John Dyer Baizley talks about stone, the stuff, as part of the deeper inspiration behind Stone, the album. On walks with his dog over the past couple of years, surrounded by it in canyons and on cliffs, he began to consider stone – hard, long-hewn and standing to all intents and purposes forever, certainly longer than any of us – as much a metaphor for art as the colour wheel he and Baroness had previously employed in naming their albums and chapters. He could relate to the Greek figure Sisyphus and his big, eternal boulder when writing and searching for diamonds among the coal, just as the finished product an artist makes is there forever, in some way, a monument.
Stone also works as a handy symbol for Baroness themselves. They are immovable and seemingly permanent in their excellence. They are a totem to being A Good Band. To the point where, by now, six records in, it’s increasingly difficult to find new ways to sing their praises. Baroness have done it again, you say? No shit.
This is not a problem shared by the band. Despite the number of spines for songs stretching into three figures, getting that down to a dozen, and buffing out 10 that make it to Stone, it’s fluid, natural, articulate, even at its most clever and imaginative. As ever, you can hear the touch of Thin Lizzy in the leads, a comparison to Mastodon during the more feral bits, the shadow of Metallica’s Orion when they really get locked into a stomp, a comparison to Biffy in making angles so easy to swallow. But this is like looking at a massive house and commenting on what the bricks are made of. As obvious as it is to say, Baroness are completely singular in what they do.