Originally written by Chris Chellis.
First things first, the Baroness captured here is not comprised of exactly the same elements that came to fruition later on the Red Album. The Baroness here is less rock oriented and more firmly rooted in an explosive sludge that keeps them from exploring more progressive terrain, which I would argue makes this version of the band slightly less compelling than the one we now find on Relapse. Secondly, the band found on the latter half of the split is Unpersons, another band from Savannah, Georgia with no shortage of thick mind-melting riffs. So, generally speaking, A Grey Sigh In A Flower Husk could be seen as a celebration of an inspiring place and time that many of us are only now enjoying the spoils from.
“Cavite” is far and away the better song of the two Baroness contributes to the split. At over 12 minutes in length, it easily could have been a mess, but it’s arranged in a way that sustains interest, each successive passage building on the sparse, hypnotic opening. The manner in which John Baizley and Tim Loose (who is no longer with the band) play with the minimalist moments by throwing a few sharp, soulful riffs into the mix is akin to a chef peppering a slow-cooking soup with spices, each layer contributing an interesting flavor that strengthens the existing ingredients.
The split’s opener is the one other Baroness track, “Teiresias.” I’ve heard some pretty Mastodon-esque moments from this band, but this one takes the cake. While its influences are pretty obvious, it’s still a decent song. Unfortunately, the replay value is fairly low, but the few cool squiggly riffs tossed about make it an interesting listen and one worthy of your ears’ attention.
Unpersons is a slightly stranger animal than Baroness. I hear traces of everything from hardcore, stoner, doom and sludge in their sound, with the latter being the most dominant of those four. Make no mistake, though. Unpersons and Baroness might share a similar affinity for sludge but they might as well be apples and oranges. Unpersons is schizo as all hell, and that both helps and hurts the band. They’ll hit this insane groove then quickly shift into static before hitting something new. You’ll be left a little cold. That said, it’s better to hit a few insanely amazing parts than to hit none at all.
An obvious point of contention with Unpersons will be their vocalist. The dude sounds hopped up on some serious shit. People maliciously slip whatever he’s taking into peoples drinks just to see them freak. I guess it gives the band some character in a scene where most bands just kind of phone in that whole gruff voice thing, but it’ll take some of you some serious adjusting to like Unpersons’ vocalist. I know it took me some time.
Those who have heard the name Baroness tossed around should start with the Red Album and make their way here. As solid as this is, it’s nowhere near as interesting as the band’s full-length debut. Chances are, if you like the Red Album you will like this and you will also dig Unpersons’ half of the split. It’s a little uneven, with Baroness offering a stronger listen, but Unpersons more than hold their own and I am left a little curious to hear their two full-lengths.