Rosy Finch is a three-piece hailing from Alicante, Spain, and delivers a powerful, sludge-laden EP with lyrical content based around the Divinia Commedia, also known as The Divine Comedy and sometimes referred to as Dante’s Inferno (which would only reference the first of the three parts of the epic poem). The band has described themselves as having influences that range from Sonic Youth to The Melvins but I also hear a sizeable alternative metal influence. Much of their EP reminds me heavily of Tool and A Perfect Circle, both bands that I love.
The standout performance of the release has to go to Mireia Porto who both plays guitar and sings. Her vocals range from sung whispers and entrancing crooning to monstrous shouts and growls and more in-between. An expert performance from Porto. With that said I must still give props to the rest of the band. Juanjo (drums) and Oscar (bass) are by no means a background act. The drums and bass lock together like a finely tuned machine and show off some chops while also managing to keep the focus on the vocals.
Production-wise the album sounds great. All the instrumental tones are big and warm, and the heavy sections sound menacing without feeling noisy. I particularly love the drum tones as the toms cut through the mix, which again reminds me of the drum production on a Tool album.
The next interesting thing to talk about is the thematic content of the album. As mentioned, it’s based on Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy which is a work that has been embedded in literature and popular culture since its writing but also has been said to have been the first work of literature to treat characters in literature as a product of their time rather than archetypes (merely a collection of vices and virtues). So, in many ways, this is an important work of literature.
I am by no means a scholar of The Divine Comedy so I will be only talking very surface level when it comes to the content. Something that can be said for certain, however, is that tracks two, three, and four are directly related to each of the chapters of the seminal poem as they take the same names. “Inferno”, “Purgatorio”, and “Paradiso” essentially mean hell, purgatory, and heaven. The first track is titled “Selva Oscura” and is taken directly from Inferno, which directly translated means “Twilight Forest”, “Dark Forest”, or “Gloomy Wood”. This phrase is featured in the very first line of the poem which reads “In the midway of this our mortal life, I found me in a gloomy wood astray.” This passage seems to refer to a limbo state of being, still alive yet not really living.
This is well represented in the music of the first track on this EP. The track is instrumental and starts off very slow. Many seconds pass before a slow oscillating synth enters, followed by distant strings drenched in reverbs and delays. Scratching and shaking sounds linger in the background as the guitar plays an obfuscating collection of intervals and scales. Although the music seems minor at first, the end result is much more altered, augmented perhaps, which greatly complements the theme of the track of being trapped in a dark forest, unsure if you are lost or if this is exactly where you are meant to be. You feel fear, but also calm. Anxious yet relaxed. Towards the end of the track the music builds and some of the sounds become more intense before it all fades to nothing, leaving only unsettling oscillating sub-synths. Although I have always enjoyed the sound of this track I found myself skipping occasionally before I realised how directly it links to the main concept of the record. Now I find I need it to lead me into the darkest part of this album, “Inferno”.
Track two is representative of Hell, the first part of the Divine Comedy. The music begins in an alluring manner, wistful guitar chords dripping with delay. Drums have a lovely huge reverb on them too, while the bass envelops the rest of the mix. The first vocals of the EP enter and are whispers, almost that of an angel but too late you realise, this is no angel. The words “did you pay for your sins?” are heard before huge guitar chords ring out across the gates of hell. This section was the first to remind me of Tool and the song continues on that trend as it speeds up and changes into a time signature that feels like 6/4 (it could be 3/4, but the one only feels to come around every six beats. Anyway, maybe I’m over thinking this). The vocals are the most demonic elements of the track. The screams are unrelenting, however, I do feel that considering the track is supposed to be about hell, it could do with getting even heavier. Some of the sections are a little dreamy for me and don’t necessarily give me the sense of hell, yet as a whole, the track is great.
Track three, “Purgatorio”, or purgatory, is the state in between heaven and hell and is Dante’s second step in his journey. The harmony of this song reflects that, not feeling major or minor, but rather suspended. Much like someone in the state of purgatory you are not sure which way you will go. The music feels to almost never resolve until we hit the sparse ascending whispers which work really well to fit into the purgatory theme. The song seems to be rising but never going up, thematically great. We hit a darker middle section where you can almost feel yourself being pulled down again, but this lasts only briefly as we return to some of the earlier sections. I enjoy the layers of delay and reverb we hear throughout the EP, as they add a lot to the divine quality the compositions conjure. The last minute and a bit of the song finally resolves into a pounding riff that serves as your salvation, delivering you to your final destination, whether you want it or not… Heaven. As a last note, I love the guitar solo that ends the song.
We end with “Paradiso”, which has a large roomy sound. The intervals are open and warm, the bass and drums groovy, though there are still hints of darkness lingering in some of the harmonies. As huge power chords enter, the music reminds me so much of Iron Maiden, particularly the album A Matter of Live and Death which also had a fair amount of religious imagery in its content. The vocals also give me Bruce Dickenson vibes and all of this is fantastic because I love Iron Maiden. Triumphant for sure but not quite the qualities I would expect to represent the final section of this journey, some elements of this song do have an uplifting, heavenly quality but none of these qualities are new to the album which makes the track feel a bit less unique and less thematically solid as the previous ones. By no means an objectively bad piece of music but the one that spoke to me the least in this EP.
Overall I think Rosy Finch has delivered an extremely well-produced and thematically interesting album with amazing vocal and instrumental performances. My biggest criticism is I find some of the elements of their compositions to be a bit generic; not bad or wrong by any stretch, but not extremely exciting. The vocals make up for much of this, but not entirely, and I find myself growing a bit bored with the songs after multiple listens. I think it’s most definitely worth a few listens to make up your own mind.
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The artwork for Seconda Morta was created by Key Svn Cvlt. You can grab a digital copy of Seconda Morte over on Bandcamp, as well as copies of the album on CD and vinyl. You can also listen to the album over on Spotify.