Rosetta - A Determinism of Morality (2010)
Rosetta is a quintessential post metal band from Philly, formed in 2003. The majority of their music deals thematically with humanity's relationship to the otherworldly, as Rosetta's members all have a vested interest in astronomy. To date they have released 1 demo, 2 splits (with Balboa, Year of No Light and East of the Wall) and 3 full lengths, of which A Determinism of Morality is the most recent, released May this year.
A Determinism of Morality makes no pretense about new directions, but contains significant improvements on existing characteristics. All the familiar elements of Rosetta are here - post rock style guitar interludes, sustained hardcore vocals and a razor edge balance between pentatonic and minor key progressions and melodies that give this band their unique sense of the epic. As a matter of fact, this penchant goes even further here, in an even grander sense of build (ie. "Blue Day For Croatia"). Vocals are also much more formidable this time around; they are much closer to center stage. Now that they are easily heard in detail, its apparent that Michael Armine has a superior vocal technique for this style, as the vocal track really slices through the mix and has all the right frequencies.
Production on A Determinism of Morality is nothing to gush over, but fully adequate. There is a nice sense of space through most of the tracks but one cant help feel that the bands style demands a bit more, well, space. Instead of conveying the otherworldly ambiance of Wake/Lift, this album often uses slightly out of place sounding reverbs and delays to highlight different parts of the tracks. As usual, being someone who works with pro audio, I'm just nitpicking and it wont come anywhere near ruining the listening experience. The rhythm section on this disc is especially well mixed, with the bass, snare and kick cutting through the dense atmospherics like butter. Lastly, it sounds like a cliche and something I say about every album I review, but Rosetta's drummer (Bruce McMurtrie Jr.) is top notch, especially on the opening track; the tom work is exquisite.
I couldn't be justified in giving a ton of originality points to A Determinism of Morality as it is mainly improvement on existing elements. However, theres no doubt that Rosetta has its own sound that sets them apart and any improvement therein is certainly welcome. Overall, this is a disc that will please just about anyone who likes heavy music. Its just conceptual and atmospheric enough to shimmer and glisten without sounding cheesy, and the excellent vocals and rhythm breakdowns will satisfy anyone who just wants to headbang.
Production - 8
Composition - 8.5
Originality - 7.5
Overall - 8.0