Baroness follows up their stunning previous effort THE RED ALBUM with another colorfully titled endeavor BLUE RECORD. Despite taking discernible steps away from their comfort zone this time around, most notably by choosing burgeoning producer John Congleton known more for indie rock savvy than sludge metal salvation, this unitís unbridled spirit and daring musicianship is stretched way past parameters set from prior releases, expanding into areas as divergent as Windham Hill folk rock to majestic classic rock movements with a interlocking barrage of startling arrangement twists and stylistic musical swerves from psychedelic rock to mainstream metal. Uplifting and emotional arenít usually two ways to describe a metal album, yet this mysterious quartet manages to implement a boisterously buoyant bounce into the molten mix without cracking their chalice of menacing metallic fury. Whether it be from the picturesque cascading rhythms blooming from rootsy acoustic interludes underpinned with a distinctly southern rock charm, the albumís fluctuating atmospheric shifts yielding an edgy rise and fall prog-rock continuity, or the mesmerizing mixture of glorious half- Maiden, half-Thin Lizzy twin-guitar gallops and sophisticated and multi-faceted mountain jams, Baroness demonstrate a flawless musical fluidity that provides countless memorable phrasings and contagious grooves that when summoned pack a provocative and thunderously heavy punch powered with an air of elegant urgency. Baroness has raised the bar by which artsy metal shall be judged once again, with an advanced interplay that makes this album the perfect companion to THE RED ALBUM and a winning blend of newfound nuances form-fitted to render the affair capable to stand on its own merits.