It isn't hard to understand why some screamo bands don't want to be called screamo bands. So many forgettable, pedestrian bands came out of screamo in the mid- to late 2000s that screamo-bashing became quite fashionable. Problem: it's unfair to lump the talented screamo bands in with the glut of lousy or mediocre screamo bands. It's best to evaluate screamo on an album-by-album basis, and Rosaline's The Vitality Theory deserves to be recognized as one of the stronger screamo releases of 2010. This 48-minute CD has the familiar screamo elements; Rosaline love to contrast melodic sensitivity with brutal hardcore-minded outbursts. Clean vocals are contrasted with screaming hardcore vocals, although Rosaline occasionally throw in some death metal-style Cookie Monster growls. And while these Chicagoans are far from groundbreaking, you have to applaud their sense of musical craftsmanship. Rosaline's melodies are nicely constructed, not thrown together in a sloppy or haphazard fashion -- and there is a thoughtfulness at work on The Vitality Theory that is missing from so many of the cookie-cutter screamo discs that have been flooding the market. In fact, Rosaline's sense of melody is so attractive that The Vitality Theory probably would have been a creative success even if they had omitted the hardcore elements and gone for a "normal" alternative pop/rock approach (whatever the heck "normal" is). But the hardcore elements are a plus because like the melodic elements, they are used to get Rosaline's emotional points across. Rosaline are highly introspective, and their introspection ranges from a melancholy introspection to an angry introspection; either way, The Vitality Theory works -- and Rosaline are proof positive that not all screamo/post-hardcore/melodic hardcore is created equal.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson