This past year saw a lot of ups and downs when it comes to metal. Motörhead dropped one last album before we had to give Lemmy back to the metal Gods; Slayer came out with Repentless despite losing Hanneman, and 2016 started off by robbing us of music legends. The state of music in general seems pretty bleak. Recently, I was able to listen to an album that righteously kicked me in the guts and forced me to listen to it over and over again: Baroness’ latest album, Purple, which came out in December of 2015.
Baroness is a sludge/prog metal band from Savannah Georgia and have been laying down some pretty epic albums since their inception in 2003. Purple is Baroness’ fourth album, and although the first three are also amazing albums in their own right, this one seems to have something very substantial behind it. I think the new energy came from a near death experience that the band had. While on tour in England, the coach they were riding on fell 10 meters (that’s around 30 feet for you Americans out there) off a viaduct. The band members suffered extensive injuries and two members Allen Blickle and Matt Maggioni sustained fractured vertebrae and subsequently had to leave the band. They were replaced by Nick Jost and Sebastian Thompson, playing bass/keyboards and drums respectively and the line up rounds out sweetly with Peter Adams on lead guitar. The accident that nearly ended the band had caused Baroness’ creator and front-man John Dyer Baizley to reaffirm his commitment to art and music. In this latest work he has changed from a solid metal singer and guitarist into one of those artists who has the chilling ability to make you experience everything he is thinking and feeling. You will know what I mean when you watch him perform Chlorine and Wine below.
My first impression while listening to Purple was one of speechlessness, and I had no choice in playing it again. I feel as though any words I say about this work of masterful art wouldn’t come close to doing it justice. I can only do my best to tell you why it is head and shoulders above the rest in 2015. Purple impressed me so deeply and took me on a sacred journey that led me to some long forgotten world, where metal was unstained and pure.
This album gets progressively better and even more epic as each track powers through addicting hooks and mind blowing riffs. It has so many hidden facets that you are compelled to listen to the album many times over to fully understand what your are even listening to. It has layers of piano, synthesizers sound effects, and hidden notes and sounds that cause a very viscerally emotional response. It is an experience that needs to be digested and pondered. So, tonight, turn out all the lights, turn up your stereo, turn off your phone and put on Baroness’ Purple album.
Born and raised in San Diego California, I grew up loving the action horror and sci-fi genres. The first R rated film I saw was Predator back when I was 8 years old. Aliens blew me away as a youngster and I made a M41-A pulse rifle out of paper towel rolls and rubber bands. I ran around for hours avoiding face huggers and blasting xenomorphs in my back yard and I am bringing that big imagination to Nevermore Horror.