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Rolo Tomassi - Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It (Album Review)

Tuesday, 06 March 2018 Written by Alec Chillingworth

Rolo Tomassi are weird. They’re a weird band.

But you can forget bizarre little cartoons. Forget 8-bit silliness. Forget Myspace and rawr and quirky haircuts and all that nonsense. Rolo Tomassi are not anything like that. With their fifth full-length, ‘Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It’, they have cemented themselves as one of the UK’s best bands and contenders on the world stage.

The thing about Rolo Tomassi is that they’ve always been more. Their debut LP, 2008’s ‘Hysterics’, borrowed from anything and everything. It remains a genre-straddling brew of mathcore, grindcore, jazz and progressive metal. And, year upon year, bit by bit, they improved further. Hooks got sharper. Heaviness increased. Their fourth album, ‘Grievances’, called upon strings and piano for its idiosyncratic sound, gaining a monochromic lathering of dread in the process. Like Eraserhead, if it were a record.

They’ve always sought to progress, and ‘Time Will Die…’ honours that tradition. It’s a funereal sibling of ‘Grievances’, but definitely an older one. You still have the savage, blink-and-you’ll-piss-yourself hardcore - the stuff that goes toe-to-toe with Converge - but there are also new forces at play here.

On the side of savagery, Rituals and Balancing The Dark are two songs that deserve holding aloft. Even then, though, the latter has James Spence’s fat synth going all hammy, like something Strapping Young Lad might once have dreamed up. That’s…not normal.

The same goes for Alma Mater. Its stop-start intro is reminiscent of the Dillinger Escape Plan, while its rough-and-tumble declaration of the album’s title is something Greg Puciato would shit in a bag all over again to get his hands on. But they have honed their craft to the point where this couldn’t be considered emulation, not for a second.

One of the main reasons for that is vocalist Eva Spence. Her piercing screams, guttural growls and sickly-sweet falsetto have established a dynamic that’s always made this band stand out, but on ‘Time Will Die…’ she trampolines over past achievements and kicks them in the arse on the way down.

It’s a tandem act with the music backing her. As the ambient instrumental of Towards Dawn slides into the album’s first song-proper, Aftermath, it’s clear that this is a band set on exploration, on conquering new terrain. It is unlike anything they’ve ever put to tape. The chorus is otherworldly, Deftones-worthy stuff. The keys backing Eva’s clincher of a hook are so melancholy that they hit a weird mix of triumph and despair few bands can properly deliver. It’s bizarre. Enticing.

And again, on album closer Risen, Rolo Tomassi bring everything full-circle. This time it’s just Eva and the piano, backed by ghostly, lullaby guitar. She is the be-all and end-all, the glue that holds this ludicrous musical proposition together. As she delivers one of the final lines, “And then it knocked the breath from me,” things start to get a bit meta.

This album is stunning. Genuinely breathtaking. Rolo Tomassi have become better at everything they used to do, while fleshing out new elements like The Hollow Hour’s post-black metal brutality. This is a fully-realised, immersive micro-universe that envelops the listener like Tool, Converge and Deftones can. Like only the best can, basically. ‘Time Will Die And Love Will Bury it’ is an uncouth yet classy masterwork, and the purest realisation of Rolo Tomassi’s vision to date.

Rolo Tomassi Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue April 03 2018 - GLASGOW Audio
Wed April 04 2018 - MANCHESTER Manchester The Deaf Institute
Thu April 05 2018 - BIRMINGHAM Asylum
Fri April 06 2018 - BRISTOL Exchange
Sat April 07 2018 - LONDON Garage

Click here to compare & buy Rolo Tomassi Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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