The Anaesthete review by Rosetta

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  • Released: Aug 8, 2013
  • Sound: 6
  • Lyrics: 5
  • Overall Impression: 6
  • Reviewer's score: 5.7 Decent
  • Users' score: 8.1 (15 votes)
Rosetta: The Anaesthete

Sound — 6
Post-metal, atmospheric sludge, call it what you like; the style made famous by Neurosis from the ashes of hardcore punk has traditionally been assigned high cultural capital. Records cost good money and audiences watch live shows in dead silence. With this in mind, Philadelphia's Rosetta are brave to cut themselves loose of record labels and release new album "The Anaesthete" online on a pay-what-you-like basis. Bandcamp and Soundcloud aren't fixtures of high culture yet. Formed in 2003, the band themselves always seemed to follow at the heels of the genre's trailblazers with dustpan and brush, sweeping up the leftovers and drafting them into their own sketches. They've had some high points their debut "The Galilean Satellites" was enthralling at its best, while 2007's "Wake/Lift" was impressively professional for an album fed on the rawest sounds and emotion but theyve never done much to demand the limelight.

"The Anaesthete" is plainly the work of a band who know their style. The shallow snare, choppy distortion and melancholy dissonance are unmoving features of their sound. Besides an update in production values, which gives the heavy moments a welcome punch, not an awful lot has changed in the three years since their last full-length. "Ryu/Tradition" is a typical ten-minute excursion of light and shade, dousing a simple motif in delay and reverb before building to a destructive climax. This adventurousness feels rather prescribed by genre convention. "Oku/The Secrets," on the other hand, is highly unstable, with J. Matthew Weed's guitar crackling with feedback every time he lifts his fingers from the fretboard.

Towards the middle of the album "Hodoku/Compassion" provides a highlight, with clean vocals and jazzy percussion offering respite from the corrosive distortion. Despite being close to an hour in length the album does not use this change as a springboard for narrative evolution; bar "Ku/Emptiness," which closes the bulk of proceedings in dramatic and boisterously heavy fashion, there is little to tell between the beginning, middle and end of the disc in terms of mood.

Lyrics — 5
Vocalist Michael Armine takes two steps forward in the mix to become a frontman on this album. His hoarse scream is a useful textural tool and has been deployed in that way since the band's debut, but here he is the mouthpiece for emotions stirred by the other instruments. Taking on this role typically requires a range of expressive options, however Armine is confined to a single sort of yelp, one which works well at certain moments but becomes monotonous over an hour of music.

Overall Impression — 6
You may remember "The Galilean Satellites" came as a pair of LPs designed to be played simultaneously. It was good, but accessible to approximately no one in this form. Who has two record players? "The Anaesthete" has a completely different kind of availability problem, in that it's free to everyone but sadly rather dull. Something's not quite right when an album in this style does more to sedate than illuminate, and almost any description one can muster (combining heavy riffs with delicate clean passages!) feels tired and clichd. For scholars of the ISIS school of slow-burning, incandescent sludge, this album is unlikely to add anything to their record collection that wasn't already there five or ten years ago. It's above average, but not by much.

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Personally, I don't like "post-metal" genre as a whole - it's too sleek for me compared to the original sound of "sludge" - I prefer pure agression and emotions - or beautiful melancholy - but it should be sincerely. And although I love sludge-related genres, so there are not a lot of really decent bands for me. And until now, Rosetta didn't attract my attention too. But after listening this album I must say it's not so bad. Of course, there are some post-metal cliches, but there are some original things too. For me, it's not groundbreaking album, but I'm stll pleased to listen to it - it's felt that the musicians have put himself in the record. And here's another great track (in my opinion) from the album:
    same, besides Pelican, Isis and Neurosis, I can never seem to get into bands like Cult of Luna, The Ocean, Rosetta and Russian Circles
    Neurosis are my favourites - and they discover "sludge" for me - but I must say, recently I started listening to Cult Of Luna and Russian Circles more deeply - and I liked it.
    I think this is an album that has potential and is enjoyable. That said, if someone asked me if I rated it as high as a few other Post-Metal albums, I'd have to say no.
    Have to agree with everything said so far. This is a pretty enjoyable album, but of course there are better.