At some point everyone got tired of post-metal, and if your band name wasn’t ISIS or Neurosis you were simply dubbed Neur-ISIS and shunted off to a corner to learn some humility while the rest of the music listening world went bananas over the next big thing. Luckily Rosetta never took any of that to heart, and their fourth album, The Anaesthete, is a dynamic rolling progressive affair that revels in its post-metal vibe, taking various elements of heavy music and weaving a tapestry of sound to get lost in.
After a tough time on Translation Loss, Rosetta took the self-release path, putting The Anaesthete up on Bandcamp digitally for free and charging for physical merchandise. Hindsight being 20/20, I would have loved to snag a vinyl copy of this. Straight from the opening 10-minute opus “Ryu / Tradition” there a constant sense of movement, loud and quiet moments interchanging fluidly as the bass and drums work continuously circle around each other. Vocals here are almost an afterthought (though that may be my trouble deciphering the words), working as an accompanying instrument. The lumbering monolith of “Oku / The Secrets” disconcerts with its bludgeoning riffs and an eerie, drumming sound that floats in the background, adding menace and mystery. It lies in direct opposition to the next track, “Hodoku / Compassion” where gently plucked and heavily processed strings reverberate against drumming that feels loose and jazz like, the production putting it right next to your ear in an almost intimate fashion.
The latter half of the record brings the intensity back with “Myo / The Miraculous” slamming into a lumbering, start/stop riff and furious percussive blasts that move the listener in a wide space of dissonance. “Hara / The Center” plays in its dynamics more like a typical post-metal offering from bands like Cult of Luna or – yes, ISIS – but with a rhythmic sense that’s often missing from so many imitation bands. By the time of closer “Shugyo / Austerity” and its very dissonant noise composition we’ve run the gamut of what to expect from the genre.
The whole of The Anaesthete plays like this – moving with a grace from one extreme to the next, and if there’s anything to the notion of post-metal, it’s in the almost trepedatious amalgamating of different sounds and creating something that resembles a dream of metal. Or a nightmare. Or a drug induced hallucination. It doesn’t matter, because in the music of Rosetta and The Anaesthete each of these states come into play on what is an ambitious and successful record.