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Album review: Baroness’ ‘Purple’

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Annie Zaleski

Four stars

Baroness Purple

Shortly after releasing 2012’s sprawling double album, Yellow & Green, Georgia band Baroness got in a devastating bus accident, which seriously injured vocalist/guitarist John Baizley and eventually led to the departure of its rhythm section. The band regrouped with two new members (Trans Am drummer Sebastian Thomson and studious jazzbo bassist Nick Jost) and producer Dave Fridmann for follow-up Purple. The resulting tunes find Baroness digging in and honing in on its strengths. “Shock Me” and “Try to Disappear” are metallic hard rockers with well-defined chorus hooks and furious guitar licks, while opus “Chlorine & Wine” blends Pink Floydian atmospherics and prog-leaning riff outbursts. Despite Purple’s more streamlined sound, Baroness hasn’t reigned in its experimental tendencies. “Desperation Burns” has an underbelly of eerie keyboards, while taut, space-grunge standout “The Iron Bell” ends with Baizley repeatedly howling, “I’m born again.” It’s a sentiment fit for a stellar comeback record.

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