Rolo Tomassi


Written by: MAK on 30/12/2015 15:19:07

Sheffield mathcore outfit Rolo Tomassi have grown over the last decade from being a noisy experimental metal band that could best be described as a rabid dog on cocaine, to one of the most popular mathcore bands in the alternative scene. Over the years, the quintet have matured their sound without sacrificing any of their ferociousness. With album number five as a follow up to their 2012 release “Astraea”, “Grievances” continues to amaze as Rolo Tomassi progress in writing incredible music.

Cutting the bullshit from the first note, without even an intro, opening song “Estranged” is a direct punch in the face. Vicious harsh vocals come from leading lady Eva Spence and it still continues to baffle me that she can make such demon-like noises. Added to that, the opener is layered with erratic beats and guitar work that appears to be heavily influenced by the likes of Converge and The Dillinger Escape Plan. The technicality in the guitar licks is quite mind-blowing. Rolo Tomassi have set the tone of this album from the start with a pure ass kicker. “Raumdeuter” follows up without giving the listener too much of a break, coming in with a brief interlude-like intro that continues straight on from “Estranged”. The tempo and the mood start to calm down a little bit in a progressive metal manner. We are then reminded of Spence’s ability to deliver some rather angelic cleans as they suit the outer space-themed synths that come in halfway through.

From that point, we see the two sides to the Sheffield act’s sound switch fairly regularly and mixing between songs. The “in your face” erratic mathcore, and the softer experimental sides balance each other out perfectly. “Embers” for one follows “Raumdeuter” as ferociously as album opener “Estranged”. It's another balls to the wall ass kicker from the start, but it adds some of Eva Spence’s nice singing to match her gravelly screams. The song then slows down at the end so that it can lead into a beautiful instrumental piano piece called “Prelude III (Phantoms)”, which then leads into another soft piece “Opalescent”. The soothing piano playing continues with slowly strummed guitars, but in comes new drummer Tom Pitts to showcase his talents with some intricate beats. The majority of the album onwards follows this soothing trend with cameos of the trademark Rolo Tomassi insanity appearing in the likes of the heavily mixed “Stage Knives” and “Funereal” as they sandwich the softer pieces “Crystal Cascades” and “Chandeliers”.

The album ends in an epic manner as “All That Has Gone Before” lasts 7:20, showing off the best musicianship that the album has produced. The soft piano pieces, the wall of sound heaviness, the soothing synths, the beautiful singing to counteract the savage screams - the final track has it all. It also just shows how much Rolo Tomassi have improved as songwriters, as the ability to write nice music, which works well with the heavier side, is a real art, and the Sheffield outfit have done it sublimely. The Production of “Grievances” compared to its predecessor “Astraea” shows growth too as this latest release sounds a lot more polished around the edges. Rolo Tomassi have really created an atmospheric masterpiece.

Download: Estranged, All That Has Gone Before, Raumdeuter
For The Fans Of: Converge, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Gay For Johnny Depp

Release date 01.06.2015
Holy Roar Records

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