Disposable Heroes: Baroness’s “Blue Record”

By: frank.lemke Posted in: disposable heroes, featured On: Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

baroness band

There’s little more annoying on this planet than the immoral majority telling you how essential, transcendent and (huh-huh) seminal a particular extreme album is, when you know that it’s overrated as fuck. Hence, our new Wednesday morning column, “Disposable Heroes,” in which one brave soul sails against the current to inform all you clones why you can’t spell classic without “ass.” This week, Frank Lemke farts in the general direction of former dB album of the year Blue Record, by Baroness.

Blue Record might be metal’s hippest dance record. I’ll give it that, but that’s a bad thing. It sucks, in fact. At least half this album sucks. I’ll break this down all systematic, like a lawyer, and make my case.

Alright. There’s an intro. “Bullhead’s Psalm.” Take it or leave it.

“The Sweetest Curse.” OK, initially I like the guitar sound; it’s different. The call-and-answer vocals sound sick, too. The lead into the hook before 3:00 is fucking rad, and the end is heavy and catchy. Noodling outro: whatever, still a cool opening track. They didn’t drop the ball yet. Wait for it. This ain’t no Barry Horowitz.

That’s followed by “Jake Leg.” Signature Baroness winding hectic guitar parts, almost a surf beat—surf metal, a great idea. Not bad. I begin to wonder: Do I have a case?

blue record

Yes I do. Next track is “Steel That Sleeps the Eye,” the beginning of the end. Below-average vocal filler. I could whistle a better song. Very indie, not heavy, definitely losing it.

Then “Swollen and Halo” is where it really takes a dive. It has a decent intro, but later it sounds like dance music. Is it just me? It sounds like Baizley screaming over Depeche Mode. And not just one time: there are dance beats all throughout it. What is going on here? Who the hell is drumming? Did the guy from the Killers stop through the studio? There are some cool parts, but I’m heavily distracted by the dance parts. Homie don’t play that.

Next is “Ogeechee Hymnal.” At least we’re talking about the right kind of Indian here: Native Americans are badass. Thing is, I can tell this is supposed to be a heavy, driving song. It’s supposed to be tribal, like all my tattoos; but it’s too treble-y. It’s all high end, not a good low, not a deep sound at all. Plus, it’s half-ambient filler. More proggy, less metal, not good.

“A Horse Called Golgotha.” First of all, this guitar sounds like a cat stuck in a tree when it should sound more like bones caught in gears. I’d be willing to let that slide, but then what the fuck is that goddamn fucking drum beat?! This is not dance music! That shit is not heavy: it’s laughable. And the call-and-answer vocal hook is annoying this time. Then there’s the big open space in the middle for the solo, and they really put the guitar in the front, and I can’t deny the solo. The song should end on that high note, but it dwindles on.

Fuck my ass, the next song, “O’er Hell and Hide,” after some acoustic nonsense, begins with a fucking dance beat. Really? It’s like they’re trying to piss me off. Christ, and it goes on for the whole song. It sounds like dance music. It sounds like the Faint. Yeah, I’ve heard the Faint. This is what Rusted Root would sound like if they were less the-worst-band-on-earth and more fucking metal. Sure, it’s heavy, for dance music. This would be a club hit if it weren’t topped with outlandish spoken vocals about coming through your father. I came through my father once and I don’t like to think about it.

Thank goodness that “War, Wisdom and Rhyme” doesn’t feature a dance beat, or I may have twisted my ears off writing this. It sounds like metal again. It sounds like Baroness. I can’t really complain about this.

“Blackpowder Orchard.” Eh, weak acoustic track. I liked these more last album.

“The Gnashing.” Oh, cool, it’s “Grad II.” That’s cool; I loved “Grad.” Maybe if they called this “The Grading,” or “Graduated,” it would make more sense. But I don’t hate this song. It’s a good final track. It’s happy metal, which is better than dance metal.

Shit, there’s more? “Bullhead’s Lament.” Whatever, man. Just another fucking song. Album should have been over.

