Rolo Tomassi have always made it a challenge for themselves to be pigeonholed, but further cement that fact with the release of their fifth full-length album Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It, released now a decade after their debut Hysterics all the way back in 2008. Though unashamed genre-hoppers, it's certainly a challenge to be a purveyor of many artistic merits and styles without coming off as gimmicky or ill-equipped.
Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It is a record that moves from strength to strength, leveraging equal parts melody and aggression to portrait a record as a whole. In fact, while many of the cuts on here are definite highlights, it's hard to imagine listening to this album outside of its own larger context. 'Towards Dawn' opens the record on a hum, a droning ambience perpetuating throughout the record, accentuated by Eva Spence's soaring voice, propelling itself higher and further skyward before crashing down in a hailstorm of fury and passion.
Spence's singing is dripping with reassurance on 'Aftermath', the weightless nature of the song could very reasonably be taken out of context, especially when paired alongside the darkly ambivalent 'Rituals' that immediately throws caution to the wind, backing on nightmarish riffs and licks in addition to face-melting screams from a once angel voiced frontwoman.
While there are times of delicate keys, bold drum fills keep the album's forward momentum chugging along, so the record doesn't ever really stop to give itself a breather. While 'A Flood Of Light' is the only moment that even scratches the surface to what would be a listener's reprieve, it does so in such a nuanced way that would put most contemporaries to shame.
Time Will Die... is a record that ebbs and flows, almost gelatinous in a sense. The fact that each track bleeds into the next makes for all the more compelling of a listen and almost a challenge to digest it as anything other than a greater whole - not when the sum of its parts dance and intertwine with each other so darn effectively.
Post-rock guitars wail, sometimes against synthpop reckonings and more often than not are jazz-influenced brushstrokes splattered against a relentless mathcore canvas. In fact, while it's likely easy enough to stamp Rolo Tomassi's latest offering as mathcore and be done with it, there's a certain magic in the way they go about the stretching and mutilation of their own sound.
There can certainly be a lot going on here - smatterings of different genres can make for an exhausting LP, but Time Will Die... is imbued with a ton of personality, forging an album uniquely its own. There's no argument that it can be hard to digest at times, but one that will ultimately reward the patience of the listener. Perhaps this is what makes Rolo Tomassi's latest offering such a gratifying listen; it's at times fragile and delicate yet simultaneously unafraid of its own complexity and chaos.
To the casual listener, it's almost convincingly white noise, but I'll be damned if it isn't beautiful white noise.
Dre’s Top Three:
- Balancing The Dark