Having consistently championed the virtues of underground savagery and fearless innovation, Rolo Tomassi‘s decade and counting career has seen them intriguingly pitched somewhere between cult status, and lingering on the fringes of the current UK elite. Commercial darlings they may not be, yet the fact remains that the steel city quintet’s strident approach to boundary pushing has given us some of the most striking music to emerge from our shores. Fourth full-length missive ‘Grievances’ once again delights in dispensing with the rulebook.
Vaulting out of the gate with a joyously vicious ‘Estranged’, there’s little doubting that the band are still rather taken with their time honoured mathcore antics, thudding rhythmic assault and dizzying tempo shifts (‘The Embers’) as bug-eyed and spittle flecked as ever. Yet, the story of ‘Grievances’ is a much more challenging affair than simple tunnel vision violence, with not only a greater melodic emphasis throughout, but a host of subtle new experiments bubbling under the surface.
From the ambient, post-black metal of ‘Raumdeuter’, ‘Opalescent’‘s wistful atmospheric swing and the feral grindcore blood-thirst of ‘Funereal’, the record’s pitch black tone is born of tireless experimentation, and as we ebb and flow between snippets of mournful cello and piano tinkering, Rolo Tomassi remain thoroughly uncompromising in their songwriting scope.
With all their familiar sonic bile interspersed with spine-tingling interludes and avant-garde lulls, ‘Grievances’ does a great job at stretching the numerous strings to their bow. It’s certainly not about to crack the mainstream, but then of course it was never supposed to. What it does do, however, is re-establish Rolo Tomassi as one of our most thrillingly creative outfits ever to do it.
Written by Tony Bliss (@TBliss88)