OK, first off, Rosetta were a new entity to me, I had heard the name kicked around by a few people and with Debemur Morti handling the release of this record, expectations were high. On first listen however, I must admit it was a little arduous, not a terrible piece of work by any stretch of the imagination, but I found myself zoning out a hell of a lot and disregarded the whole thing as slightly pretentious post metal noodling. After a couple of weeks and a few more spins, things started to piece together, but I still could not decide whether I really did like it or was just trying far too hard to pinpoint some redeeming features.
Perseverance is the name of the game here, the epic ten minute opener ‘Ryu / Tradition’ lays down the gauntlet, the first guitar line evoking similar emotion akin to somewhere between the likes of Alcest and Jesu. The post hardcore, shoegaze vibe threads throughout the track as it progresses, only offering glimmers of heaviness once the vocals drop, but even then it is restrained by a certain serene atmosphere. Mogwai would be an extremely valid reference point with an almost soundtrack quality to their pieces, constantly building and evolving whilst ever returning to a central theme and keeping that emotion flowing at all times. Unfortunately the next couple of tracks seem to be overshadowed by ‘Ryu…‘ and end up sounding a little stale as a result, aside from the pummelling end sequence to ‘In & Yo / Dualities Of The Way’ which arises as if from nowhere.
‘Oku / The Secrets’ kicks things up a gear, sounding a little like Black Cobra without the industrial tinge, especially in the vocal department. A huge stop/start riff gets the aggro flowing from the start and is probably one of my favourite tracks on the album. Following there is a mellow reprieve from the previous onslaught in the shape of ‘Hodoku / Compassion’ acting as the bridge into another bruiser of a track ‘Myo / The Miraculous’. Again notching up the aggression, this is certainly where Rosetta excel, the hardcore vibe flows free and the result is that all hell is let loose. The final bunch of tracks are a little hit and miss, ‘Hara / The Center’ is one that I just cannot get into, it sounds a little too contrived and really does not hold the attention like the opener ‘Ryu…’ and its nowhere near as heavy as the couple of tracks prior. ‘Ku / Emptiness’ gets the biggest nod towards that brand of Shoegaze that Jesu pulls off so well, monolithic riffs with a deep, hypnotic ambience and sense of forlorn and Rosetta pull it off pretty well. The closing track ‘Shugyo / Austerity’ serves its purpose as the ‘final scene’ so to speak, a dark, foreboding track with long drawn out melancholic riffs that get backed up with some seriously hefty bass.
All in all, it’s a hit and miss affair, you will either love Rosetta or you will hate them, there is not too much middle ground and there is a huge investment that is needed from the listener. Put in the effort and some enjoyable moments are brought to the fore, unfortunately though, without that effort, there is really not much to hold your attention. Give it a go and see what you think.
Scribed by: Todd Robinson