Heavy music is full of legendary bands boasting deep catalogs stacked with iconic songs — sometimes it can be hard to know where to start, or what to consider their best. With that in mind, we present the “Mandatory Metal” lists, which collect what we consider to be the definitive tracks from various members of the metallurgic pantheon. Up today, Baroness, those forward-thinking, always evolving prog-sludge titans who have overcome near-fatal bus accidents and pushed the boundaries of heavy sonics and visuals since day one. John Baizley and Co. are stronger than ever today, flying high off the 2019 release of their acclaimed LP Gold & Grey, and have numerous mind-bending compositions to their name, but in our opinion, these classic cuts are their most essential. If you disagree, sound off on The Pit Facebook page.
“Rays On Pinion”
ALBUM: The Red Album
The seven-minute Red Album standout opens with atmospheric post-rock before exploding into full-fledged, riff-worshipping metal complete with some of John Baizley’s most ragged and compulsive screams: “Save your soul!”
Sample lyrics: “Our trust lies in mighty wing/As we thrust ourselves into the drink/Pitched boats sail and ploughmen toil/To drift on and work the soil.”
“Take My Bones Away”
ALBUM: Yellow & Green
Yellow & Green’s lead single is a straight-up heavy-metal anthem boasting one of Baroness’ most infectious choruses and a majestic outro for the ages.
Sample lyrics: “Take my bones away/I’ll find ’em everyday!”
“A Horse Called Golgotha”
ALBUM: The Blue Album
A prog-metal firestorm, “A Horse Called Golgotha” sees Baroness leaning into their most virtuosic guitar-hero abilities, embracing classical-inflected shredding and face-melting solos worthy of Randy Rhoads himself.
Sample lyrics: “The stained horizon/Of the dark rein and rider/The steed named Golgotha.”
Purple saw Baroness rise from the ashes of a harrowing 2012 bus accident with renewed creative vigor. The album’s Grammy-nominated single is still sludgy and metallic at its heart, but soars on proggy synths and one of Baizley’s greatest earworm vocal hooks.
Sample lyrics: “In a battle, you only brought your shield/I picked the nearest blade I found/To meet you in the field/I’m sure that I told my fair share of lies.”
ALBUM: Gold & Grey
Baroness took their sound next level on 2019’s Gold & Grey, with new band member Gina Gleason adding not only sinuous guitar work but also powerfully resonant vocals. Triumphant and yet melancholy, “Borderlines” expertly showcases the band’s evolved range and depth.
Sample lyrics: “Borderlines/Get me out alive/Petty rage/I am right where I belong.”