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Music Seen: Rosetta and Cryptic Overcast

Rosetta, Shabti, and Cryptic Overcast at Geno's
By DAN CLARK  |  May 20, 2009

Local stalwarts Cryptic Overcast have carved out a niche for themselves as an almost-instrumental band with a sound as informed by heavy metal as it is by psychedelic and progressive rock. Like Portland drone-meisters Ocean and this gig's headliners Rosetta, they eschew fretboard pyrotechnics for a dense, layered sound. Their multi-part songs play with dynamic tension, transitioning from thick distortion to clean tones, from a "Dazed and Confused"-type syrupy haze to a bloody Slayer-like rain. At times they bring to mind Chicago's Pelican, or even Tool's more recent albums, but their sound is definitely their own.

Relative newcomers Shabti come from the extreme end of the metal spectrum. Tormented vocals alternately screamed and growled, walls of maximum-gain guitar, and complex drum arrangements played at nigh-inhuman speeds place them squarely in the realms of death metal and its surly Scandinavian cousin, black metal. As brutal as a meat cleaver to the face, Shabti are not a band for the casual Avenged Sevenfold fan. This is all-caps METAL for serious rivetheads only.

As mentioned above, Philadelphia's Rosetta lack the better-shred-than-dead fury of bands like Shabti, but they're no less hard-hitting. Backlit with blue and green lights, Rosetta's epic-length songs filled every inch of Geno's with sound. Heavily textured, echoing guitars blended with oscillating electronic white noise and overdriven, reverb-laden vocals delivered with the intensity of a man defending his very soul before God, creating sonic waves that enveloped the crowd and broke against the back wall. Anything this loud can only be classified as metal, but there's an emphasis on atmospherics unmatched in the genre, and their live shows are an experience unto themselves. |

Related: Music Seen: Lost Cause Desperados, New England Music News: March 6, 2009, Covered in Bees, More more >
  Topics: New England Music News , Entertainment, Music, Pop and Rock Music,  More more >
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