Georgia sludge-prog giants Baroness were high on our list of 2015’s most-anticipated albums, but there was a real chance 2015 wouldn’t bring a new Baroness album. After their horrible bus accident in 2012, half the band handed in their resignations, and leader John Baizley was severely physically mangled. As he wrote of his memory of the accident (warning: graphic imagery):
I surveyed the damage to see instantly that my left leg was very obviously and badly broken. Then I lifted my arms forward to see if either had been damaged. My right arm was covered in burns, blood and broken glass, but working well enough. My left arm was crushed beyond belief, broken in the middle of the bone in my upper arm (humerus), and hanging 90 degrees backwar ds, with many spurs of bone poking through muscles and sinew at the surface of my skin. The bone was shattered into seven free-floating pieces, and my wrist and hand were swinging behind my back, spasming freely.
That would have been an unspeakable horror for anyone, but for Baizley — a brilliant guitarist (and visual artist!) who relies on his hands for his livelihood — it must have been a waking nightmare. But he rehabilitated, recovered, and started playing shows. Still … no news of a new Baroness record. Earlier this year, Baroness guitarist Pete Adams released a magnificent new album with his other band, Valkyrie, which at least suggested the possibility that Baroness wouldn’t be back right away. It would have been understandable, and the Valkyrie record would have been more than enough to tide over fans. HOWEVER it appears we’re gonna get a little more still.
Baroness just posted a photo on their Facebook (it’s the same photo that appears on the top of this page). It’s Baizley and Adams playing in the studio alongside new members Nick Jost and Sebastian Thomson. And the caption reads: “Recording with Dave Fridmann at Tarbox Road Studios in Cassadaga, New York.”
Fridmann is obviously the producer behind the Flaming Lips’ The Soft Bulletin, Sparklehorse’s It’s a Wonderful Life, Mercury Rev’s Deserter’s Songs, Sleater-Kinney’s The Woods, and about two dozen other classics or near-classics. He’s never worked with Baroness before, but I think he’s a great fit for their sound. I’m not sure it’s a safe bet that we get a new LP from the band this year, but it’s June, and metal records typically don’t go through Wrens-esque gestation periods, so I like our odds. I like everything about this, honestly. Whatever comes out of these sessions, I can’t wait to hear it. It’s a beautiful day, this little news item makes it a whole lot more beautiful, so let’s bump some Blue Record jams while we bask in all this beauty.