Philadelphia's Rosetta arrived on the post-metal playground with full ambition: the group's 2005 debut album, The Galilean Satellites, actually consisted of not one, but two discs of interconnected music meant to be played simultaneously on two separate stereos. This made it possible for enterprising, dual hi-fi-enabled listeners to plant themselves within a converging vortex of densely layered sounds -- not unlike the inky depths of space conjured up by the band's lyrics. But now what? How can they possibly top such a daring enterprise with their second opus, 2007's Wake/Lift, when it's so modestly presented on a single slice of shiny plastic? Well, duh! Just don't separate into two halves what can easily be presented as a single whole. Who the hell owns two CD players anymore, anyway? All of these silly debates as to whether "more or less is better" aside, the fact of the matter is that Wake/Lift pretty much picks up exactly where The Galilean Satellites left off: with a series of meticulously constructed trance-metal epics, as rife with futuristic, prog-ambient sophistications as they are with visceral primal sludge -- but arguably more fluid and satisfying in their violently alternating mood swings than anything that came before. Suitably colossal highlights "Red in Tooth and Claw" and the self-explanatory "Monument" bookend the album like twin monoliths, gently ebbing, flowing, swelling, and crashing thunderously upon distant shores for upwards of 12 minutes each. In between, the three-part "Lift" suite and its singular counterpart, "Wake," gradually crescendo at their own -- at times almost too deliberate -- rates, which leaves only the uniformly mellow and instrumental "Temet Nosce" (Latin for "Know Thyself") to float away with the tides, evanescing in cascading echoes and chiming tones, couched in hazy percussion. Lyrically speaking, Rosetta's eyes are still very much drawn toward the stars (and particularly their favorite Saturnian moon, Europa), but a contrasting choice of distinctly earthbound, wild, and primordial imagery helps to propagate the music's modern/ancient/civilized/savage dichotomies (think the past-to-future extremes that open 2001: A Space Odyssey) -- even if all of this is sort of rendered moot by often unintelligible screams. Through and through, however, Wake/Lift sees the members of Rosetta pushing themselves to new heights via truly inspired and inspiring songwriting, as rich in emotional and dynamic range as some of the best works by other post-metal favorites Isis, Neurosis, Cult of Luna, et al. And never mind that second disc, after all.
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia