A simple enough concept, a red album, but splashing a coat of paint on the cover of Baroness’ latest would be too easy for frontman John Baizley, well-known for his artistic contribution to the album covers of Pig Destroyer, Kylesa, The Red Chord, et al. No, this Red Album isn’t as simple as that.

It’s true not only for the art, but the music. The four- piece, out of Savannah, GA, have made it a point to be as rich as possible. Taking a cue from the longer works of fellow Georgians, Mastodon, Baroness augment their songs with extended technical- without-being-flashy interludes. The dynamics remain healthy and sensible throughout, and though Baroness never crush quite the same way as their better-known peers, there is a greater amount of downtime.

Much greater, in fact. A number of tracks are more instrumentals than songs: “Aleph,” “Teeth Of A Cogwheel,” “O’Appalachia,” though they may have heavier sections, they are mostly lyrical, rhythm figure-dominated instrumentals that are not without a kind of provincial charm (proven by the untitled Allman- esque secret track). “Rays On Pinion” and “Wailing Wintry Wind” are more balanced, and when Baizley and crew decide to speak up, it’s all the more intriguing. Even the closest things to singles on here, the Melvins-y “The Birthing” and “Cockroach En Fleur” include interludes and extended instrumental sections.

So where does this leave The Red Album? Is it chilled-out Isis or amped-up Zombi? Maybe a bit of both, but certainly neither in practice. A solid release on its own merits.

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