If there ever was a year that Baroness was going to break out, 2012 was it. Their Yellow & Green album was a major step forward for the one-time Savannah-based metal outfit, as they seemingly abandoned the world of doom-and-gloom bone-crunchers for a sound that was a bit more mainstream but at the same time far more experimental than anything they had ever done before. Not surprisingly, the new release by John Dyer Baizley and the guys was getting rave reviews — and rightfully so. Heck, they even got a plug on NPR.

But on Aug. 15, 2012, the band’s big break came to a screeching halt thanks to a horrible bus crash in Bus, England, that left several band members with severe, but not life-threatening injuries. Singer-guitarist Baizley suffered a broken arm and leg, and Allen Blickle (drums) and Matt Maggioni (bass) were left with broken vertebrae. Meanwhile, guitarist Pete Adams only received minor injuries. (Several crew members were also hurt in the accident.)

Since then, Baizley and Adams have healed and are ready to hit the road. And on Tues. May 28, they’ll be making a stop in Charleston at the Music Farm. Unfortunately, both Blickle and Maggioni won’t be joining them.

Recently, Baizley spoke out on the wreck and the Blickle and Maggioni’s departures:

Nothing can truly prepare you for a brush with death. The event is unique one, singular to the observer. Trust me, you don’t want to invite the experience. Our bus accident left indelible marks, external and internal, physical and mental, you name it. Each of the nine of us went through and continues to go through an entirely different, yet common experience. We are tied to each other by a trauma, which, despite its damage, has been made individually easier through our shared ordeal. While I would never wish the incident on anyone, I cannot imagine going through that wreck alone.

Thankfully, injury was not dealt out evenly; unfortunately it was dealt in great supply. Each of the nine of us now finds our self in a drastically different circumstance, and we each move forward accordingly. There are two important things to note. First, we are all healthy. We are recovering at different rates, and we’ll all be fine in the end. Second, Baroness has made a commitment to pick up where we left off, and get back out on tour, where we belong. In fact, I am personally staking my recovery on this principle; it gives me direction and something to look forward to (finally).

However, for some of us, the accident necessitated a change that would prevent them from performing music or touring. It is with sadness that we must announce that Matt Maggioni and Allen Blickle will not continue touring with Baroness. The details of their departure are not sensational; they do not come with hard feelings. Nor are the details going to be public; suffice it to say we’d like to keep to ourselves the finer points of this situation, to respect the privacy of all involved. While the nine of us must respect the significance of the bus accident in Bath, we must also move away from it and get back to our lives. Simply put, some of the effects and injuries were severe enough to prohibit further activity in Baroness. While we would never have asked them to leave; we have the utmost sympathy for this situation, and in earnest, we wish Matt and Allen the best in the future. In their stead, we have found two musicians who can approach our music with passion and vitality and help get us back out on tour to finish what was seemingly cut short last August.

It goes without saying that I wish Matt Maggioni and Allen Blickle the best and hope that they fully recover. However, if there was one band that I wanted to see — right here, right now — it’s Baroness. Yellow & Green was my favorite album of 2012, and frankly, it’s impossible for me not to get a little giddy at the prospect of catching them live. If you doubt my enthusiasm, then check out what I said about Baroness’ ground-breaking collection last year:

Every once in a while a band takes such a giant creative leap forward that it forever changes who they are as a band. Sometimes they even manage to change pop music itself. Think of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique, Radiohead’s OK Computer, Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. Now you can add Baroness’ Yellow and Green Album to the list. With their latest release, this one-time Savannah, Ga.-based metal outfit ditched the Cookie Monster vocals and the punishing riffs in favor of ambient Iron & Wine-style rural ballads (“Collapse”), soaring harmonies (“Twinkler”), and polished modern rockers (“Little Things”). And it all comes together on Yellow and Green’s standout track, “Cocainium,” a bit of death-metal disco that sounds like it was sung by Fleet Foxes during the recording sessions for Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. This is without a doubt the most kickass song of the year, and a sure sign that the best of Baroness is yet to come.

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