Review Summary: Stages is an album that wont run dry, no matter how thick the play count grows.
Back about five or so years ago, I went to a small local show and saw a couple of bands. Faced with little money, I had a choice of either buying each of their demos or purchasing random apparel from each to help get the word out. I spent the money on Rosesdead's masterpiece 'Stages', not knowing how amazing it wold be. Now, I don't go throwing around the word masterpiece, but simply no other word will do for such a complete and intricately written piece of music. Since the day I bought said album, each of the bands have broken up, and I'm still glad with my purchase.
'Stages' is an album written in different forms, or so it seems. Lyrically it speaks of a man being swallowed by the sky, which is water, waking upon a beach and climbing stairs into the clouds where he ascends, though one can derive many metaphors from this, and each song can be dissected in itself.
Musically, the song spans the entire album, each song transitions perfectly into the next and most of the time the listener wont even realize how many tracks have passed. By the time you hit 'A Wake in the Water', you 'll be surprised to find you're on the third track. This is not to say the album is short, it simply flows so well together that the entire album runs with the feel of a song.
There are two (arguably three) instrumentals on the album, all of which are moving. 'A Wake in the Water' is beautifully written and conveys a certain happiness at gaining something but losing something all at once. 'Now this feels like the end' is a more chugging instrumental with only whispering at the end. 'A Break in the Clouds' begins the last passage of the album, it leads into the last two songs so gorgeously that I felt compelled to rewind and re-listen to these three.
'Night Danger' is and was very obviously the hit on the album, as it is the only song for which a video was produced for. However, 'The Surface', the last song, with quite a feel of ending, is my preferred listen. It lyrics speak of things easy for most to relate to and are thus very accessible.
The production on 'Stages' is marvellous for a debut, the group seems to have found their sound quite early on and ran with it. The bass is audible and quite an active member of the band, as oppose to sunken below the mix. The drums are perfectly on time and the few fills heard are executed professionally. The vocals are great, the screaming is a strange variety, but gets the job done well.
It's a shame that 'Rosesdead' broke up, after such a promising debut, I would have been extremely excited to hear a second album matching 'Stages'. Some bands reach the peak of their career at their debut, which is a shame and a blessing at once.
After listening to 'Stages' for five years now, I have to say, it truly is a masterpiece, not only can I listen to it thousands of time unrelenting, but I've noticed that as I've matured and grown, the lyrics and music mean different things to me – they've always been meaningful, however, in different ways. I will continue listening to this gorgeously written record until the meaning is drained from it, though I doubt that will ever happen.