Yellow & Green is the record that draws a very drastic line in the sand for Savannah, Georgia's BARONESS, the group reinventing itself in such stark ways that, at first, you wonder why the band's members even kept the Baroness name around. No longer writing MASTODON's next album for it, Baroness has truly assumed its own identity on Yellow & Green, even if this is undoubtedly not what the group's most dedicated fanbase ever imagined the 'real' Baroness might sound like. Now writing in the grey dirges of post-punk, FUGAZI, THIN LIZZY at its most despondent, and, unbelievably, KATATONIA, Baroness has let its ambition get the better of it and let's thank the gods in charge of unbridled creativity for that, as Yellow & Green is layered, esoteric, genuinely cathartic and epic in understated ways, the type of album a band writes once in its career, if it's lucky. Trying to understand the psychology behind such a radical change is one of the challenges of listening to Yellow & Green, but as the record plays the 'why'd they change?' factor becomes absolutely void, this album bringing colour and splendour to that particular staring-back-at-you abyss. Though double albums are usually pretentious and mired in wholly unnecessary filler, Yellow & Green rarely feels bloated or without reason, as its genetic makeup is, at its core, filled with the types of tracks that are genuine representation of human sadness, frustration, confusion, frailty, and rage, Baroness sixth-sensing entirely with the type of rain that made JOY DIVISION and THE CHURCH (circa 'Reptile') so compelling, even if those two bands aren't explicitly referenced here and are instead used as foundational principles. It's difficult to express the affecting and gorgeous quality that this record exerts, and it's the type of art that deserves to stand on its own merits instead of uselessly being compared to the back catalogue, as diehards are so apt to do when bands they love pull monumental, and unexpected, left turns into locales that don't include the city's metal venues. One sincerely salutes Baroness for such a bold shift of identity, but Yellow & Green's ease with itself hints at the fact that Baroness knew it was capable of this all along. It was the rest of us who were unbelievers.