27. Rosetta - The Anaesthete
Okay, there's one thing you guys should know before you get into this review. Rosetta has been my favourite post-metal band since I first heard 2007's Wake/Lift
. Their unique sound and style of playing have an overall intrinsic feeling that is incredibly satisfactory upon listen; no other band of the genre does the same to me. Their new album, The Anaesthete
, was released very quietly, under the radar, in an almost total DIY way. Because of that, it took me a few months before I realized that they had a new record out. I have to admit that when I saw the cover art, I was a little turned off: it looked a bit too cheesy - with the central character, the flames and all - for a Rosetta album (that was before I saw the incredible art inside the gatefold
). Then, I listened to the album. All my fears were automatically lifted by the first spacey/dreamy melodic riff backed with one of their signature odd, primal yet complex, drum beats. Everything was still there: the timeless heartbreaking melodies, the leads that sound like a pure flow of sonic energy (it's hard to explain but, for example, take the ones in "Hara / The Center"), the hypnotic repetition, the heavy, monolithic moments and the subtle ambient sounds that give the final touch to it all. The vocals were still distant, while being raging and desperate at the same time; Michael Armine still sounds like he's screaming his soul, guts and throat out. Also, like on their previous full-length, A Determinism of Morality
, they had a guest clean vocalist on one song (the singer of City of Ships appeared in "Hodoku / Compassion") that just enhanced the beauty and diversity of the album.
However, The Anaesthete
is not like the other Rosetta records. First, it's their most aggressive one. Two, it's their most contrasted. The song flow is weird, deconstructed: the tunes don't fit into each other like one long song. As the band stated themselves: "The album is arranged like a hurricane: semi-symmetrically but disintegrating". It goes through waves of calm, introspection and crushing heaviness, becoming very dark and hopeless towards the last songs. The album closer, "Shugyo / Austerity", is the pinnacle of the aforementioned phenomenon: it is actually an ambient apocalyptic instrumental with a very worrying feeling (could it be a subtle critic towards the economical policies of our countries?). At first, I was a bit confused by the way the songs were arranged, but after a few listens, I realized that it helps keeping the listener's attention and making the whole experience more memorable. In a way, this album gives an impression closer to a post-hardcore album than to an ordinary post-metal album. The last thing that differed from the other Rosetta albums is obvious in half-Japanese the song titles: the lyrics are conceptual, based on a book (Sword and Brush by Dave Lowry).
Overall, The Anaesthete
is not easy on the first listen, but it is a mandatory listen for any lover of powerful, melodic music.
Hara / The Center