Baroness - Gold & Grey

Baroness Gold & Grey cover
Gold & Grey
Abraxan Hymns
I was never a huge proponent of Baroness mainly due to their vocals, not being my cup of tea, but I did find them, as one of the more bearable examples to come out of their ilk. The last couple of albums they released were more and more accessible and “Gold & Grey” follows that vein and their overall style, pretty faithful to the canon they have established.
With a few “asterisks”…changing your guitarist, or a vocalist is going to have its repercussions and in this case, Gina Gleason, while not bad – not bad at all, is definitely a different “animal” than Pete Adams. She’s probably underutilized and overall the songs are not as potent as before, although they are distinguishable as the bands own… there’s a bit of overall numbness… oh and having a production that’s mediocre if not downright bad, doesn’t help. The mix is all over the place and fuzzy as hell…
With seventeen tracks comes a lot of boring material, which feels pretty meh and non-consequent… I mean there are the occasional good ideas, but they seem to be far apart and relatively few overall.
While “Front Toward Enemy” tries to not ruffle too many feathers, the bittersweet “I’m already gone” feels like it’s bigger, more mature brother. Both sounding fuzzy as fuck.
“Seasons” is more chaotic and repetitive, channeling Mastodon and the like, while “Sevens” is a persistent keys-based interlude.
“Toriniquet” is badly out of tune and while I appreciate raw, I don’t appreciate, stoned out of its head raw. This belongs to rehearsals, not an album. It’s more alternative vibe… ain’t bad, but pretty much everything else is. I was kind of thinking, god its things like that that might have made Metallica go for “St Anger”. If this shit is hip, why not?!
The soft “Anchor’s Lament” acts as an intro to the cool, but terribly sounding (recording wise), but otherwise, pretty catchy “Throw Me An Anchor”, which is a bit of a hit… catchy… if you will.
“I’d Do Anything” sounds like Baroness gone down the whiny Nickelback path. Depending on whether you like the latter or not, you might or might not like this one and it’s bizarre phasing shifts.
“Blankets of Ash” is a soft intro to the equally soft “Emmett – Radiating Light”, that’s the first song that sounds properly produced, but is one of the most boring ones on offer in the entirety of this combo.
“Cold Blooded Angels”, which thankfully continues with the improved sound – I would imagine all belonging to a different session? It’s melancholic, but also rocking and pretty decent ideas wise.
Spoken too soon since the introductory “Crooked Mile” leads straight into the sonic hell/toilet of “Broken Halo”… a rocking romp that doesn’t feel terrible, with its British influences but sounds pretty bleak and kinda shitty from a production perspective.
“Can Obscura” is a meandering oddity that leads to the bass heavy “Borderlines” that more jazzed up – but quite catchy at the same time – and manages to improve production to “almost” listenable levels of clarity.
“Assault on East Falls” is a droney couple of minutes prior to the end that comes in the form of the somber and almost lamenting fuzzy floydisms of “Pale Sun” or what Floyd might have sounded like if they went through a meat grinder while that was inside a concrete mixer in operation.
Some spirited and constant live performances, along with their perseverance have gotten Baroness relatively noticed. I remain similarly unconvinced, by this album as from prior ones, due mainly to the vocals, but on this occasion production adds insult to injury. Still for some weird reason, I find these guys (and girl) less pretentious than some other outfits. Preaching to those who are impressed by how the colorful covers manage to desaturate into a grey-ish rocking sound… Baroness remains.