Passion is an incredibly strong and beautiful force. Although it derives from an insanely strong emotion, it can be the source of so many other things. It can instill ambition, it can open one’s mind to a wondrous world of new possibilities, it can also inspire one to create whatever it is that is their truest form of art. There are many definitions of what passion truly means, but when you look at all of them (strong and barely controllable emotion, a state or outburst of strong emotion, an intense desire or enthusiasm for something, etc.) they all can be amalgamated into one point of fact, which is passion can be the source of creation for so much. Passion is exactly what an artist of any form truly utilizes to find ambition to create, it can be the source of finding which material to focus on, and once the main focus has been established, passion can be what drives the final outcome. This couldn’t be any more the truth when it comes to musicians and the music they create. Almost anyone can write a song, both musically and lyrically but that doesn’t mean that whatever it is they produce will have any real substance or carry any weight emotionally. Case in point, you must be passionate about the subject matter you wish to write lyrics for, or in a musician’s case you must find a way to emote every feeling you wish to convey through your instrument. It’s a rare moment to find these attributes in certain genres of music, especially when referring to any genre which most people would associate with a simplistic version of anger or hatred. Melodic hardcore, much like many other of it’s brother and sister genres (hardcore, metal, punk) would usually be lumped in with those simpler of emotions, but there are those times when the artist puts every bit of their soul into their craft and produces something so much more. That is exactly what Roseview’s debut album, The Misery In Me.
“Retrace” begins this musical journey of passionate emotion with a bang. Starting out with a lone guitar strumming slow, singular, haunting notes, the tempo is only quickened slightly with the entrance of a second guitar, bass, and drums. Each instrument strategically played in a way that oozes emotion before even ever hearing a single word. A reasonably slow rhythm allows the listener to feel a sense of sadness, yet wonder all at once. ‘Is there more to this life then what meets my eye?’ is the line which brings in vocalist Duncan Cook in his signature half screamed-half sung style, which in itself adds an almost beautiful, emotionally driven delivery and adds that much more intensity and gravitas to his words. The song seems to speak to a question we have all asked ourselves at least once in our life; is there more to life than this? Or is what has been shown to me all there is? A hard question to answer. In fact there may be no definitive answer, more so you must find a way to create an answer for yourself. The chorus ramps up the pace and almost adds a punk-esque feel to the song, bringing a whole new emotion to the table. Regardless of the words being a touch more on the morose side of the emotional spectrum, the music itself almost imbues a sense of drive and accomplishment. One would think that’s exactly what Roseview would be hoping to convey; ask the hard question, yet strive for hope and a lesson learnt at the end of the song.
There is no one band member in Roseview that is any more of an asset to the bands overall sound than the other. Each member plays their integral part in manifesting the final creation. Duncan Cook truly contributes his skills to the music in a fascinating and wonderful way. He has a talent and range which is rarely heard in a genre such as melodic hardcore or many rock related genres these days overall to be bluntly honest. Without ever losing the harmonious tones of his clean vocals, his screams seem to soar as oppose to pierce, but it is in his clean vocals where you ultimately hear what this man is capable of. On the track “Haze” the listener is introduced to a much more varied showing of Cook’s clean vocal abilities. Both musically and vocally, Cook’s singing and the band’s instrumentals are connected in a melodic unison. It’s almost as if they were created before they were ever written. Brandon Embelton and Keanu Papassavas-Temor’s guitars lay out an ethereal tone which perfectly pairs with Cook’s sweet yet eerie vocals. Topaz Papassavas-Temor’s bass lines provide a sullen and haunting backbone to the song, while Jake Wertman’s drumming adds an airy flow. All of this culminates in a song which is basically the epitome of passion. Passion for something so sad, yet so beautiful all at once. This is a common sentiment throughout The Misery In Me.
