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CD review: ROSETTA, A Determinism of Morality

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By Ben ApatoffCD review: ROSETTA, A Determinism of Morality

The leading force in spacey, ambient art-metal recently announced their demise, leaving their influence to an overwhelming number of subpar imitators who make it clear that droning, slow-paced, high-reverb metal is harder to pull off than it sounds. Of the few metalgazers left with enough panache to bring that style further, Philadelphia's ROSETTA do so by sounding something like NEUROSIS deconstructing early CURE songs on  A Determinism of Morality.

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As one could guess from the title, A Determinism of Morality is not afraid of a little pretension. The thought of an American metal band calling a song "Je N'en Connais Pas la Fin" might make you cringe, but the track still captivates by branching Kid A-style minimalism with an alterna-metal wall of sound. Guitarist JAMES MATTHEW WEED drenches every track with artsy flourishes, adding effects-heavy floundering to the pummeling riffs of songs like "Release," "Revolve" and "Renew," a trilogy that highlights the album's second half. For all their merits, Rosetta don't always sound as if they've achieved their potential–each song has the same "getting heavier" buildup, and MICHAEL ARMINE's clean singing is underutilized. But much of A Determinism of Morality rocks hard, and Rosetta should be thanked for making post-metal sound fresh again.

Rating: 3.5 Sister Mary Elephants out of 5

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