| Abraxan Hymns | Release Date: 18th Dec 2015
Critic score distribution:
Simply put, ‘Purple’ is an impressive listen. Baroness are fortunate enough to have found the silver linings that are born from tragedy and they’ve nurtured them into a triumphant return to making world-class heavy music.
With Purple, Baroness returns equally passionate and rejuvenated, turning tribulation into triumph. Baizley and Adams are at their stellar best, and Thomson and Jost make a rousing first impression. Purple is majestic and elegant, steeped in bold chaos and melodic nuance: Baroness has delivered an emphatic aural rejoinder to adversity.
Baroness have stared death in the face. It's fitting that Purple sounds life-affirming. [Jan 2016, Issue 278]
It's a wonderful thing when a highly anticipated metal record finally comes out and turns out to be really worth the wait.
Purple is a redemptive statement that’s indelibly human, going far beyond mere notes and music. It speaks to the deeper powers of creation: the artistic struggle to maintain, survive, and somehow have fun in the face of death, a fate Baroness defied and overcame.
Purple is the color of fresh bruises. It's also the combination of Red and Blue, which makes sense musically for those familiar with the group's albums of those names. These are some of the biggest, strongest songs Baroness have written; it's rock music that folds in their more metal leanings, along with something more delicate and spare.
Purple is as far away from metal the band have ever been. While the opener “Morningstar” begins with a patented Baroness riff—one of those that would work well accompanying a duel by battleaxe—it swiftly transforms to a pensive and anthemic brand of sludgy gruff rock, not far from the pro-beard kind propagated in the early aughts by a label like No Idea.
Whether the devastation of the aforementioned accident has imbued Baizley with new life, or his dual successes in the arts are just making him a fuller person, somehow Purple is still heavier than Yellow & Green despite being a leaner machine.
Though not as "experimental" as their previous couple of records, as a whole Purple is far more focused, and it's certainly more euphoric.
‘Purple’ is, almost before anything else, resolutely melodic and Baizley’s full-throated roar gets wrapped around choruses that are hulking slabs for Adams to decorate with undulating, hook-heavy guitar work.
If Purple is a journey in search of breakthrough, its culmination is deeply personal. By its end, Baizley has let go of ego and pose, opening himself to possibility. It is a Whitmanesque personal epiphany, a revelatory rebirth.
Catchy as hell, yet packing a dirty rhythmic punch, Purple is evidence that Baroness has transcended the turmoil surrounding them and settled in for the long haul.
Nowhere near as sprawling as its predecessor 'Yellow & Green', 'Purple' encapsulates so much of what makes this band great. [Issue #266]