March to the Sea
Label: Relapse Records
Tasteful, mature and simultaneously exploratory and accessible, Baroness' longest, most ambitious, least metal album is quite the Rorschach test: Whether you mainly hear classic rock, rural prog, indie folk, alt-grunge, psych or emo in its cascading wide-screen structures and unabashed growl-free harmonies could say a lot about you. The defiantly unhistrionic emotion isn't immune to whine or gut-bust, and there's a fine line between beautiful and boring. But sublime wistfulness and heavy sections sprout naturally; "Cocainium" grabs hold right away, and the rest might keep unfolding for years.