Rolo Tomassi – ‘Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It’ (Album Review)
Rolo Tomassi are batshit crazy in the best possible way. If you fancy trying to pigeonhole them, good luck. You’d probably have to come up with some ridiculous new genre label to make it work – something like “box of mathy death-frogs” or “kitchen sinkcore”.
Alternatively, you could just call Rolo Tomassi “Rolo Tomassi”, and be done with it.
Almost three years ago, these guys came out all guns blazing with Grievances – which was one hell of a way to mark the band’s tenth anniversary. It was fucking brutal, but also peppered with serene moments, breathing space, and even epically uplifting sections. In short, Grievances had everything.
It was Rolo Tomassi’s first true masterpiece.
Normally bands peak for one album, and then it’s all downhill from there. Not so for Rolo Tomassi. I’d go so far as to call Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It their second masterwork.
From the beginning, it’s clear that Rolo Tomassi have approached Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It with very different intentions to those that drove Grievances into immortality. Towards Dawn runs close to four minutes, a keyboard-laden chunk of anticipatory awesomeness that segues into Aftermath, an initially clean and sparkling rock track that builds, takes flight, and begins shifting through a series of epic dynamic adjustments. Finally, there’s a heavy singalong section worthy of the biggest festival fields, a feedback-filled pause, and…
…the balls-to-the-wall nuclear onslaught that is early taster track Rituals. Holy fuck. Shades of Between The Buried And Me are always welcome – as are Eva Spence’s ear-frying screams. Deep in the middle of it all, there’s even a Dillinger-Escape-Plan-evoking hook.
Through a forest of ride cymbals and pensive arpeggios comes The Hollow Hour, another eventually terrifying barrage of tightly wound riffs and frantically galloping grooves. Still in the same song, a seriously beautiful 5/8 section arrives while Spence softly sings and beneath it all, you know there’s more heaviness on the horizon. A few hills and valleys later, we move on.
Balancing The Dark opens with jazzy sidestick-happy drums and fusion-oriented key work, continues into more BTBAM-meets-DEP territory, then repeats its intro’s keyboard part while the drums lead us into Alma Mater. Beginning akin to Dillinger’s classic Prancer, this song quickly rips through the whole album’s core lyric as Rolo Tomassi charge toward a spacious, 4K-grade bridge and more vicious chugs. Next…
A Flood Of Light runs over eight minutes, as does penultimate track Contretemps. Together with The Hollow Hour, they make up this album’s trio of genuine progressive epics – and they are both fucking badass. Like all perfect prog songs, they manage to make you forget the running time altogether as you just allow a group of top-notch musicians to lead you through a musical labyrinth, trusting completely that they know where they’re going and feeling appropriately rewarded by the time the journey’s over.
Slightly shorter but still breaking beyond five minutes, Whispers Among Us sounds like the end of the world, and album closer Risen slows things right down into sky-searching, smartphone-torch-waving balladry. Some fuzzy synth pads and a fade-out later, it’s all over.
With The Dillinger Escape Plan now sadly deceased, it’s great to know that the experimental flag continues to be flown not just by any band, but by a band who have long established themselves as formidable underground heavyweights in their own right. Rolo Tomassi are not afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves – but at the same time, they always do so within the context of a unique, consistently inventive sound you just won’t experience in the same way anywhere else. Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It deserves your time, your unwavering attention, and plenty of long-term affection.
LTK RATING: 100% (Essential Listening!)
Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It drops March 2; pre-order it on iTunes here.
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