Baroness EP Review ‘Live @ Maida Vale’

Last summer American alternative metal quartet Baroness stopped by the historic Maida Vale Studio to record a session with BBC Radio 1’s Rock Show. A month later tragedy struck as the band’s tour bus fell 30 feet from a viaduct near Bath, an accident that would sideline the band for many months.  The band had released their third studio album Yellow & Green just two months before the accident and it had proved to be possibly their best work yet. Yellow & Green is a rare record, characterized as accessible to the average rock fan with its polished sound and melodic qualities while at the same time not compromising the band’s hard edged sound and art rock influences.

Building cymbals chime in the beginning of “Take My Bones Away” which feature more fuzzed-out guitars and thicker bass sound which both mesh together to create a darker sound than the studio version. The vocals on “March to the Sea” really shine with the graced with a delicate reverb which gives them a really epic stadium rock feel, but otherwise the song sounds very similar to the studio version. On “Cocainium” the warm sound of the bass guitar carries the song and is accompanied by tight sounding drums that drive the song in addition to guitars drenched in fuzz and reverb which makes for an overall more aggressive sound in comparison to the studio version. The vocal on “A Line Between” carries more emotional weight and passion and ends this live EP on a real high note.

The EP delivers no holds barred rock that has the grand feeling of a big stadium show while at the same delivering the same intensity and intimacy of a smaller stage . While the band does more or less stick to the album length and composition of the four songs chosen as they forego adding any bells and whistles but that’s not necessarily such a bad thing. What you do get with this release is a much muddier mix and overall more gritty sound than the studio versions, one more reminiscent of that from Baroness’ first two albums. Live at Maida Vale is a must have for any hardcore Baroness fan, and even serves as a quick introduction for any new listeners to the band.

Trygve Hjelle