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Rosetta Stone - Stand Alone

Rosetta Stone
Stand Alone
by Gary Hernandez at 17 July 2019, 1:50 PM

I was talking to a friend of mine at a party. I had just thrown on TRIGGERMAN, “The Riff Hold Sway.” He said, “Oh my God, who is this?” I told him, adding they had recently split up. “Of course,” he said, disappointed. It seems that’s how the story always goes. I had the same reaction when I listened to ROSETTA STONE’s album, “Stand Alone,” recently compiled and issued by Arkeynsteel. Listening to this reissue left me with a sense of nostalgia, but also filled me with the excitement of discovering a rare artifact. With technology, we never really lose music. As they say, the King is dead; long live the King. Now we all know about the language company. And probably less of us know about the UK Gothic Rock band, both of the same name. However, this particular ROSETTA STONE formed in 1988 in the unlikely locale of Greenville, South Carolina. They put together a demo a few years later in 1991, which was only released to a few radio stations before the band broke up.

The most remarkable thing about this band, the thing that stands out the most, the thing that literally screams in your face, is the incredible vocalist Pete Donk. His performance on these long lost tracks is nothing short of spectacular. If you’re wondering whatever happened to him, a little bit of online searching reveals he now goes by Peter Andrews, is alive and well, and is still active in the music scene. I should also note that the guitar work of Eddie Coggins is impressive as well. You just shake your head and ask: What if? The first six tracks are a blast — total Power Metal at its glorious best. My personal favorite is the title track, “Stand Alone”— great vocals, awesome guitar solo, incredible harmonies. Pete credits Geoff Tate of QUEENSRYCHE for inspiring him, and it shows. “Morning Song” and “Daze Gone By” are also all excellent, though for my tastes “Make My Day” is the heaviest — and on this album you get the advantage listening to two versions of the song: one with vocals; the other sans.

In addition to the six re-mastered demo tracks are three live rehearsal tracks and three music-only tracks which, without Pete’s dominating presence, showcase just how strong a band this was. As a special treat, also included is “Bring Him Home,” a touching song recorded as a Christmas gift for Pete’s mother in 1990. So much for the stereotype of metal heads being heartless thugs who hate their mothers and sacrifice cats. Arkeynsteel’s website indicates “Stand Alone” will be available on 500 hand-numbered, limited edition CDs. I’m not sure if there will be a wider digital release. Let’s hope there is, because I’m thinking there’s more than 500 people who are going to want own this album.

 Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6
Memorability: 7
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Stand Alone (demo 1991)
2. Only One (demo 1991)
3. Make My Day (demo 1991)
4. Never Be the Same (demo 1991)
5. Morning Song (demo 1991)
6. Daze Gone By (demo 1991)
7. Cry of the Youth (Rehearsal March 1990)
8. End of Eternity (Rehearsal March 1990)
9. Dream Song (Rehearsal March 1990)
10. Make My Day (Basic tracks, unmixed 1991)
11. Days Gone By (Basic tracks, unmixed 1991)
12. The Only One (Basic tracks, unmixed 1991)
13. Bring Him Home (Unreleased, acoustic, Dec 1990)
Pete Donk (Peter Andrews) – Vocals
Eddie Coggins – Guitar, vocals
Mike Turcotte – Bass, vocals
Damon Wetli – Drums
Record Label: Arkeyn Steel Records


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Edited 06 December 2022

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