Album: Alive at Zero
Label: Prime Collective
Release Date: September 3, 2021
Album Length: 38 Minutes
- The Unwanted
- Alive at Zero
- Never Sleep Again
- Grace and Fire
- Iron Sharpens Iron
- Strings / Prelude
- My Feet Were Never Meant to Touch The Ground
- Goodbye Dinosaur
- For the War
- Drowned in Violence and Swallowing Bullets
- Calm the Storm
Who should listen: fans of Norma Jean, For Today, Convictions
Seven years since their last EP, having lost Captain from their name and chaos from their game, Roselyn is back with their first full-length album. Whatever they did with their seven years it was time well spent because Alive at Zero is a rocking ride filled with in-your-face vocals and crushing guitars.
Seven years ago, when we last heard from these Danish metalheads, they called themselves Captain Roselyn (opens new window) and billed themselves as a chaotic hardcore (mathcore) band. Notably absent from Alive at Zero are most of the chaotic elements, though their press release for the album still labels them thusly. Personally, having rarely been a fan of chaos-core, I welcome the change and find their new sound to be an improvement from their two original EPs.
It’s tough to stand out in the world of metal these days. Bands push themselves to go heavier, faster, harder, more extreme — anything to stand out in the sea of voices vying for eartime. On the one hand, Alive at Zero doesn’t stand out, but on the other hand it does. How is it possible to both blend in and stand out? Let me explain.
The part where Roselyn doesn’t stand out: they don’t have a particularly unique sound, and they aren’t the most fill-in-the-blank-attribute.
The part where Roselyn does stand out: they do what they do very well. They are solid in vocals, music, and production. They might not wow you, but they are impressively good — a well-oiled band of friends who have been making music together for years, honing their craft, learning how to play together really well, playing their hearts out, and writing solid music.
One highlight of this album is the vocal stylings of Ebbe Ryberg. He’s got good pipes! A nice husky tone that isn’t overly distorted in the mix. Loud, a bit abrasive (in a good way), not forced but natural sounding, and they fit very well with the music.
Another highlight of Alive at Zero is the musical depth. Roselyn doesn’t rely on hooks, breakdowns, or gimmicky pickwork. Though their music is pretty straightforward, they throw in some unexpected pieces here and there and subtly work in undertones that add layers of depth to the music without feeling like a patchwork quilt.
Musically, Alive at Zero starts off with straight up smashmouth metal, moves into some more nuanced tone-differentiated pieces, and finishes with an ode to their classic chaos-core sound, albeit in a more muted form than in their original set of EPs. This progression in sounds gives the impression of a journey and helps the album feel fresh and alive throughout. Throwing in a nice interlude track in the middle also gives a reset in case the listener was growing fatigued. If variety is the spice of life, Roselyn manages to spice things up without it feeling contrived and forced.
Lyrically, Alive at Zero is an album about the new life we have in Christ. We are called to walk the narrow path, but it is so easy to go back to the wide path, the old life, that leads to destruction. We must die to self, and God provides help in the form of Christian brothers and sisters to help us walk the narrow path that leads to Jesus and eternal life. There is salvation and life in Christ — let us not go back to the old, dead way of living, Brothers and Sisters!
Roselyn’s Alive at Zero is a solid album top to bottom. Though it likely won’t make anyone’s top 5 albums of the year, Alive at Zero is like the quiet kid in the back of the classroom. Though he may not say much, he’s paying attention and gets good grades. Not tops in the class; not flashy or overly impressive in his responses; but a solid student nevertheless and one that you appreciate over time for being so steady and reliable.
Give Alive at Zero a listen or two. The more you listen the more it will grow on you and the more you will appreciate the years of band chemistry coming into play. If they keep at it, Roselyn will only continue to improve with age.
Never Sleep Again: The rhythm guitars are subtly doing things that make you bop along. The rhythm comes to the fore and leads to a crushing breakdown. Pure goodness in under three minutes!