Monday, June 22, 2015

Album: Rosetta - Quintessential Ephemera

Band: Rosetta
Album: Quintessential Ephemera
Label: Golden Antenna Records, Warcrime Recordings, Init Records, Tokyo Jupiter Records
Year: 2015

01. After The Funeral
02. (Untitled I)
03. (Untitled II)
04. (Untitled III)
05. (Untitled IV)
06. (Untitled V)
07. (Untitled VI)
08. (Untitled VII)
09. Nothing In The Guise Of Something

Rosetta’s fifth full-length album and first recording as a five-piece.

On this release:
Mike Armine - vocals, electronics
Dave Grossman - bass, vocals
Eric Jernigan - guitar, vocals
B.J. McMurtrie - drums, vocals, 'barsista'
Matt Weed - guitar, piano, vocals

Rosetta is serious music made by unserious people. Having lasted through 12 years, over a thousand shows in 26 countries, and the world’s worst vans, they’re still looking for the intersection of heavy and beautiful – and getting grumpier in the process.

Rosetta formed in Philadelphia in 2003. Their first two full lengths, 2005’s The Galilean Satellites and 2007’s Wake/Lift, pulled together elements from 90s hardcore, drone, doom, and atmospheric sludge metal. Informed as much by the minimal sonics of Stars of the Lid as by the crushing weight of Godflesh, the band’s experiments had a spaced-out and exploratory feel, appropriately dubbed “metal for astronauts.” With the release of A Determinism of Morality in 2010, the band traded improvisation for a tighter and meaner sound. Leaving the space themes behind, the album focused on retaining melodic sophistication while honing a confrontational urgency.

After concluding a decade-long partnership with Translation Loss Records in 2013, Rosetta went fully independent and quietly released The Anaesthete, a self-funded, pay-as-you-wish download on Bandcamp. A literal overnight success, the album paid for itself in 24 hours and remained the top-selling release on Bandcamp, in any format, for nearly a month after its release. The Anaesthete was a turning point, the darkest and most conceptual album of the band’s career, a slab of nihilistic despair in the face of the co-optation of independent music by corrupt commercial industry.

In 2014, Rosetta made their first-ever lineup change, adding Eric Jernigan of longtime tourmates City of Ships on guitar and vocals. As a five-piece, they recorded 2015’s Quintessential Ephemera, a many-layered collection of songs at once existential and deeply hopeful. Containing some of the band’s most moody and yet accessible work to date, it still has an upward force to it that delivers an appropriate counterpoint to the darkness and disintegration of The Anaesthete. After a 12-year journey, Quintessential Ephemera is a rebirth.

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