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Rose Funeral - "The Resting Sonata" (CD)

Rose Funeral - "The Resting Sonata" CD cover image

"The Resting Sonata" track listing:

1. Exordium The Fall Of Christ (Intro) (0:55)
2. Sodomizer (4:13)
3. God Demise (4:19)
4. Remain In Dirt (4:23)
5. Left To Rot (4:28)
6. The Resting Sonata (1:45)
7. Redeemer (4:00)
8. Created To Kill (3:53)
9. Embalming The Masses (4:39)
10. Buried Beneath (4:02)
11. Dawning The Resurrection Verse II (6:02)

Reviewed by on January 20, 2009

"With an aggressive sound that feels like an oil tanker is ramming its way into your skull, “The Resting Sonata” is a brutal ride that is guaranteed to have the live crowds killing each other in the pits."

With “The Resting Sonata,” their first album on Metal Blade Records, death metal band Rose Funeral has crafted a sophomore album that displays both the positive and negative sides of modern-day metal. With an aggressive sound that feels like an oil tanker is ramming its way into your skull, “The Resting Sonata” is a brutal ride that is guaranteed to have the live crowds killing each other in the pits. A lot of that has to do with the breakdowns that make up the majority of the album. The breakdowns are everywhere, seemingly leading into each other, with little to no distinction between them.

For some metal fans, that is satisfying enough to warrant a purchase. However, anybody who wants variety or loathes the very thought of breakdowns will find “The Resting Sonata” to be a disappointing listen, at least judging by the first half of the album. Surprisingly, the album gets stronger near the end, with the last three songs aligned together to conclude “The Resting Sonata” on a high, if slightly belated, note. With these tracks, the concept of melody and structure is introduced to Rose Funeral’s slim instruction manual, and the band shows confident and a brief sign that they might be able to make a name for themselves in metal.

That impression does not dawn on the listener in the beginning though. After a pointless introduction, “Sodomizer” crashes down on the listener with the force of a ten-ton hammer, with down-tuned guitars and the alternating throaty growls/low bellows of vocalist Tim Russell. Russell dominates every track he is in, and while his vocals, like the music, tend to get repetitive, Russell has great control of his voice. He even has a few tricks up his sleeve, belting out a Steve Perry-ish falsetto on the finale, “Dawning The Resurrection Verse II.”

The first half of the album is largely unmemorable, with guitarists Ryan Gardner and Jesse Biesner churning out lackluster chugging riffs, bassist David Voll keeping to the far background, and drummer Andrew Horton playing fills and double bass like a caged animal. Every song starts the exact same way; Horton cranks out a fast intro and the entire band comes in for a “hardcore” breakdown. The only reprieve is the short instrumental title track, where the band utilizes a tasteful keyboard portion before the breakdowns come back.

When all hope seems to be lost for “The Resting Sonata,” in comes “Embalming The Masses” to pull the album off of life support. The breakdowns aren’t as prevalent, and the guitarists decide to dust off their instruments and provide lead work that shows a spark of creativity and chemistry. “Buried Beneath” proves the former track isn’t a fluke, as Rose Funeral slows the proceedings down quite a bit in the bridge, as the bass is brought to the front of the mix, with a catchy melody on display. The epic closer “Dawning The Resurrection Verse II” is a thrash monster with an extended outro that goes on for a bit too long, but features the return of the tasteful keys.

“The Resting Sonata” will cause a difference of opinion amongst metal fans. It all depends on how much tolerance a person has for breakdowns. That one factor alone will determine the worth of “The Resting Sonata.” There are a lot of interesting ideas on display, and the hostile nature of the music can’t be denied, but in the future, Rose Funeral has to bring something different to the table in order to stand out in the colorless field of generic metal bands that is getting more crowded by the minute.

Highs: Solid ending, vocals are strong, breakdowns can be catchy at times

Lows: First half is highly repetitive, no original ideas, lack of innovative guitar work

Bottom line: A brutal ride, but one full of bumps in the road.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)