LIVE REVIEW: Baroness @ Annandale Hotel, Sydney 13/11/10


written by Chris Familton

Metal comes in many shades and those at the Annandale bore witness to 3 variations of the genre. Baroness were touring as support for Metallica but took the time to play a show at the much smaller pub venue to honour their fans and get up close and personal with the punters.

Up first were locals Summonus who progress their sound every time I see them. They are developing a nice slow grind sound that takes in stoner, prog and death influences. The slow motion stoner groove is the predominant feel and they load it up with tension and some lead-weight guitar chords. The vocals still sounded too growly bear but overall they are still a promising band on the rise.

Up from Melbourne and hailing originally from New Zealand, Akaname played an impressive set that was both super technical and still emotive. These guys can nail time changes with military precision, morphing form hyperactive free jazz to skull crunching speed metal and everywhere else in between. It was kinda scary watching how at ease they seemed playing such complex arrangements. No vocals are their thing and the suffer nothing from being wordless. With the dexterity and composition tools at their disposal they are a must see/hear band for any forward thinking metaller.

Baroness have been plying their trade for 7 years now and with last year’s Blue Record they cemented themselves as a real player in modern metal. Alongside bands like Mastodon they are forging ahead with progressive ideas incorporating melody, psychedelia and a injecting a strange vein of pop hook into their sound.

Bounding onstage the quartet wasted no time in launching into songs from the recent album as well cuts from the prior Red Record and beyond. They are a curious band to watch with frontman John Baizley all teeth and muscular writhing. Alongside him Peter Adams looked like an LA metal dude with his annoyingly constant hair flicks and facial expressions complete with bug eyes and open mouth soloing – Sebastian Bach came to mind with his rock posturing.

On the music front the band delivered in bucket loads, lifting the audience and carrying them on a sonic wave for the entire set. The surging melodies and aggression were intense and at times over the top but that is kinda what you want from a band like this.

Songs from Blue Record were the definite highlights, in particular the bellowed Jake Leg and the glam riffing of A Horse Called Golgotha. The sweet spot was well and truly found with Swollen and Halo, an indecently catchy song with its Pumpkins-esque spiraling guitar work and crescendo approach to dynamics.

Baizley for some reason felt like the gig was one of the greatest they’d played and that he ‘fucking loved us’ – a nice sentiment but it felt a tad ass kissing and predictable . Nonetheless, for all their posturing Baroness certainly had the goods to back up the bluster. They are on top of their game as a live band and in terms of their songwriting so it could go either way from here on in. For now they cemented their status with the fans and converted a whole bunch of new ones.

this review first appeared on FasterLouder


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