar and a music fan.