‘Purple’ marks a lot of firsts for Baroness.
Label: Abraxan Hymns
Released: 18th December 2015
‘Purple’ earmarks a change for Baroness. While it’s not massively far removed from their previous trajectory, there are a lot of firsts. This is the first since their near-brush with tragedy as their tour bus fell from a viaduct and left many injured; the first since drummer Allen Blickle and new bassist Matt Maggioni left; the first on their own new label, Abraxan Hymns.
These factors will all have some kind of impact, and on inspection that seems a newfound focus. ‘Chlorine and Wine’ is a seven minute epic that is hypnotising, twinkling pianos bleeding into airy guitar, cranking up slowly until it bursts into optimism with prime crowd sing-alongs rearing their heads. ‘Try to Disappear’ both sludges and soars in a weird mix, where ‘The Iron Bell’ is punchy and ‘If I Had to Wake Up – Would You Stop the Rain’ strips it back for their farewell this time around.
On their ‘Yellow and Green’ double album, it could be immersive in a sense; they’d take you on an exploration as they themselves tried a lot of new things under the Baroness umbrella. ‘Purple’ isn’t so much the tour guide, it’s the tour. It feels more direct; they’ve managed to overcome a personal roadblock in making this that they themselves admit “would have seemed impossible to us a couple of years ago”, and while there are dark lyrics at play, it remains enjoyable to listen to. Heather McDaid