And I’m not stopping there. You know what else? Baizley finally went bald by Blue Record. Had to cut that shit. Not very metal, if you ask me. Sure, dude’s a badass who smokes mad pizza, and he makes me seem about as cool as Richard Simmons. I just love to run my hand through my thick head of greasy hair, that’s all I’m saying.

cover spread

Lastly: who remember the Baroness cover issue? “How they made what could be album of the year.” If Decibel were committing a murder, that would be called establishing intent. I think. I do watch Law & Order. Anyway, it’s a good thing we weren’t killing anybody.

Fine, I admit: the album was catchier than I remember it. But I do not, under any circumstances, listen to anything that sounds remotely like dance music. Not even when Baroness are forcing it down my throat. Fuck that. Half of this album is pussy.

Between the EPs and how much I love Red Album, I guess that’s why I’m so cockhurt over Blue Record being a dance album. Anyway, I don’t let it stop me from jerking off.

  • naytcore

    i agree.  i read such wonderful things about this band and record and i checked it out i just could not see what the big deal was.  in facct i hated it.

    • Jason

      This album SUCKS. Glad to see someone finally admits it. Cool artwork does not make good music.

  • BillyBob

    Had to be said. This album is for hipster beardos who think Mastodon are too heavy. If Baroness made a straight-up neo-bluegrass/folk album, I’d be down, but this album was so scatterbrained that nothing fit properly.

  • BadWolf

    Its seems to me that Lemke has an issue with dance beats, not Baroness. That’s his problem, not the record’s. How many skank/two-step/other dance beats are plastered all over most classic/thrash metal and hard rock?

    Also, too many adjectives. Verbs are cool.

    • Gnarlk

      yeah, don’t care much for baroness, but this is some terrible writing

  • Paul t.

    I also agree. I gave this album a lot of chances specifically because of the reviews, but I only wound up keeping the “Jake Leg” track as an mp3. Too much hyperbole is used in any discussion about Baroness, and it’s a trend that needs to stop.

  • Krawldad

    Haters.

    • Ghostofperdition

      PC Fuck.  

  • Krawldad

    Homophobic comments, Decibel?  Shame on you.

  • The ramiro

    I agree that it’s a bit weird to hear them incorporate “dance beats” but comparing any of these songs to Depeche Mode is reaching.

  • The ramiro

    I agree that it’s a bit weird to hear them incorporate “dance beats” but comparing any of these songs to Depeche Mode is reaching.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=5141241 Jared Oates

    So salty.

  • http://twitter.com/beerandjoe Joe

    Wait a second, are you me neighbor? I think your yelled at me to get off your lawn a couple weeks ago. Sorry man, I didn’t realize you took your lawn grooming so seriously.

  • Loutibbs

    Haters gotta hate…

    This is a superior record. One of the few times DB has gotten it right on their year-end list.

  • Thann S.

    Haters wanna hate
    Lovers wanna love
    I don’t even want
    None of the above

    I want to piss on you
    (after giving you a copy of What to Listen for in Music by Aaron Copland)

    This review is truly half-assed – Blue Record is the shit. Let’s hear some critical thinking in future Disposable Heroes posts.

  • http://www.thrashhits.com/ Hugh

    Because using “gay” as a pejorative is okay? Fuck off.

    • Gore Lando

      of course it is you fucking faggot

  • Gnarlk

    enough with the use of the term “hater” for fuck’s sake. you sound like idiots….

    • Loutibbs

      Yeah, that Rich Hoak is a real tool.

  • WSHUFF

    I believe this is their departure from prog/sludge into psychedelic hard rock. I do not consider this a metal album. I like it. At least when baroness does the psych-rock transition it actually sounds good (hear that mastodon?).

    Oh and the dance beats are sick bizniatch… don’t get it wrong.

  • ha.pe

    wow, at least the ATG article had something to say, there is no argument here and he even admits to liking half the songs. this shit about dance beats is very weak, how dare you not sound 100% metal and make things interesting by having influences from other types of music.
    awful installment of what i’m hoping to be a great feature in the future.

    • ha.pe

      wow, this article is even worse if you read it a second time, i think it would be okay for the deciblog to delete this installment and pretend it never happened.

  • Dylan J.

    I hope future installments of this don’t blow.  Seriously a great album.  Fuck off.  Thann S. said it perfectly.

  • Random Dude

    Replace “Blue Record” with “Red Album” and I’d be on board.

