01. Red in Tooth and Claw
02. Lift (Part 1)
03. Lift (Part 2)
04. Lift (Part 3)
06. Temet Nosce
2007 Translation Loss Records
In their relatively brief existence, Philadelphia's Rosetta have managed to turn more than a few heads in the atmospheric metal arena. With the success of their ambitious dual-disc debut, The Galilean Satellites, and an excellent split effort with melodic screamo outfit Balboa, Rosetta laid quite a foundation for their attempt to blow the Neur-isis genre wide open with the release of Wake/Lift. And with that substantial weight on the young band's shoulders, they once again proved their worth amidst a sea of imitators stemming from drone metal's recent resurgence.
Wake/Lift is a well-crafted combination of musical traits previously established by Rosetta along with the songwriting direction shown on their Project Mercury split. Their precise execution of organically developing song structures with mind-blowing dynamics is still front and center on Wake/Lift, as is their use of ambient noise and vocals as additional sonic textures. But it's Wake/Lift's step back from more traditional metal elements that allows it to stand apart from the band's last full-length, yet still maintain a trademark Rosetta sound. This is exactly the type of growth one should look for between a band's first and second albums.
Rosetta doesn't waste any time in showing off the new direction of Wake/Lift. The opener, "Red in Tooth and Claw," explodes into a rock-influenced wall of sound after mere seconds of intro noise. Their ability to ditch their standard slow-build formula for an immediate sonic outburst is a prime example of Rosetta's songwriting progression on the record, as is their departure from metallic riffing on the whole. And as the track winds in and out of delay-soaked soundscapes and locks into a staccato bass line at about the seven and a half minute mark, it's not hard to realize that this is Rosetta on the top of their game. This is the kind of music that deserves to be blasted at obscene volumes, filling every inch of a room with its natural textures and droning noise.
Other songs are just as fulfilling. "Wake" is divided into three logical movements, and the flow from the grit of "Part One" to the ambience of "Part Two" into the melodic aftermath of "Part Three" displays the band's meticulous attention to detail. "Monument" showcases another sudden eruption out of the gates, and manages to jar the listener yet again with dissonant riffing before returning to an atmospheric lull. The only disappointment with Wake/Lift comes in the fifteen minute ambient track, "Temet Nosce." Although the song's distorted drum beat and soothing guitar lines are quite enjoyable, a lack of direction causes the song to overstay its welcome a few times over. It certainly comes with the territory, as Rosetta has often demonstrated a love of repetition and ambient noise, but the song's placement and duration just take a bit of the wind out of the otherwise well-paced record.
The production is yet another highlight of Wake/Lift. Rosetta somehow managed to find a perfect middle-ground between including electronics and still maintaining great analog sound, as well as having the versatility to be able to capture their wide range of dynamics. All instruments are distinguishable, yet blend together beautifully to produce a mammoth of a post-metal record that evolves and develops over its duration. This record sets a standard in fluid-like sound from which even the major players in the genre can learn.
Bottom Line: Rosetta is back with Wake/Lift, a record showcasing many of the band's trademark traits in atmospherics and organic transitions, but also representing a step beyond the more metal influenced style of The Galilean Satellites. Fans of the nine billion other bands in this genre should certainly be able to recognize that Rosetta deserves a spot at the top.