Sound — 5
With a sound that treads between permeating ambience and driving metal, it's pretty easy to imagine that Rosetta was first seen as one of those bands that would be "too weird" to go anywhere beyond their garage and whatever basement shows they could book in their hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. However, with their first album, "The Galilean Satellites," taking a novel form as two CDs that synchronized their ambient and metal compositions together when played simultaneously, Rosetta certainly relished in their unconventionality to avail. Having been around for over a decade, they're a diamond in the rough in the metal world, and they've thrived in the humble and free space outside of major-label jurisdiction, releasing four albums and a handful of split EPs.
Though the majority of all EPs are meant for a "bite-sized" amount of new music from a band, Rosetta's new EP, "Flies to Flame," feels like an unsubstantial serving - both in quantity and quality - of what Rosetta can do. Though the droning elements have always been a defining quality of Rosetta and their post-metal style, that element poses as a vice for the EP - as opposed to their full-length albums that give them the time to both go on long-winded linear riffing and to provide different dimensions of sound, the time management on the 30-minute "Flies to Flame" spends a near-exclusive majority on repetitive riffing (as seen pervasively in "Seven Years With Nothing to Show" and "Les Mots Et Les Choses"), offering little variance - "Pegasus" is the most varied track, which progresses from the heaviest-rocking track on the EP to an ambient end. But what's even more unstimulating than the lack of variance in the EP are the parallels it contains to Rosetta's last release, "The Anaesthete": "Soot" sounds like a lesser version of "Ryu/Tradition" in the progression and guitar melodies, and the guitar-only track "Seven Years With Nothing To Show" follows in a similar vein as "Shugyo/Austerity," but with less variance or intrigue.
Lyrics — 4
When taking stock of things, the lyrical aspect of "Flies to Flame" comes off like an afterthought. With only two songs containing vocals (as well as "Les Mots Et Les Choses" containing sampled audio of speech), those vocals are mixed into the very back of the tracks, shrouded amongst the layers of instrumental sound, making them the toughest lyrics to decipher in all of Rosetta's releases. Context clues and the band's inclination for certain subject matter can best infer what's going on in the EP. "Soot" is the most thematically matching of the EP's title, posing as the physical remnant aftermath of those "flies to the flame." "Les Mots Et Les Choses" not only continues Rosetta's penchant for the French language in their song titles, but refers to philosopher Michael Foucault's book of the same name, translated as "The Order of Things," and although the sampled audio in that song is just as faint as the vocals in other tracks, one can assume the audio is speech from Foucault. Perhaps the intentional obscuring of vocals/lyrics in "Flies to Flame" just comes with the territory of post-metal, but with Rosetta having shown insightful lyrics in their previous works, what little that's offered in "Flies to Flame" makes the lyrical aspect feel throwaway.
Overall Impression — 4
In the same way Have A Nice Life's EP, "Time of Land," was an echo of their well-acclaimed debut album, "Deathconsciousness," "Flies to Flame" comes off like a weaker echo of Rosetta's last album, "The Anaesthete" - of course, "Time of Land" was made free to download, which made the underwhelming nature of the release forgivable. And whereas Rosetta's last non-split EP, "The Cleansing Undertones of Wake/Lift," served as a complementing release for their second album, "Wake/Lift," "Flies to Flame" comes off more like the b-sides of "The Anaesthete" that were cut in the editing process. Ultimately, "Flies to Flame" contains the same tricks heard from Rosetta before, and doesn't offer anything really elaborate or captivating on it.