    And I agree with ha.pe: more of this feature, but with actual arguments in support of the disposability of the album.

  • Boris

    I’d hope that one of these articles, when well-written, will make me see some of the flaws in a great album. Hell I was almost hoping that this article would give me something to dislike about Blue Record. Instead this is a meh-worthy critique of what I still think is a nearly flawless album.

    • Loutibbs

      Good point Boris. Thoughtful criticism of a great record is worthwhile reading. Whiny posts about how a record (or band) sucks because it’s popular are stupid.

  • Dylan J.

    I’d also like to say that the low blow to Baizley being bald….how does that have anything to do with the article, and you admitted you have greasy fuck hair… not appealing.  Bald and beard combo is so unghrific and glorious.  You should have a talk  with brain Drill’s singer and Electric Wizard’s drummer…  Fuck this article.

  • http://twitter.com/crushtor Tom

    Metal Mike Saunders rang…Simon Reynolds was on the line…actually so was Simon Frith…fuck it, EVERY ROCK WRITER EVER

    They told you to stop writing. Forever.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eirik-Kjøs-Usterud/1067091137 Eirik Kjøs Usterud

    Meh, Blue Record was overrated, but not bad.

    I liked Justify Your Shitty Taste a lot better than this column.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeremy.burtch Jeremy Burtch

    There is no Depeche Mode on this record.  All things you hate about it are what make it stand out from a lot of run-of-the-mill metal bands.  Is it full-tilt metal?  Nope.  But does that make it bad?  Nope.  Lame arguments.  Don’t like the “dance-beat”?  Not everyone wants to grind all the time.  If all metal stayed true, cult, underground and extreme all the time it’d be pretty boring. 

  • Astral Zombie

    Fuck people who use the term “haters”. I love this band, but this record is an overblown snoozefest…every couple of months I check back in with it to check and see if it’ll click, I’ve listened to it twice in the last few days and it’s still horribly boring. Just to recap…still a boring record, the person who gave it a 10 in the original review must’ve been chasing the dragon, and people who use “haters” as a defense or argument are even dumber than this moronic, pointless re-review.

    • Loutibbs

      Awesome! The Deci-Troll has emerged from slumber in his mother’s basement. Douchebag.

      • Astral Zombie

        You’re welcome dummy!

  • Steed McCreed

    I have no problem with anyone calling this album overrated, even calling Baroness overrated, but please, please please… next time provide me with an actual argument against the record and a worthwhile article. I can find awful “oh my god it kills my ears and its so gay” metalhead rhetoric anywhere. I expected better from Decibel. Shame on you guys.

  • Samuel Balistreri-Daum

    Justify your shitty writing

  • Richard

    LOL if you are going to recycle your Opinions from anus.com you could just use their pseudo intellectualism instead of retarded arguments on how you are butt-hurt over the guitar tone. This album is overrated but you are making everyone who is smart enough to know that look like a complete dumbass.

  • Snowman

       Baroness are the garnish of the metal world. They add nothing, they don’t offend me…nor would I notice if they weren’t there at all.

       But hey, the kids dig em’. I guess they gotta listen to something while they grumble about how popular Mastodon is these days.

  • DraperyFalls

    You’ve missed the point completely Frank.  But then it sounds like this album wasn’t written with you in mind anyway.  Baroness don’t feel that they have to be just a metal band and they aren’t making music for people who just want to hear metal.  On this album they’ve taken sludge and hardcore and mixed it with prog, folk, psychedelia, southern rock and who knows what else to create something original.  What you keep referring to as dance music is actually called “groove” by people who like to bob their head instead of banging it.  Yeah, it’s danceable.  So what.  It’s not for you.

    All that aside, this album just kicks ass.  I think I like Red Album just a little bit more though…   

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1460316186 Tiziano Gennari

    Such a great idea… the whole concept of disposable heroes… wasted on such a negative, caseless and close minded prick… unfortunate

  • B.Rock

    While I fear the beauty of their first three efforts will never be recaptured I definitely think this ‘review’ whatever is kind of weak. Just wait for the Green album. 

  • sisdbcvoisdncsd

    I totally disagree with your opinions, do you have hearing problems dude?! how could you say such nonesense about the blue album! The way you state your ignorant opinions makes you sound like such an immature asswipe!