Review Summary: Thoroughly enjoyable outing from the post metal titans, even if it is a departure from the sound so prevalent on previous releases.
Rosetta have come to be a force to be reckoned with over the past few years in the Post Metal genre, releasing a number of excellent albums during their tenure in the music business. Their debut, The Galilean Satellites, is hailed as a classic within the genre, with it pushing the boundaries by incorporating a double album that musically synchronised when both discs were played simultaneously. Since then, the band have carved their niche within Post Metal, with Wake/Lift and A Determinism of Morality proving to be stellar releases. Their style is comparable to that of bands such as Pelican and ISIS but the main thing that separates them from their peers is the theme of space that runs across their discography. Quintessential Ephemera, whilst not as highly credited as other releases, showed a band more willing to experiment with the lighter side of their sound. This is where Utopioid fits in nicely; overall, the album is a lot more organic sounding than previous releases. In general, this is like nothing they've produced before - there is a lot more focus on atmosphere and melody, with particular attention to detail paid to the cleaner, lighter side of the bands sound.
The album opens up with an instrumental in the form of Amnion. Nothing particularly extraordinary here to be frank - gentle guitar sets a calm and serene atmosphere, which is followed on nicely by Intrapartum. There is a lot more focus on Rosetta's unity as a whole I feel. They certainly are not recapturing the sounds of their first three records but the emotion throughout the album is felt immensely. Neophyte Visionary, one of the albums early highlights, brings forth the ever recognisable harsh vocals for the first time on the album. One thing I did notice is that they are quite deep in the mix and not as forthright as say Wake/Lift - they are not utilised a great deal on Utopioid but where they are used, the fit the music well and help to heighten the overall emotion that is so prevalent throughout the album.
Generally speaking, everything present on Utopioid is solid. On first listen, I could differentiate between all of the tracks very well, yet nothing particularly stood out from the set as a whole. Every track has great moments - King Ivory Tower is a powerhouse of great riffs and a good vocal performance. 54543 is a very unique track, especially considering the band rarely deviate from their layering of sounds to produce a more 'wholesome' feel. The heavier sections of Qohelet sound excellent, which makes me wonder why the band didn't feature more elements such as this throughout Utopioid. However, the album flows brilliantly from start to finish and even though the band have most definitely departed from the sound that made them such a force to be reckoned with in Post Metal, the new approach to song writing and atmosphere is most definitely welcomed.
It seems no matter which direction the band take, they can do no wrong. Utopioid is a great addition to their discography, despite the fact that in general, the band are not as visceral or insurmountably heavy when compared to releases such as Wake/Lift. Utopioid certainly isn't album of the year in any respect but the band can be satisfied (as well as the listener) that they have produced a thoroughly enjoyable release full of atmosphere and fantastic instrumental work.
King Ivory Tower