The English goth/rock band Rosetta Stone returned with the new album "Cryptology", released on August 6, 2020 by Cleopatra Records. They had reappeared last year when after an 19 year absence, they released "Seems Like Forever", an album with material from frontman’s Porl King solo project Miserylab. A year later he has returned with an album containing 10 original tracks.

 The album opens with "Shock", a track that immediately sets the tone of the whole album. A classic Rosetta Stone composition, where Porl King has managed to merge oldschool 90’s goth with the present darkwave/post-punk scene. He has kept the sound minimal, using only drum machine, bass, guitar and some keyboards. The next track "Valiant Try" sounds even more like their older classical era and is surely an album standout. The only difference, compared to the old days, when they had  a heavily guitar driven sound, is the use of one guitar instead of two, with the keyboards taking one’s place. Making the songs sound a bit sparser and more atmospheric. This new approach is even more evident on tracks like "With This [I’m Done]", "In Black" and the more upbeat "Soon".

 Halfway through (opener of the second side of the vinyl issue) we have "Remember (Don’t)", one of the darker tracks of the album, with some really great interplay between the bassline and the guitars. Other great examples of the new sound that binds their old sound to modern day standards are "I Put It To You" and the darker "Doesn’t Bode Well". Another great track is the more melodic "Smoke & Mirrors" with its nice piano arpeggios. As on all the record, Porl’s characteristic voice sounds great, haunting all the songs, sounding dark and troubled in a mysterious way. The album closes graciously with "Always Always" where Porl’s echoey vocals intervene nicely with the guitar melodies.

 The album is available on both CD as well as vinyl in your choice of purple or classic black, via Los Angeles based Cleopatra Records.


Review by Nick Drivas