Ghost Cult is proud to present the full EP stream of No Visibility, from Chalk Portraits, an ambient music instrumental project from New Jersey musician Greg Kennelty. Reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts albums, Wendy Carlos, synth-laden spacey Pink Floyd, and the solo work of Mike Armine (Rosetta), Chalk Portraits mines a musical inner space for the listener to contemplate. Alternately boxing you into an uncomfortable space, but also possessing moments of chilled-out resolve, in just four short tracks, No Visibility takes you on an epic mini-emotional journey. The EP can be purchased at Bandcamp and streamed on all DSPs today. Stream the EP now at Ghost Cult. Continue reading
I wasn’t part of the clamour surrounding The Anaesthete (Independent release), the band’s previous album; feeling that I couldn’t connect with it and surely, with post-metal, that’s the main objective. Quintessential Ephemera (Golden Antenna/Init/Tokyo Jupiter/War Crime – aye, there really are that many labels involved in the distribution of this fifth full-length from Pennsylvanian Post-men Rosetta.) begins promisingly; the delicate, jangling lead interspersing with icicle-drop keys to give a gentle yet affecting introduction. When Mike Armine’s roar bursts through, along with the pounding drums of ‘(Untitled I)’, the agony is palpable and decorated with the beautiful yet stark chords you’d expect, shimmering exquisitely over BJ McMurtrie’s intricate and creative stickwork. New addition Eric Jernigan of longtime tourmates City of Ships on guitar and vocals makes a large impact. The intermittent use of clean vocals does display an occasional leaning towards Metalcore and Nu Metal, and here a little passion is lost. Those chiming guitars do, however, keep the energy fizzing alongside the progressive rhythms; the breakdown into the easy Shoegaze of ‘(Untitled II)’ – yes, you can see where this is going – reminiscent of state brethren August Burns Red’s quieter moments.
The big debate about Rosetta is whether their ‘emotion’ feels contrived in comparison to the likes of Amber’s ‘Lovesaken’ opus, in which each scream or twisted chord pierced the heart. The explosions of ‘(…II)’s second half finally bring those goosebumps; whilst the more subtle elements of ‘(Untitled III)’ are a pensive yet rhythmic beauty which make way for intelligent, measured yet angry and occasionally pulsating angst. Even the sample-laden ‘(Untitled IV)’ is pure heartfelt expression, while the twisted melancholic crush of ‘(Untitled V)’ allows that shattered organ to slide away on a magic carpet of licks straight from The Edge’s handbook; Armine’s cavernous bellow tearing through the wonderfully drummed, soothing noise of the album’s most inventive, standout track.
Complex yet unbelievably moving, the soundscapes spanning this agonised, bruising album are immense: the resonance of ‘(Untitled VII)’s brooding bombast filling the mind, its delicate verses soothing the disquiet whilst rising, almost elegiac leads duel with those mesmeric drums. The aching void of aptly-named closer ‘Nothing in the Guise of Something’ initially seems a strange choice to close such a huge set; yet is, in turn, the kind of intelligent masterstroke these boys obviously have in abundance. Quintessential Ephemera is a true listening experience and a journey of the soul.
Always having carved their own path through music, Philadelphia post metal band Rosetta has taken the plunge to release their latest album, Anaesthete, completely independently (via Bandcamp) first. Ghost Cult saw this brave choice and the musical excellence of this album as a great reason to have a chat with the band about their experience creating the album and releasing it themselves. Guitarist Matt Weed gave us the low down.
Your latest album you’ve produced and released independently how was this experience, and did it go well?
It went very well. We were able to recoup expenses from production, even though the album had the biggest budget of any release we’ve ever done. I think we’ll certainly continue to use this model – it has made the band financially self-sustaining on our own terms.
You worked with City of Ships singer Eric Jernigan on one of the tracks, would you like to tell us something about this collaboration?
He lives not very far from the studio where the album was recorded, so naturally he was around during the sessions hanging out. We initially asked him to play guitar on ‘the weird track’ but he decided he’d rather do vocals. He nailed it, too. We didn’t use any pitch correction or crazy effects on his tracks, just layered them up to get a kind of chorus-y sound. We were surprised and very happy with how it came out.
You decided to release the album digitally on Bandcamp before you release the physical versions, did this strategy pay off you think?
Absolutely. The digital release is our own, so all the revenue from those sales go straight to paying band bills (production costs etc) with no middle-man. It helped us enormously. With physical releases coming out on record labels, that’s great to be able to offer but it’s not a revenue stream for the band. The labels put a lot into those releases, so they are deserve to recoup on that. Having both sides of it like this means that we can be financially sustainable but still offer the cool limited-edition products that collectors are looking for.
Your new album has a unique pacing and placing of songs, can you tell us something about this?
It’s arranged like a hurricane – it has a kind of symmetry to it, with rising and falling chaos, but also a generalized movement from integration to disintegration, or from structure to ruin. Our past albums have been sequenced in a much more intuitive fashion. We just did what felt right. With this one, we put a lot of thought into it and talked about it for a long time. Harmonically, it divides into thirds. Rhythmically it has much more of a cyclonic storm structure.
Are there any songs that have particular meaning for you?
Well they all do, really. But I think that ‘Hodoku/Compassion’ was a big surprise for us. It made me remember the early days when we would just stumble on beautiful sounds by accident. It was something that just came together almost supernaturally during production, with very little planning.
There’s a clear link to Asian culture in song titles, is there a particular reason you chose this?
The titles come from Dave Lowry’s book Sword and Brush, talking about the intersections of martial arts and calligraphy. They have personal meaning for our bass player Dave, who teaches Jiu Jitsu.
Is this theme reflected in the lyrical content, and in what way?
Only in a very oblique way. The song titles were chosen from the book to fit lyrics already written, and to communicate something about each song’s personality and process that goes beyond just their lyrical content – the music is written long before the lyrics, and is therefore in some ways more essential to what the song is.
Your other albums have a more astronomical focus in their themes, is that link to space still there with this new theme? And will the space theme or inspiration return?
We haven’t intentionally pursued space themes in a long time now. They do come up here and there, since Armine typically brings back old lyrical themes from past albums, but the songs and lyrics are more personal now than in the beginning. I don’t think we will move back in that direction.
And finally, if there anything you’d like to express towards our readers in general, any closing words?
More stage dives!
Words: Susanne Maathuis