Album Review: Baroness – Gold & Grey

10 June 2019 | 4:15 pm | Matt MacMaster

"Bursting with fist-pumping passages of inspired riffage."

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Gold & Grey continues the story of Baroness: the rock band. It’s a role they sound increasingly more comfortable with, and while their prog-metal tendencies occasionally boil over, this new LP is more about finding a deeper groove than tearing through gleaming metal epics at breakneck speed. 

Gold & Grey is perhaps less cohesive than records past, and the psychedelic flourishes found on the magnificent Dave Fridmann-produced Purple are missing. That said, the album is still bursting with fist-pumping passages of inspired riffage, and there’s lots of detail to explore. Purple was an album that dealt with existential trauma following a bus crash that almost ended their careers (and their lives), and with that crisis behind them, they sound restless and hungry. Fridmann is back on deck, and the lion’s share was recorded in his upstate New York studio. 

Gold & Grey ultimately feels, for better or worse, like a Baroness album still in development phase – a dynamic exercise in feeling in the dark for their boundaries and mapping their current potential. It’s looser, shaggier, and perhaps grittier around the edges, but their dedication to size and scope hasn’t diminished. They deploy several palate cleansers that break the momentum every few tracks, but these (occasionally beautiful) lulls do nothing to diminish the power of songs like Tourniquet, Throw Me An Anchor, and the tremendous Black Sabbath/hair-metal/psych hybrid Borderlines.

This is an exciting release, its drawbacks easily overcome by its strengths.