Review Summary: A great post-hardcore record hampered by "metalcore acceptance syndrome."
Madison Stolzer, Rosaline's main songwriter and guitarist/clean vocalist formed Rosaline in 2005, but the band didn't really kick off until Madison was kicked out of Emarosa in 2007 after playing on the bands first two EP's. He stated that he wanted to form a band that was a throwback to early 2000's melodic post-hardcore and he definitely achieves what he was going for on Rosaline's second record The "Vitality Theory."
Rosaline were a band that weren't afraid to wear their influences on their sleeve. One can easily pick up traces of The Appleseed Cast and Explosions In The Sky in this album, especially in the instrumental 10 minute closer, the intros on most tracks, and interludes. The band are also self proclaimed Thursday and Thrice worshipers and it shows. The weakest and most out of place of the band's influence was their metalcore traits. Certain sections of the album that adhere to the metalcore genre feel out of place and inferior to the rest of the album. Rosaline's second album "The Vitality Theory" could have been a much more enjoyable listen if they had dropped the metalcore gimmick and added more of their original voice to the record.
The album starts really strong with tracks like "London Lost It's Fog" and the opening track, but falls flat on it's face with the horrible song "Face Like Thunder". It feels like Rosaline made a song catering to the "Core" kids and obviously weren't feeling the song, as it comes of as pandering. The chorus of the song is actually pretty decent, but the track is derailed by a truly abysmal breakdown. Another bad track is "Repeat After Me," a really forced ballad that sounds like A Day To Remember at their worst. Really cheesy lyrics accompanied by bland acoustic guitar chords and a shaker make for one lousy song. These two songs alone hold this album back from being truly great. The Vitality Theory does have enough killer tracks to keep the record afloat however.
It's Just Better For Everyone is a great post rock influenced song that starts off with soft twinkly guitars being contrasted with pounding drums that eventually builds up to a huge climax. Madison truly shines on this track and shows that they should have dropped the harsh vocalist completely and just let Madison do all of the vocals. The song ends with some great sing along gang vocals and a killer keyboard line.The weakest part of the track is of course the part where they try to get heavy with the terrible screams, it doesn't derail the whole song, but it's pretty forgettable.
London Lost It's Fog seems to be the only song where the screams work properly. The song starts off with a minor melody that builds into a thunderous heavy part with some open note chugs that don't feel out of place for once, and then blasts into an extremely melodic chorus with one guitar trudging through pretty power chords, while the other guitar playing harmonics, all with some impressive clean vocals over the top.
Some of the lyrics can be really cheesy and or way to obvious. For instance "Within this bottle I'll build a ship and I'll sail it straight into your lips", if this isn't an oral sex reference then I don't know what is. The line "This place is a battlefield" from the song aptly titled This Place Is A Battlefield is probably the most cliched line in the post hardcore/metalcore scene. The track does have a killer intro and bridge, but the verses are pretty lame and are of course ruined by the terrible screamer.
All in all The Vitality has a few amazing songs, a few forgettable ones, and a couple terrible tracks. This was Rosaline's second album and it showed a lot of potential, but they unfortunately broke up in 2011 likely due to being disenfranchised with the scene and not getting signed to a choice label. It's really unfortunate because this band could have done great things. The Vitality Theory would have made for an incredible five or six track EP, but is regrettably severely hampered by a few bad tracks.