zaterdag 16 september 2023

Baroness – Stone



Baroness – Stone
Abraxan Hymns – 2023
Rock, Metal, Stoner, Prog, Alternative, Sludge
Rated: *****

Every Baroness fan will immediately know this album is here to break away from what has come before. The first album with the exact same line-up as the one that came before. And the album title is a dead give away of course. Stone. No more colors. They are here to cast the first stone, to cause ripples and to show all of us that Baroness is back, different, the same and absolutely smashing. Where opener Embers might still give off a momentary breath of air and a glance back at the album that came before, the band jumps on top of you with the second track Last Word. Pummeling and relentless, the chugging, the building, the climbing and those two vocal lines expertly weaving around each other. Tight, snappy and incredibly direct, the riffs tumble over one another to exhume sheer power and thrust. Just listen to Beneath The Rose, where you can hear grand beard John Dyer Baizley’s declamation over powerful thrashy metal and hear his emotive howling whenever the melody is allowed to take over. Imposing and grandiose are very limited words listening to that track. Much of the album feels like a seismic shift, and earthquake rocking, metallic shocking of the senses. As if the band wanted to recall that prog and sludge from before, while moving towards a highly formidable metal future. And then there are those momentary ballsy hardrock influences and something that is surely meant for the biggest of stages or darkest of pits. But you also have The Dirge, cutting that ominous and evil sounding Choir off and the album in two, with its pastoral Americana folk, a moment of respite in the assault perhaps, but not one that will put your mind at ease. Plus, Anodyne follows and cuts through the air and your thoughts like a machine, the siren making sure you will be on full alert. Which is a good thing, cause Stone deserves every bit of your attention. They did not throw perfect piece of rock into the pond for nothing. Baroness is back, and as good as they ever were!

(Written by JK)





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