Baroness - The Blue Record
When Mastodon said they were mining prog-rock for inspiration, I was nervous. My concerns ended up being well-founded. When "The Blue Record" started garnering prog comparisons as well, a familiar sense of trepidation settled in.
I never should have doubted.
Baroness have written an album that successfully combines their delicious brand of Georgia sludge with the epic guitar work of the very best of 70's prog rock. Complex and yet still wonderfully accessible, this is perhaps the only metal album released this year that my dad and I both loved. The band shifts gears effortlessly, switching from the soft, folky "Steel That Sleeps the Eye" to the mystic-sounding gallop of "Swollen and Halo". This sort of shift can sometimes feel contrived, or forced, but Baroness makes the switch effortlessly, wearing their maturation as a band on their sleeves comfortably. They've melded their already considerable power with grace and beauty, and have carefully crafted one of the most intriguing releases of this year.
Baroness - A Horse Called Golgotha