BARONESS — Second (review)

BARONESS — Second album cover EP · 2005 · Sludge Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
BARONESS followed up its debut EP, “First” with the logically titled SECOND which was released the very next year in 2005. Like the debut, this one contained three tracks that exceeded the 20 minute mark and along with the debut was one of the two releases to feature the early lineup of John Baizley (vocals, guitar), Allen Blickle (drums), Tim Loose (guitar) and Summer Welch (bass.)

SECOND exhibits a more sophisticated sound that while not jettisoning the extreme core influences that emerged from the members’ punk roots that offer caustic sludge metal delivers on overdrive, the band’s progressive tendencies that peeked through the din on the debut are more developed on this one and in many ways BARONESS sounds most like Mastodon on this one as the 2000s found an entire Georgia scene that incorporated core and punk influences into sludge metal along with progressive and psychedelic elements.

While “First” was on high octane all the time, SECOND allows for some slower echoey guitar sequences that allow some interesting instrumental interplay especially on “Son Of Sun” which displays some of the band’s notorious flirtations with progressive rock that would become its signature sound and as a result makes a much more interesting musical experience than on “First” although that one was a wickedly wild unadulterated slab of primeval raw sludge metal.

One can think of these early EP years as the first phase of BARONESS which includes the following split with Unpersons titled “A Grey Sigh In A Flower Husk” before the lineup change that would debut on the band’s first full-length “Red Album.” In addition to the sludge metal antics of Mastodon on SECOND, there are clear references to post-metal bands like Isis as well the expected Kylesa connection. Overall i prefer this much more sophisticated SECOND offering to the first because not only does it deliver a filthy raw slab of caustic sludge metal but also exceeds its one-dimensional nature by offering respites into more progressive and psychedelic meanderings.
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