Date: April 4th 2018
Venue: The Deaf Institute, Manchester
Support: Cryptodira / Palm Reader
Since 2005, Rolo Tomassi have been breaking down any walls of genre stereotypes, expectations, and pretty most known and adhered to rules in music, and it’s this ambitious and bold repertoire that the band possess which has made their clawing through the ranks a little more laborious than it would be for most.
Perhaps that turbulence is somewhat an attribute to the meaning behind the phrase ‘Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It’, the title of the quintet’s recently released fifth record; their love for their craft and goals burying the time they’ve killed to get there. But now, with recent and forthcoming trips to new places overseas, and their biggest sold out headline dates since their inception – including tonight in Manchester – there’s no mourning involved here.
Hailing from New York and on their first ever visit to the UK, Cryptodira  sound like the bastardised child whose parents are The Dillinger Escape Plan and Opeth, but have been fed a healthy diet of Thrice. After a calm almost completely spoke word intro, the band break into the thick of it – a cataclysmic wall of noise. Despite a couple of technical issues towards the set’s end, it’s a fitting introduction for what will be for many their first exposure to the band.
Speaking of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Nottingham’s Palm Reader  have for many years held a fetish for frantic noise and technical textures, and right from explosive opener ‘Internal Winter’ – a cut from their soon-to-be-released album ‘Braille’ – the quintet prove that they’re more than capable of claiming that empty spot for themselves. Cuts like ‘Swarm’ and ‘I Watch The Fire Chase My Tongue’ continue the assault, and with any luck, Palm Reader will be headlining shows this size on their own before the year is up.
The dream state-like ‘Towards Dawn’ injects euphoria across the sold out Deaf Institute room as Rolo Tomassi  slowly ascend onto the stage, and melt right into following number ‘Aftermath’, allowing Eva Spence‘s angelic voice to take the lead into lulling us into a false sense of security. Darkness and anguish collapses onto us with ‘Rituals’, and with the musical acrobatics which Rolo Tomassi have reigned over the years, they show themselves at their strongest.
The near feral ferocity of ‘Stage Knives’ gleefully stabs and twists itself into us, ‘Funereal’ and ‘Balancing The Dark’ are as dispiriting as they are delightful, and ‘A Flood Of Light’ live sounds more like a song that has been sculpted to be the soundtrack to your final hours before an impending apocalypse than it does on record.
From start-to-finish, as the band ebb and weave through cuts of the chaos that they’ve created throughout their career, goosebumps stand firm to attention. On a few occasions, keyboardist James Spence joins his sister front and centre to scream bloody fury, and at one point he even clambers (or at least tries to) on the side balcony before falling into the arms of the crowd below him seconds later.
Other than their technical proficiency, and talent to flirt from beauty to turbulence within mere moments, what makes Rolo Tomassi such a fantastic live act, and band altogether, is their humble nature, thanking the crowd tonight with complete sincerity. The British mathcore troupe have been slogging it for over a decade, but it finally looks like their finally reaping the dues that they’ve paid.
This is the most accomplished that the band ever been, who have fully evolved and grown into the potential that they’ve been showing slivers of since their 2005 EP. With sold out headline dates, their recent first visit to the States, and their best album to date in ‘Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It’, 2018 is theirs for the taking, and if you hadn’t noticed yet, they’ve actually already taken it.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.