Does Baroness' Yellow and Green Sound Like Nickelback?
On July, 17, Savannah, Georgia, Baroness released its anticipated double record, Yellow and Green. Embraced by the kind of people who often ignore metal and backhandedly complimented as a "thinking man's metal band," Baroness' string of recordings -- First, Second, A Grey Sigh in a Flower Husk, Red, and Blue -- have been inspiring and consistent in quality.
Yellow and Green, with its sprawling two-disc format and significantly more pop-minded approach, has thrown fans for a loop. Because, according to the experts in the YouTube comment sections, "it sounds like Nickelback."
In a word: kinda. If by Nickelback you mean "pop-focused guitar rock," then yes.
I'm going to suggest that there are more direct parallels than the much-loathed Canadian rock band. Yellow and Green does indeed find songwriter, vocalist, and mutli-instrumentalist John Dyer Baizley, drummer/keyboardist Allen Blickle, and guitarist/vocalist Pete Adams (bassist Matt Maggioni joined after the record was completed) embracing the sheen and melodicism of modern rock, aligning their heavy sound with the nuevo prog sounds of Muse and Thrice ("Sea Lungs"), or the straight forward riffage of Weezer and The Foo Fighters ("Take My Bones Away," "March to the Sea".
There are deeper associations, too: the angular post-hardcore of "The Line Between," the '70s boogie-funk of "Cocanium" (you almost imagine hearing a clavinet), the stuttering disco beat of "Little Things," finger-picking excursion "Stretchmaker," the swooning elegy "I Forget Thee, Lowcountry." It's stuffed to the brim with ideas and experimental passion, but it never loses its footing, never forsakes songcraft in favor of flashy moves.
It's a monster of a record, creative and solid. So what does any of that have to do with Nickelback? Not much, really. It's more about the idea. Yellow and Green's most pop-friendly moments could -- and should -- wind up dominating the radio. It's hard to imagine a Nickelback album this creative and adventurous, but it's equally tough for protective fans of sludge, doom, drone, and experimental metal to stomach the idea that you could slot "March to the Sea" into a rotation with Seether, System of a Down, Nickelback, and Five Finger Death Punch on KUPD and call it "active rock."