The 25 Best Metal Albums of 2010 – 2019, #7: Baroness, Yellow & Green
MetalSucks recently polled nearly 180 prominent metal musicians and industry insiders to determine The 25 Best Metal Albums of 2010 – 2019! (You can read all about the voters and the methodology behind the poll here.) Over the next few weeks, we’ll be counting down the entire list, one entry per day.
The countdown continues today with Yellow & Green (Relapse Records), the 2012 release from Baroness!
Some of the albums by Very Popular Metal Bands our panel voted onto this list were toss-ups, one of many that could’ve conceivably made it and likely would have if the timing had been different. That is most certainly not the case with Yellow & Green, a career-defining album that we knew would make this list from the moment we conceptualized it. Purple, its similarly beloved follow-up, received almost as many total votes but was dwarfed by the number of first-place nods bestowed upon Yellow & Green, the second most of any album on the list. But enough about nerdy methodology…
Yellow & Green is a generational classic that saw Baroness fully lean in to the sound they’d forged on Red and Blue, a more dynamic, nuanced and song-based approach than the grittier, riffier material of their early EPs. Double albums are no small feat — most of them are bloated and full of filler — but Baroness nailed it here with unforgettable, bonafide singalong tunes like “Take My Bones Away,” “March to the Sea,” “Cocainium,” “Board Up the House” and “Lines Between,” interspersed with instrumental tracks and lower-key numbers (“Stretchmarks,” for one — positively gorgeous!) that both provide sonic breaks for the listener and tell those equally important parts of the story (life is full of ups and downs, not just ups). True, at 75 minutes long the band could have fit both albums into one disc, but that they decided to make it a double speaks to the ambitious nature of the project and the lofty goals they’d set for themselves, the album’s keyboard-laden back half the perfect complement to its more traditionally rock-based front.
The giant shame about Yellow & Green, of course, is that the band never got to properly tour it after enduring a horrific bus crash in England just months after the album’s release, leaving frontman John Baizley with life-changing injuries. Yellow & Green was so well received upon its release, and its songs so warmly greeted when the band played them on tour with Meshuggah and Decapitated the spring prior (what a lineup!), that it’s very possible the album cycle would’ve concluded with a tour featuring the band playing it start to finish every night. That would’ve been quite an experience. If only.
Regardless, Yellow & Green is a masterpiece every bit deserving of the accolades it received both then and now. Think not of what might have been and only of what is: Baroness are currently one of the biggest bands in the world to come out of the metal scene, and Yellow & Green is unquestionably the album that put them there.
The 25 Best Metal Albums of 2010 – 2019:
#25: Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas, Mariner (2016)
#24: Triptykon, Eparistera Daimones (2010)
#23: Pig Destroyer, Book Burner (2012)
#22: Yob, Clearing the Path to Ascend (2014)
#21: The Black Dahlia Murder, Ritual (2011)
#20: Mastodon, Once More ‘Round the Sun (2014)
#19: At the Gates, At War with Reality (2012)
#18: Meshuggah, Koloss (2012)
#17: Gorguts, Colored Sands (2012)
#16: Between the Buried and Me, The Parallax II: Future Sequence (2012)
#15: The Ocean, Pelagial (2013)
#14: Kvelertak, Kvelertak (2010)
#13: Judas Priest, Firepower (2018)
#12: Metallica, Hardwired… to Self-Destruct (2016)
#11: Converge, All We Love We Leave Behind (2012)
#10: The Dillinger Escape Plan, One of Us Is the Killer (2013)
#9: Rivers of Nihil, Where Owls Know My Name (2018)
#8: Deafheaven, Sunbather (2013)