Welcome to Throwback Thursday! This is the place where we get to indulge in nostalgia and wax poetic about excellent metal of years past. So sit back, relax, and a grab a lager, because we're going on a journey in search of modern albums that have primed the canvas of today's metal music scene.
The contemporary albums in this series serve as tributaries that have, for better or worse, altered the course of the flowing blackness that is the metal steam of life. For this, the eighth edition of this series, we take a dip into a triumphant album that explores themes of aging and introspection. What better time than Fall than to check out the brilliant work of…
BARONESS'S YELLOW AND GREEN
I'll be damned if in not in the mood for Fall music. My case of seasonal-effective moody misanthropy is always looking for a musical companion. For me, Fall always bring with it a sense of comfort, wild spirits and outdoor exploration. Yellow and Green is a fantastic album that just happens to this bill exactly. It's moody, pensive, and driving at just the right times. Combinations of metal methodology, peppered with indie sensibilities and straight up rock and roll make Yellow and Green by Baroness not only an interesting listen to, but a refreshing one, too. Cleaner, piquing guitar work sounds like gently falling leaves. Songs like "Tinkler" feel as if crisp air is blowing through thinning tree tops. Multi-harmonized vocals heavy on reverb and chorus come in like gorgeous ghosts.
Track "Cocainium" even quips, "Seven branches on my window / Waiting for the sun to come around / Take this on an empty stomach / Waiting for the spring to come around". Paired with a hint of a 70's grunge-stoner-progressive sound, this track screams to be paired with the sweet smokey scent of the Earth that only Fall can deliver.
This band has only been around since 2003, but I feel that they are a great example of the bounds of modern metal. Yellow and Green is superb example of fringe metal genres. They've toured with modern mainstays such as Pallbearer, and have headlined their own shows.
Divided into two parts, 'Yellow' and 'Green' do sound very much like two sister albums. 'Yellow' is more energetic, and packed with more changes in intensity. Check out single "March to the Sea":
This track is instantly appealing. It's such a strange 'metal' track, as it feel heavy but in a much newer, dynamic way. 'Subtle' would be a great way to put it. I find that is a really encouraging new direction for metal to find restraint in a world with bands who've tested every extreme corner of lyrics, speed, distortion, and stage show.
Here is the last track from the 'Yellow' portion of the album, "Eula":
This is such a departure from the metal world, but still smacks of progression and metal-esque cleaner vocals. I'd say this is quite a commercial song for them. And, metal fans don't always want their songs commercially appealing, which may be yet another reason this album lost as many fans as it gained. But, the song still gets harder at the end and purposefully avoids gimmicks of impulsive, immature writing. "Eula" is a real dichotomy, which I think represents Yellow and Green on the whole. The song makes us feel as if something is being born, and as if something is also dying.
Yellow and Green's second part, Green, is unapologetically slower. If you were searching for road tripping music to your favorite Fall camping getaway, look no further than the side 'Green' for long, relaxing contemplation. Laden with atmosphere, these 9 tracks explore uplifting optimism and apathy in various stages of progression. Track "Green Theme" has a grand, Beatles-like driving chorus which, if you haven't been convinced already, explores a new and huge sound for Baroness.
Yellow and Green is more than a musical evolution for Baroness. This album is softer, which may not thrill every metal fan out there and will surely alienate any long-time fans. The band went through a slight lineup change, as Matt Maggioni came in as the new bassist. This third full-length album from them offers a more polished, more focused sound that ditches some of the unfinished edges of previous works such as their Blue Record (2009) and Red Album (2007) albums. Those albums, to generalize, tended to be brasher and more meandering while taking a new approach to the post-metal genre. You can explore the differences in Baroness albums with our previous review of Yellow and Green here.
Yellow and Green is the longest album for Baroness but I feel that it's length is appropriate to explore their new sound. It needs time to push the edges of controlled heaviness and take on lighter softer instrumental tracks without giving the listener ear-whiplash. This one-two punch is perfect to kick off the best time of the year, Fall, but is also a great staple album for Baroness.
What are your favorite fall soundtracks? Sound off below and let me know! As always, thanks for stopping by and I'll see you all next week!