Sound: Rosetta are an interesting post-metal band that have a different approach from more known post-metal acts like Isis and Neurosis. Rosetta's music seems to put more emphasis on the bass and drums, with the guitar more in the back of the sound, and this album carries that out even more, compared to some of their other work. A lot of the songs start off with just the bass and drums for a while, and then the guitar slowly works into the song. The title track has a particularly pleasing bass intro, as does the song "Je N'En Connais Pas La Fin".
The high energy parts of the songs is primarily provided by the rhythm section, with thundering bass and frantic drumming leading the band forward. Along with this is light, sometimes clean guitar riffs and Mike Armine's glorious screams. Some songs, like "Je N'En Connais Pas La Fin" climax at the end with an onslaught of what I just mentioned plus some distorted guitar riffs which trample the listener. The slower parts take on a more minimal drum approach, with long, booming bass lines, and some very reverb and delay heavy guitar chords and/or arpeggios.
Also used in this record are samples to create ambient sounds, used to start some songs, and to give a more space-rock like feel to some parts of the album. A sample of a female vocalist is employed in the song "Release", which adds a nice touch, and was pretty unexpected given the nature of Rosetta's work.
02. Je N'En Connais Pas La Fin
03. Blue Day For Croatoa
07. A Determinism Of Morality // 10
Lyrics: The approach Rosetta takes on the vocals is much like other post-metal bands, they see it as more of a tone supplier than a complete story-teller, so this made it very hard to tell what the lyrics were at first. The easiest thing one can notice is the theme of "Release, Revolve, Renew", which is the title of three subsequent tracks, and is also said in the opener, "Ayil". Another thing that's easy to note is the talking about scattering embers or ashes, which could be talking about spreading the remains of a loved one who chose to be cremated. Combining these two things can give the impression that the majority of this album is talking about dealing with a death, but one cannot be totally sure.
Apparently, they weren't really planning on releasing the lyrics to this album, but after I got my vinyl copy of it (first pressing white, limited to 100), I was ecstatic to find complete lyrics in a booklet, complete with a lot more art as well. I have given it a couple of reads, and they can be really deep and thought provoking. One of my favorites is the sample in "Release": "The problem with now is no matter how much we want it to, it doesn't last forever". Another one that stands out to me is in "Je N'En Connais Pas La Fin": "Won't you play, your trumpet well, Gabrielel, let this go, won't you play, your trumpet well, Gabrielel, and pray that I can rest spores, burrowing, ash, covering, spores, burrowing, ash." A last set that stands out to me is in the closing title track: "With outstretched hands towards you, slowly reseed, give us your hands, by the grace of god you saved us all, by the ending of you, slowly reseed".
I felt like those snippets gave a good feel to the overall vibe and theme in this album's lyrics. They are really interesting, and are definitely worth checking out. As for the singer, Mike Armine's voice, I absolutely love it. He has such a good tone to it, and he also applies some really nice effects to it in some songs. It isn't as distorted as some other voices, like Aaron Turner's, but it still is definitely a scream, and suits the music very nicely. // 9
Overall Impression: With "A Determinism Of Morality", Rosetta push out a very interesting record, showing a different take on the post-metal genre. It intertwines more space rock and hardcore influences, and is a very satisfying album to listen to and try to dissect. The production and layering on the record is fantastic, and it combines pretty much every element I love about the post-metal genre.
The album starts off with a thundering start with "Ayil" after just a few seconds of ambiance, and does not look back once from then on. Highly recommend this album to any post-metal fan or anyone trying to get into the genre, I feel it captures the essence of the genre very well. // 9