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Comeback of Comebacks - 96%

Rhinosaurus, February 16th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Abraxan Hymns (Digipak)

For me, this album sums up sorrow, recovery, and new vitality. It's less about the terrible events that occurred, and more about the aftermath of events. I mean, there were some serious injuries to this band after a near fatal vehicle crash. I guess the only thing to do was to move on, pick up a guitar, and produce this excellent album.

I think by overcoming this terrible event, Baroness have produced their best album to date. These are the best melodies and riffs they've developed, they've amalgamated the subtle style of Yellow & Green, aloing with the heaviness of the Red and Blue albums. The album opener, 'Morningstar', demonstrates the bands second coming, with it's hefty riffing, combined with Baizley's dynamic singing, which blends subtlety and aggression.

Their early sludge metal sound has moved on to more dynamic song patterns. There's a really good blend of different song styles, including the atmospheric and groovy instrumental, 'Fugue', and the very thick sounding, 'The Iron Bell'. The heaviest song, 'Desperation Burns', has a speed metal vibe to it, and reminds me of their earlier work. It's lead guitarist, Peter Adams, who provides some excellent riffage on this song, and throughout the album. The outstanding moment being the ballad, 'If I have to Wake Up', which displays Adams' different guitar playing styles. And my own favourite, 'Kerosene', is this no-nonsense, straight up, punky song, with some great guitar work.

Producer Dave Fridmann really enhances the bands sound. New bassist, Nick Jost, and drummer, Sebastian Thomson, help make this album sound vibrant, though it's Baizley's emotions and energy which make these songs really stand out. Songs such as, 'If I Have to Wake Up', references the aftermath of the vehicle crash. 'Chlorine & Wine', deals with a period of recovery, and this theme continues throughout the album. Baizley really turned the incident to his advantage, and wrote some wounderfully personal and optimistic songs. The songwriting also covers the different directions the band took in the aftermath, where they dealt with the difficult times, and where they overcome adversary. For these reasons, it's a really positive, uplifting album, and one Baizley should take pride in. It's an album that overcomes near tragedy, and provides a really enjoyable listen.