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CD Review: Baroque's "Reborn"


Warning. Baroque is not for the faint of heart. If you're in the middle of the floor, expect to be smashed into by various representatives of the lunatic fringe, thrashing and swinging like raging epileptics. If you've only grabbed a copy of their latest album "Reborn", then you're off the hook this time, as it's really difficult to capture the full brunt of this band's stage presence and intensity on a thirty-seven minute disk.

Strengths
Forget singing about how your girlfriend broke up with you. Don't expect lyrics about "Harajuku Girls" or "bling bling". Frontman Tim roars about real-life issues, the music industry, pop culture and society as a whole, using his music as a release. I found myself chuckling at his witty rant in "Idolators" when he spits out, "Ashley Simpson sings like shit because she can / Someone else writes her words and holds her hand". The biting social commentary rings honest and true. His voice is really a unique one, carrying a higher, more pleasant-sounding pitch than most metal singers (you know the type... they sound like... THE DEVIL!) In songs like "Reborn", Tim's abrupt mood swings are evident, showcasing his talent at infusing a soft verse into a powerful rant, soon swelling into an enraged screaming match and de-escalating back to quiet contemplation.

Ok, so admittedly, I'm a guitar freak... so the riffs, the power chords, the rhythm, the palm muting, and the distortion... these things matter to me. But for any true metal lover, whether they realize or not, the guitar drives their emotions into a frenzy. Liam does his job with a lot of skill. If you've seen him rip it up live, then you know what I'm talking about. You can see that he's assimilated the best of Dimebag Darryl and Kirk Hammett, tweaking it with his own personality. Matt dishes out a fair amount of deep resonance to keep things nice and heavy, able to carry the mood when Liam delves off into a solo.

You always can tell how good a drummer is if the crowd is spinning across the floor like mini-tornadoes. Sometimes Jeremy focuses on the softer nuances of his set, creating the proper atmosphere, like in "Reborn". At crucial moments, the cymbals, the toms, the bass drum - it's all perfectly blended to get the heart pounding, the head banging and the mosh pit breathing a life of its own.

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Weaknesses
Maybe it's just me, but the rap-style jerkiness of "Motion Sickness" (1) makes me stretch impulsively for the SKIP button. The rhyming feels a little forced and the Kid Rock-ness of it turns me off. However, I did rather enjoy the "We know why they wanna hate us so bad" interlude, a nice break from the tiresome verses. Will it grow on me like a fungus? Only time will tell.

Yet I find that by the end of the CD, I forget the first song ever happened and I can honestly say, this CD rocks! Look out for the album at HMV, Chapters/Indigo to find out why Baroque has been dubbed "the band we've been waiting 20 years for", or check http://www.baroquemetal.com for upcoming shows.

You might like if you're a fan of:
Metallica (The Early Years). Pantera. Alice In Chains. System of a Down. Staind. Disturbed. Tool.

Favorite Tracks: Idolators (2), Reborn (4), Making The News (9)

Rating: 4.5/5.0

Jennn's CD Index:
1 - I'll give you $10 if you can make it through the whole CD
2 - I'm not a fan, but someone might like it somewhere
3 - There are a couple offbeat tracks but it's 90% ROCKIN
4 - This CD rocks my world in its entirety. Buy or die.
5 - Go see them live, support them, join the cult.


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