Rosetta


(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
The Galilean Satellites (2005), 7.5/10
Wake/ Lift (2007), 6.5/10
Junius + Rosetta (2011), 6.5/10 (EP)
A Determinism Of Mortality (2010), 6/10
The Anaesthete (2013), 5.5/10
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Philadelphia's Rosetta appropriately split the dense and intense The Galilean Satellites (Translation Loss, 2005) between a disc of crushing doom-metal songs and a disc of atmospheric and convoluted abstractions, and made it sound like they were two sides of the same coin. Each song is a complex construction, and in fact the shortest lasts eight minutes. Departe begins with an electronic hiss and atmosheric guitar twang, then a not-so-harsh and rather melodic growl introduces the main theme over a hypnotic (not blasting) drumbeat and melodic shoegazing guitar distortion, and there's even room for an instrumental intermezzo with cosmic-raga flourishes. Even more melodic is Europa, with a cyclical guitar riff and martial drumming. The 16-minute Itinerant exudes a sense of melodrama that belongs more to prog-rock suites of the 1970s than to doom-metal. It is also a display of technical skills, from U2-esque guitar work to oddly syncopated drumming (the last five minutes are a ghoulish wind of whispers and buzzing electronics). The 13-minute Au Pays Natal takes four minutes of psychological doodling before launching its shoegaze/doom hurricane. Best is actually the instrumental Absent, a lively post-metal romp with neoclassical and jazzy overtones.
At the other end of the spectrum Deneb sits somewhere between musique concrete and acid rock, an abstract soundscape of electronic effects with psychedelic overtones; Capella sounds like the slow-motion remix of a doom riff, a pulverizing second of music stretched out to become a ten minute agony with an eternal droning coda; Beta Aquilae is pure psychological torture, a liquid mass of tones that hatches a warped incantation and then buries it under sheets of distortion and cosmic explosions; its cosmic apocalypse segues smoothly into the 16-minute Ross 128, whose core pits the foreboding noise of a black hole against a repetitive guitar melody before everything implodes in celestial drones that evoke infinite distances; and Sol paints a sort of post-nuclear wasteland via miasmatic guitar, desperate subhuman screams and reverbed tones. These five pieces are basically five movements of a post-doom symphony overflowing with terminal pathos.

Wake/ Lift (Translation Loss, 2007) wed the fury of metalcore and the brain of industrial-metal to churn out five brutal, frantic, sprawling and huge musical monoliths of apocalyptic doom: the pounding twelve-minute Red In Tooth And Claw (with artful detours and variations), the three-movement Lift (reminiscent of the abstract pieces of the first album), the 15-minute Temet Nosce (an anemic plodding instrumental with another loose coda), and the 13-minute Monument (that alternates between solemn chanting and gentle psychedelic/progressive jamming). The majestic and magniloquent Wake (the shortest piece at "only" nine minutes) is probably the melodic peak of the album.

Rosetta's exhilarating ten-minute TMA-3 appeared on the split EP Junius + Rosetta (Translation Loss, 2011). It set the standard for their seamless slow/fast mellow/aggressive transitions.

A Determinism Of Mortality (Translation Loss, 2010) contains the eleven-minutes A Determinism of Morality, that follows the format of the post-rock instrumental and, when it explodes along the way, it does so with some kind of aplomb that sets it apart from black metal, and then sounds like a tribal gothic dance before the final apotheosis. The sleek production makes it much more user-friendly.

The Anaesthete (2013) still contains the ten-minute Ryu/ Tradition, another dynamic piece that excels more in the atmospheric intermezzo than in black-metal magniloquence; but the visceral inspiration of the first two albums was a fading memory.

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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