“Wake/Lift” by ROSETTA (apparently not named for the stone) is the latest in an explosion of Post-(style) albums to appear since Pelican’s “Australasia” and (to a lesser extent) ISIS’s “Celestial” (though admittedly NEUROSIS was doing the style first, they just didn’t seem to spawn the same imitators). The style really seems to have taken off especially in the last two years or so. ROSETTA has been around since 2003 and “Wake/Lift” is their second full-length, after 2005’s “The Galilean Satellites.”
The band seems to see their claim to individuality as a spacey element that introduces additional clean picking or some guitar harmonies and solos detached from the chaotic morass of the base sound. The band states that ISIS and NEUROSIS are their biggest influences and the former certainly shows through, with an intentionally grainy production, vocals that combine Hardcore shouts and Death growls, and extended calm periods (see especially “Lift (Part 2)”). If you take the three “Lift” tracks as one song, the shortest song is about nine and a half minutes, perfect for the style.
Still, it may not be enough to separate them from the rest of the crowd. I haven’t listened to a full ISIS album, yet I was able to pick out the similarity instantly. “Temet Nosce” does break the pattern, dominated in the beginning by a cold, almost Industrial-Doom melancholy and in the last six minutes or so by an interminable decay from actual chords to elongated notes. It’s something of a nihilistic nightmare, at once a remarkable experience and something that doesn’t encourage repeat listens. Still, it’s really the only song on the album that deserves an individual description.
Fans of the Post-(style) genre (in this case, Post-Metal and Post-Hardcore) will probably find this a rewarding album. If you’re rather ambivalent to the style, as myself, it’s neither a particularly memorable experience nor by any means a bad one. I can see where they’re going different from the trappings of their chosen genre (and this is apparently a growth from “The Galilean Satellites”), but it’s not yet enough to draw in people not already fans of the genre.
(Online November 25, 2007)