Do you remember the question that was posed earlier? ‘Is there more to life…’? Well, that question for all of its intricacies leads people down different paths depending on who they are, the influential forces around them, and what they hope for the answer to be in the end, and if they’ll fight for it. This leads to an almost limbo like mental state where you can see the metaphorical light and the end of the tunnel, but sometimes life’s stresses and issues can be too much and the dark side of us tends to win out. That seems to be the plotline put forth by “Reach”. Sonically the song leans more to the heavier side of hardcore. There is a sense of anger and urgency to all of the instrumentals, whole once again Cook’s voice is perfectly paired to match the vehemence. “There is a light that reaches through, but it’s always getting dimmer. So, I cover my ears and close my eyes, and let the shadows pull me under”. Many reading this will find that sentence to ring true in a situation or two they’ve faced in their lives, and they would not be alone. The breakdown of the track finds Roseview and they most furious sounding on the entire record. Each instruments bang, strum, pluck, and smash were expertly timed in creating the musical equivalent of Hell crashing down around the listener. This isn’t to say that one could not take away a positive message at the end of this song, in fact it’s quite the contrary. There is a lesson to be learned with each and every track on The Misery In Me, one just needs to fully listen.
Death can be a terribly tragic and scary thing. The loss of someone you love can be the ultimate crushing feeling and can leave you feeling sad and alone. But there is also a beauty in death. The lessons one can leave behind can help to construct those who they leave behind, and can mean no more pain or suffering for the one who passes. We can choose to focus on the negative or rise above it and take with us all the love and lessons and use them to better ourselves and our futures. That is the fantastic message behind “Graveyard”. Musically the song has some of the most upbeat tones on the entire record, regardless of the obvious heartbreaking connotations usually associated with the subject matter at hand. Lyrically the song also speaks to the fact that once someone has passed they’re never alone anymore. Those who are still alive can always remember them and carry them as a part of their lives, and the departed can also once again connect with those who they themselves had lost before. There’s a love and connectivity through death that most never truly try to understand. Once again Roseview have done an astounding job and finding the positive through the negative, and for all those listeners out there that are struggling with the loss of a loved one, this song can be that beacon of hope to help get through those dark and hard times.
“Ghost” is possibly the most powerful song on The Misery In Me both musically and lyrically. From beginning to end its impactful force surges through every note and rhythm. The song transitions seamlessly between a quickened pace and slower tempo to reflect each and every aspect of each and every emotion the group wishes to convey. Cook’s vocals during the chorus ring through speakers like an entity which wishes to consume every inch of space surrounding you, as well as flow through your entire body leaving you with chills and heightened breath. This track is also where Roseview clearly founded the title for the record. ‘Tear down these walls, and you will see, the misery in me’. A fitting lyric and album title seeing as so much of this album relates to material which begins with a difficult feeling or moment in one’s life, but this song like all others on the album reflect a positivity in the end. With the pain and suffering that one can face regardless of any situation it can be difficult at times to feel like you’re actually present for any of it. Consistent depression or loneliness can cause one to feel as if they’re not even physically there for any of it. You feel as if you are a ghost in your own home. You need to find something more to hold onto. Something more to strive for to bring yourself back to the world of the living. This is something we all can do, if we just push ourselves to find that light.
Passion truly is some kind of incredible. Without it so much art would lose its point, and fade into oblivion. When artists can truly harness the power of what true passion can create, their possibilities are limitless. Once true and unbridled passion is utilized what is manifested from it cannot be duplicated or compared in any shape or form by anyone else. Passion is unique to each person or group that uses it in any one instance. Roseview have without a doubt found the ultimate way of using passion as their main drive in creating what any listener or critic could only consider a masterpiece. In layman’s terms, they made passion their bitch, and what resulted is The Misery In Me. The album is something more incredible and inspiring that maybe what the band had even hoped for. To create something that as a whole as a resounding message of positivity which finds its beginnings in the darkest of places is not an easy task, and yet Roseview have produced this exact thing with an unfettered pulchritude. The Misery In Me could absolutely be one’s guidebook through to sad and sometimes desolate ways of life, and show them how in the end they can strive for me and come out on top.