This wasn’t much of a struggle for me. I knew by the end of July that the only real competition Yellow & Green might have was from The Sword. While Apocryphon is a close second, Baroness ultimately pushed themselves to first place. Not sure what to expect after Blue Record, I was excited to finally hear the first single, Take My Bones Away, a heavy, driving, straight rock song I expected from Baroness. The songs that followed wasn’t what I expected – it was what I had hoped for, I just didn’t think I would be so fortunate. Dating back to their earliest material, the raw potential was always there, constantly honed to razor perfection with each new record. The evolution was grand, and uniquely Baroness, taking their narcotic ebb and flow to stronger tides with songs like “Cocainium” and “Foolsong”.
“Cocainium” might be my favorite new song of the year. The music is so rich, layered with dripping vintage guitar effects, evoking Pink Floyd from the first notes. When the song finally kicks into its hoppy upbeat, an old school Yes influence seems clear to me. The Roundabout focus drifts between floaty verses and a powerful hook you wouldn’t expect from such a heavy band. The hopping drums transition to a snappy upbeat before a refined driving riff propels the band into heavy ass grooves.
“Mtns The Crown & Anchor” takes Adams to the role of lead singer in this powerful, yet delicate song. Adams is perfect for the silky melodies that Baizley backs with skill. Even when John tends to drop his voice slightly flat, the passion adds an endearing charm that’s hard to pin down. The huge acoustic riffs played over the bouncy, clean and spacey riffs add another dimension that’s easily appreciated. More singing from Adams, please.
I was thrilled to learn Baroness were headlining a local music festival here on the campus of UK. A friend had a press pass lined up for me – I had so many questions, no idea where to start. Sadly, that choice was stolen away when Baroness suffered a terrible bus crash in Europe, near Bath, England. The bus went off a viaduct and plummeted 30 feet through trees, fully airborne before the impact. Severely injured, Baroness was forced to cancel the tour while their injuries and long-term issues were determined and dealt with. Guitarist/singer/songwriter/visual artist, John Baizley, saw his injuries as life-changing and nearly impossible to conquer at one point. The local rescue workers told the band their survival was a rarity, something people don’t walk a away from. Baroness and Baizley were resolute to tame their broken bodies, and healing finally came. Below is a photo of Baizley’s arm, the wound causing nerve damage he was lucky to recover from. He wrote a lengthy public address regarding the accident.
“I looked into a cold, unreflective mirror,” John states toward the letter’s end.. “It was the dark, silent, dispassionate logic of the end. I realized in that moment that life can be seen as a light switch: ‘on’ or ‘off.’ When the moment passed and I heard the screaming, felt the pain, and tasted my own blood, I was overcome with joy. I was ecstatic to be back amidst all that chaos and horror because it was alive and real.”
I was worried this nerve damage was going to be a career killer, something I wasn’t ready to accept in a bands’ early years. a band with much more music to write and share. I was ecstatic when the following video for “Stretchmarker” hit the internet. Baizley seems comfortable and nimble playing the beautiful acoustic number from their recent record.
So, with that, folks, I give you the official Fister Roboto pick for the best album of 2012, Baroness’ Yellow & Green. My original review can be found here if you’re interested. Support Baroness and the up and coming metal bands. Buy their music, don’t steal it, pick up a shirt or print – help these bands get the shot they deserve.