Baroness - 'Purple' (Album Review)

Huw Baines 22 December 2015

Photo: Jimmy Hubbard ​Discussions of Baroness records will be split across a pre and post-bus accident divide from now on. ‘Purple’ is the band’s first recorded statement since the crash, which occurred in 2012 as they toured the UK following the release of the sprawling, brilliant ‘Yellow & Green’, and offers a prismatic reading of it. This is an album informed by its context out of a cathartic necessity, but not one constrained by it.

Here John Baizley and Peter Adams are augmented by Sebastian Thomson and Nick Jost following the injury-enforced retirements of drummer Allen Blickle and bassist Matt Maggioni, who both suffered broken vertebrae when the bus fell from a viaduct near Bath. Where the album’s thematic clout is derived from the long, gruelling road back to stage and studio, the new rhythm section provides momentum and punchy pacing. ‘Purple’ is not one for dwelling on the past at the expense of the future.src=//www.stereoboard.com/images/stories/2013/images/A-Z%20Main%20Artist%20Images/B/baroness_hb_211215_2.jpg

It’s, as Baizley neatly put it, a celebration of misery. Where the lyric sheet is a twisting, writhing document of anxiety, pain, fear and, seemingly, wall-crawling boredom, the vessels that the band have chosen for these missives are fast, powerful and, unusually for a band with prog pedigree like Baroness, relatively succinct.

‘Purple’ is, almost before anything else, resolutely melodic and Baizley’s full-throated roar gets wrapped around choruses that are hulking slabs for Adams to decorate with undulating, hook-heavy guitar work.

Beneath it all Thomson and Jost thunder away, aided greatly by the warm, sympathetic production of indie veteran Dave Fridmann, who wrangles the record’s many textures into an inviting whole.

Baizley and Adams fuse abject horror with the sheer exuberant joy of playing music again. “When I called on my nursemaid, come sit by my side. But she cuts through my ribcage and pushes the pills deep into my eyes,” Baizley sings on Chlorine & Wine, with the sentiment followed by a rush of twin-harmony, Brian May-worthy solos. ‘Purple’ exists on this precipice, wringing adrenaline from its ambitious, precarious premise. After ‘Yellow & Green’, Baroness were ready to conquer the big leagues. They still are.

Baroness Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed February 24 2016 - SOUTHAMPTON Engine Rooms
Thu February 25 2016 - MANCHESTER Ritz
Fri February 26 2016 - LEEDS University Stylus
Sun February 28 2016 - GLASGOW Glasgow Garage
Mon February 29 2016 - BIRMINGHAM Institute
Tue March 01 2016 - LONDON KOKO

Click here to compare & buy Baroness Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

  


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Baroness Confirm Early 2016 UK Tour

Baroness To Return With 'Purple' In December

Baroness Give New Update Following UK Bus Crash

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