Baroness – Stone (Album Review)

Baroness is what I would call a well-established underground band. A band with 6 albums under it’s belt now and multiple tours alongside heavyweight acts like Metallica and Lamb of God. They are indie but not indie… they seem unknown yet widely known.

The band was founded in 2003 and is composed of members John Baizley (vocals/guitar), Gina Gleason (vocals/guitar), Nick Jost (bass) and Sebastian Thomson (drums). The Philadelphia-meets-Brooklyn foursome have released five full-length albums prior to this one: Gold & Grey (2019), Purple (2015),  Yellow & Green (2012), Blue Record (2009), and the Red Album (2007). The band have won widespread praise throughout their career, receiving their first GRAMMY® nomination in 2017 for the song “Shock Me.”

Their sixth full-length album “Stone” has the potential to be the one that pushes the band to an even greater level of notoriety. Baroness has further refined their sound on this album without removing any of the elements that fans love about their music. Stone has the all the signature elements of earlier Baroness work but with a tighter and more focused energy.

If you’ve heard the lead single “Last Word” it’s arguably one of the best songs the band has ever released. The moment I heard it I was instantly drawn in, it now plays in my head constantly. From the fast and heavy intro to the earworm hook “I REMEMBER EVERY LAST WORD… I REMEMBER IT ALL!!!!”

The second single “Beneath the Rose” has a similar classic metal and rock n’ roll aura as well. “But when you’re hanging from the rafters in my addict… know that I will never let you down” quips Baizley as the menacing rhythm churns beneath him.

The slow creeping groove of “Anodyne” is eerily reminiscent of Josh Homme and Queens of the Stone Age. This is probably my favorite track on the album. The layered harmonies in the vocals over the slithering guitar groove just give the track so much character.

Shine starts with a pretty guitar intro before breaking into a hard and driving groove in a manner reminiscent of classic Black Sabbath. This song is another one of my favorites and happens to be the last single and video the band released during the lead up to the album’s release which is today. (Sept. 15th 2023). You can watch the video here.

Magnolia has the longest run time on on the album. It starts out sounding like it’s going to be one of the more somber and mellow tracks on the album and eventually explodes into a full-on stoner metal epic. Under the Wheel rounds out the tracklist and Bloom brings the album full circle having a rhythm and melody almost identical to the opening track Embers.

A noteworthy aspect of this album is Sebastian Thomson’s drumming. His intensity and precision really glue the album together. He and bassist Nick Jost add the perfect foundational ebb and flow underneath the guitar and vocal lines of John Baizley and Gina Gleason that really pushes this album into the stratosphere. The quality of the drumming on this album cannot be understated.

Pound for pound, Stone is a triumph and Baroness’ best full length album to date. This is the type of album you can put on and listen to from start to finish… and then when it’s over start it again without even thinking about it. Aside from being great as a coherent album, each of these tracks can also easily stand on it’s own. Baroness has clearly ascended to the peak of their career with this album. The band’s confidence and commitment to songcraft is evident and they have undeniably created another classic album with Stone.