Review Summary: Rock is Dead
Or rather, it is undead. The Chicago based horror punk/horror rock group known as The Rosedales have worked as one of the finest examples of a blend of 50’s style rockabilly and swing with 80’s style hardcore punk melodies and a touch of horror movie lyrics. Unlike their other horror rock counterparts, however, The Rosedales never had a cheesy level of horror or gore in their lyrics, being more focused on Gothic and romantic topics with the mix of Elvis style rock and roll. In their past release, Raise Your Spirits, The Rosedales did indeed create a perfect blend of guitar power chord based rhythms and harmonized melodies with vocals and guitar solos. In this release, however, The Rosedales seem to be going for a more ambient and emotional side to their music, much to the pleasure of the listener.
The album starts off with a news report of a car incident occurring, hinting at the very very vague concept that plays over the album, if you could call it a concept. To be frank, it doesn’t really matter compared to the music that is on the album. The first five tracks, would be enough to warrant a purchase from anybody who can claim to like rock music. “Cold, Cold Heart” shows off the more emotional side mentioned earlier to The Rosedales, but definitely includes their past famed sense of melody and harmony. Another standout track right off the bat is “Visitation”. While considered quite repetitive by some, the excellent usage of swapping from single noted riffs to the chorus is ear catching enough that the four-minute song length is soon forgotten.
As we get to the next interlude “The Arrival…” the album continues it’s experimentation with sound, with tracks such as “Meet You There” incorporating exclusively an acoustic guitar in favor of the powerful electric ones, and “Beautiful Disguise” sounding nearly exactly like something Elvis Presley would have written in his heyday (the song may be a cover, although I am not too sure). “Summer’s End”, however deserves special notice, as it is the culmination of everything that the album has teased at up to this point. The haunting piano melody starting the track off sets the perfect mood for the album’s closer (excluding the interlude “The Departure). This time, the guitars take a backseat to the lead vocals during the verses, with the vocals having an odd effect on them to give the impression of a ghost whispering into your ear the details of the night of his death. Then, the song kicks it into high gear with an oddly groovy crunch of electric guitar with the near wailing, yet controlled, singing of the band’s two lead singers. The only thing that makes this song an incomplete picture of everything that The Rosedales stand for is the lack of a guitar solo.
This album was released about five years ago, and it is likely that the group has either disbanded or are not creating any more material. Despite all of that, it is likely that an album of this quality and caliber will not come along in the horror punk scene until either the original Misfits regroup, Blitzkid forms back, or the next Calabrese release (hehe, rhymes). I implore you, reader, to at least give this album a chance. Rock is dead, but in the good way.