Nothing proclaims a band's ambition (or indeed folly) quite like the double album, the two-for-one that's a battleground between ingenuity and self-indulgence. As with all previous examples of the genre, there is indeed a victor on Baroness' third record; the shout-from-the-rooftops news is that it's the former.
After a steady rise through the underground with their Red Album (2007) and Blue Record (2009), this 19-song, 75-minute opus is powered by both risk-taking and the US outfit's desire to put a right distance between themselves and their contemporaries. It's a sonic wanderlust that had been briefly hinted at on past releases, but the songwriting evolution here recalls Metallica's jump from Kill 'Em All to Ride the Lighting, the Crumbsuckers' from Life of Dreams to Beast on My Back and Neurosis' from The Word as Law to Souls at Zero.
This is a triumph of bludgeon and grace, slow-burning and instant. Massive, filthy riffs mix with gorgeous melodies and acoustic guitars, clean vocals and harmonies and indie dynamics and 70s trippiness to create the one thing that so many acts fail to provide these days: an adventure. Newly arrived rockers or long-term Baroness fans may not like every song, but what both should be able to agree on is that Take My Bones Away, Cocainium, Sea Lungs and Foolsong will influence many a kid to start a band and are the sound of a group who themselves can blaze through this decade in a very special way.
On this evidence, they've a great triple album in them.