Genre: Experimental Martial Industrial / Neoclassical
It’s unfortunate when a great band either intentionally or unintentionally allows themselves to remain under the veil of anonymity and obscurity. As a listener, upon discovering something beautiful and wonderful for the first time, its difficult not to want to latch on to the artist and learn more about the people behind the music, and often when a brick wall is there to meet you in regards to who is making this intense and unique art, one of two things can happen. You either lose interest, eventually setting the release aside in your collection to collect dust until its eventual rediscovery years later, or you can merely accept the fact that the music is enough. Of course, the latter scenario is typically only accomplished if something truly unique, even taste-changing is born through the release, and with Rose Croix’ debut tape on Brave Mysteries, they have managed to reach that level of masterful composition. Of course, it’s well-known now that this was third only to two absurdly resplendent offerings from Sangre de Muerdago (self-release) and Vradiazei (Pesanta Urfolk) on my ‘best of 2011’ list, so before this review even begins, that should speak volumes in regards to my personal affinity towards this release.
That being said, Rose Croix has taken martial industrial music with all of its neoclassical tidings and infused it with a powerful Eastern vocal influence, creating something of an obscure sound that has only been rivaled once by an artist known as Rhea’s Obsession in the 90’s that were similar in sound to Dead Can Dance but in a league all their own. The style of Rose Croix, however, is inevitably darker in tone and has a strong focus on modestly bombastic ambient interludes with complex percussive instrumentation, shifting focus from the impressively performed female vocals to the overall brooding, almost apocalyptic atmosphere. As with many Brave Mysteries releases, Rose Croix expresses an intense personal spiritual guidance in their music that only furthers the mystery behind the project. Of course, the images of Eastern Mediterranea and the obvious religious historical implications that come with that only serve to fuel the abstruse cycle. In the end, the militant edge serves not as a means to paint the project as political in nature, as even if it did there is not enough information available about the project to even begin to support that, but to further serve as an aesthetic reference to a region that has been warred over for millenia — a region whose people hold on to an ancient and unending devotion to mysticism that few in the Western world can comprehend.
While it’s not flat-out stated that Rose Croix is influenced by Rosicrucianism, it seems painfully obvious in nearly every way that the group has taken their cue from the 17th century philosophical society. The good gentlemen behind Brave Mysteries have become known for their interests in the esoteric, so its no surprise that they would have been quick to release such a tape. Rosicrucianism has been claimed by many esoteric societies in the centuries following as an immediate, if not overwhelming influence on their doctrine. In “The Rose Cross: A Historical and Philosophical View” by Professor Carl E. Lindgren, the author is quoted as writing “The secret doctrine of the Rosicrucians was built on esoteric truths of the ancient past. These truths, concealed from the average man, provide insight into nature, the physical universe and the spiritual realm. Some of these truths are also offered in higher degrees of Masonry and in certain arcane Oriental orders.”
In closing, and coming full circle to the beginning, even through the project’s choice to remain anonymous, there is a surprising amount of depth to Rose Croix. It doesn’t seem to matter which direction you’ll allow the music to take your thoughts, you will always be met by a philosophical mindset. Whether your perceptions take you into an academic thought process or an introverted, hermetic mental ritual completely depends on who you are and what journey your heart chooses to take.