After an absence of 19 years, U.K. goth/rock band Rosetta Stone return by releasing a new album titled "Seems Like Forever". The album was released on May 17 via Los Angeles based Cleopatra Records. We remind that Rosetta Stone cut its teeth on the mid-’80s goth club circuit before releasing their first record "An Eye For the Main Chance" in 1991. The original duo later disbanded in 1998, with Porl King going onto solo projects Miserylab and In Death It Ends, and Karl North joining the now defunct Dream Disciples. The band’s last release was the not very known covers album "Unerotica" released in 2000, which from what I remember was done only for contractual reasons.

The current incarnation of Rosetta Stone is a solo project of King, having written and produced the entirety of "Seems Like Forever". Assisting King with the album’s mix was J├╝rgen Engler of industrial/rock acts Die Krupps and Die Klute. When the tracklist was announced it was obvious that the entire album was not of new original material, but a selection of songs from Porl King’s post-punk infused Miserylab project. This is a tricky move, using songs from his other project and releasing them under the Rosetta Stone moniker. For me, the positive aspect is that Miserylab had many good songs which deserved to be better known to a wider audience. They also sounded like a modern take of Rosetta Stone in the first place, so i understand to some extent why he decided to do so.

The opening track "Be There Tomorrow" was originally on Miserylab’s "Function Creep" from 2008. The more dynamic songs that follow "Children Of The Poor" and "People", from the last Miserylab album "Void Of Life" released in 2011, are surely standouts. But despite the use of their distinctive 12 string guitar, which is now more laid back in the mix, and King’s characteristic voice, we have a more subtle Rosetta Stone sound. It looks like they have taken a modern post-punk, coldwave approach compared to their rockier gothic rock past.

Further down we meet "Dark Times" which has an 80’s feel, "Making A Bomb" and the synthy "What Is The Point" from the 2009 album "Freedom Is Work". Then we have "Escape" and "Downplay" with King’s characteristic deep vocal from the "From Which No Light Escapes" album released in 2011, "When You Turn Away" from the 2009 "Lab Samples" and "Say What We Mean" from the 2012 "Somewhere Between EP". The closing track "Tomorrow For Us" was a rarity originally only found on the "Documentary 2008 / 2012" compilation. This catchy track also served as a preview and first digital single from the album, with a music video accompanying it. It sums up the whole feel and new sound.

In general, the album "Seems Like Forever" sounds more like the quieter tracks from their first album "An Eye For The Main Chance" or its American counterpart "Adrenaline" compared to the bands second album proper "The Tyranny Of Inaction" where they started flirting with more industrial elements. The record is available on CD, digital and vinyl formats via the Cleopatra Records webstore and Bandcamp page.

Review by Nick Drivas