» Blog Archive Baroness Come Full Circle With Gold & Grey -
Evan Conway Hard Music, News, Reviews

It’s not a matter of if a Baroness album is going to be good, but rather a question of how good it is. TL;DR, Gold & Grey is a rock solid addition to their discography and a fitting conclusion to their cycle of color-coated albums that they’ve been known for. If that tells you what you want to know, fine. Go buy it. Stream it. The hype has been worth it, I can tell you that without a doubt. On a surface level it’s great, but it’s what’s beneath the surface and the machinations of it that make this such a unique and interesting release for a band still experimenting to great effects. Some not so great, as the blemishes do make themselves apparent on this long journey to the finish line. Yet you can’t mistake the strides, the perfect form that’s been displayed thus far; Gold & Grey is Baroness’s way of saying “thanks for going on this adventure with us” and promising much to look forward to in the next part of their career.

After Purple and three and a half years of waiting, it’s definitely a hesitating experience knowing that you’ve built this standard for an album that didn’t exist until a few months ago. No matter what Baroness did on Gold & Grey, it was going to be directly compared to Purple, and inherently that doesn’t seem like the wrong thing to do. There’s another Purple in Gold & Grey’s sprawling 17 tracks, so if you wanted to cut it down to 8-9 tracks and find the most cohesive way to replicate their previous effort, you probably could do that. Tracks like “Broken Halo” and “Throw Me an Anchor” are as big and catchy as one would expect from Baroness, and they’re beautifully constructed in their titanic size. The lead single “Borderlines” is fantastic on repeated listens and it being placed so late in the album works wonders for it. “Cold-Blooded Angels” is a dynamic-driven beauty of a song that I am hoping to see the band bring to a live setting.

In truth, Gold & Grey is closer to Yellow & Green with the varying tones and sounds that the band plays with. It’s more exciting than its counterpart and holds up even better on repeated listens, too. New (is she still new? Hardly) guitarist Gina Gleason makes a great addition to the band, if you hadn’t known yet, and her harmonies throughout are very much appreciated and welcome. Everyone in the band are truly in great form here; clearly they’re enjoying the music and having a great time being Baroness by how infectious the energy this music creates has become. Is this the band at their peak? Possibly, but I think there’s still greatness to come from this line-up.

Gold & Grey does come up short in some aspects, namely the inconsistent production. At various, fleeting moments it’s apparent that Baroness have too much going on with their effects that clutters what you’re hearing. “Seasons” has this problem towards the end where the band try to create something dynamic and it ends up becoming clustered and choked up. At other times fuzzes could come across as too sharp and have too much treble in their mix. I suggest you find the biggest set of speakers you can and play it through there as opposed to headphones.

An annoyance I also found is the abundance of transitory tracks. I’m not one to complain  normally because I love when bands use this to break up the flow and challenge the dynamic of their release in order to create something cinematic, but Baroness just has too many here. Of the 17 tracks, I’m gonna say six are transitory. So this is actually an 11 song album at the end of the day, which is still sizable. In the later half of the album is where they start to become intrusive, seeing as I found the second half to be the most exciting and engaging.

Yet, regardless, Gold & Grey is a beautiful conclusion to what Baroness have set out to accomplish in the past 12 years as a band. I think it would extremely rewarding to binge Red Album, Blue Record, Yellow & Green, Purple, and Gold & Grey in an afternoon and chronicling the evolution of this band in the process. It’s certainly the expected Album of the Year contender everyone was expecting, and it’ll be a beautiful, fully realized experience to hear the band pull from all aspects of their discography in a wonderfully color-coated live experience.

Gold & Grey is available everywhere now. You can purchase and stream it everywhere and stream “Broken Halo” below.

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