8/19/11

Baroness, Katatonia

The combining theme in these two reviews seems to be meh, should be heavier.

Baroness: Blue Record (2009)
Baroness is a progressive (sludge) rock band that someone recommended to me sometime when I was (once again) enthusing over Mastodon. I was expecting something extraordinary, because if something can be compared to Mastodon, it can't completely suck, right? Well, Baroness doesn't completely suck, but in my opinion it's not on the same level with Mastodon - it's way lower.
In general, not just in relation to Mastodon, I haven't felt anything big or amazing with Baroness and I just can't get a hold of it. I feel somehow very distant to this band. But Blue Record is not bad music, don't get me wrong. It's better than most music out there. It's not exceptional to me, but it's good. I will listen to it occasionally, but I'm not in love with it. Who knows, maybe it will sound better after some time.

One problem is that Baroness is more rock than metal. Another problem is that the songs are very even - nothing stands out. This is one thing that totally separates Mastodon from Baroness. Many songs on this album have promising beginnings, but then after a while it just falls flat. Also, the softer interludes are somewhat annoying on this album :/ They are very much needed, but they still annoy me. It's something in the melodies. Too easy listening?

Hmm. There are good songs on Blue Record, like this, Jake Leg. It's definitely above average, although the progressiveness of the song is not surprising in any way. But it's good nevertheless.



Rating for Baroness's Blue Record: 6/10


Katatonia: Night Is the New Day (2009) 
I had high hopes for this album. High hopes can be dangerous - it's easier to get disappointed. But what else can you do, with such great Katatonia albums in the past, but to expect awesomeness? Yes. So I crashed a bit. Night is the New Day is not one of Katatonia's best albums.
My main complaints: a.) Not as heavy as I would've liked it to be. (I get that same feeling with so many bands and so many albums these days.) b.) Not as weird as I would've liked it to be. It's too easy.

A little bit below awesome is not bad for Katatonia, though. It's a good album, even though it doesn't have that many emotion evoking songs on it. The last three Katatonia albums before this one have evoked plenty of emotions for me :D Maybe it was just time to take it a bit slower for a change. But I am sad that the trend with bands like Katatonia and Swallow the Sun seems to be towards mainstream. Idle Blood, for instance, is a song you could imagine hearing on the radio. RADIO. The beginning of that song is verging on happy.. Katatonia, happy? Wtf... To think that when I first heard Katatonia, almost ten years ago now, I thought it was too depressing. Haha.
My absolute favorite songs on Night Is the New Day are Nephilim, New Night and Departer. At least they are somewhat depressing and remind me of the old Katatonia desperation.
All in all, I'd say that Katatonia is always good on some level. However, they have done better albums in the past, and I'll probably still choose The Great Cold Distance (2006), Viva Emptiness (2003) or Last Fair Deal Gone Down (2001) over this.
Rating for Katatonia's Night Is the New Day: 6,85-7/10. I couldn't decide! 6 seems to low but 7 seems to close to 8. Idk.

Here's the official video for Day and Then the Shade. Not my favorite, but that girl has maggots in her mouth. (How fucking original!)

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