It is always a very special situation for bands and artists when the previous album enjoyed a lot of attention. In the case of Rolo Tomassi, "Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It," released in 2018, is undoubtedly the band’s magnum opus. It was highly praised not only by the press but also by the fans. But what happens when you put yourself under so much pressure, as Rolo Tomassi have done?
"Where Myth Becomes Memory" is the name of the band’s sixth album. Rolo Tomassi, who once operated between synthesizer-laden Nintendocore, Grindcore and Mathcore – but at the latest since "Grievances" drifted more and more into sustained and spherical soundscapes. Between jazz and shoegaze, it has always been eclectic influences that have made the sound of Rolo Tomassi always let become different. "Where Myth Becomes Memory" also sounds different, even if it is inspired by its predecessor.
In fact, "Almost Always Matter" is a track that fits perfectly sonically with what you know. With a similar sound to what you’ll find on "TWDALWBI", you’ll find Rolo Tomassi a smooth introduction to the album. It takes a little time for the ethereal spheres of sound to build up. Only with piano sounds and the vocals of Eva Spence the opener slowly becomes a song.
Piece by piece, "Almost Always Matter" builds up and emphasizes the post metal undertone that Rolo Tomassi have established over the last years. These are patches of sustained soundscapes that sound beautiful and graceful, gently preparing us for what is to come. "Cloaked", on the other hand, builds on the contrast of the band’s intricate tech metal and mathcore sound. Together with the clean aspects and discreetly placed synthesizers, the lead single delivers a track that can exemplify the Brit*s sound.
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"Mutual Ruin" also follows this approach with hard riffs and a change that leads into a dreamy clean part. Something that already came through on "Almost Always Matter," but is even clearer now, is an influence that has been less audible before.
"Where Myth Becomes Memory" is very piano-heavy and reveals neo-classical influences. The raw piano sound is especially reminiscent of composers like Nils Frahm, Hania Rani and Olafur Arnalds. Rolo Tomassi put the emphasis especially on the sound of the piano, which even lets the mechanics become audible. These mechanics provide an organic charm similar to a chimney crackle for a romantic setting. But this romanticism is always countered by something
Less romantic, but consistently aggressive sounds "Labyrinthe", which turns out to be less spectacular track than the previous songs, however, despite demanding 7/8 time signature. At least show Rolo Tomassi here their "ugly face" in a sophisticated manner and deliver enough proofs that they still master the abrasion as well.
"Closer", on the other hand, hits a vibe that we know not only from the beginning of the album, but also from "Contretemps" ("Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It"=. With post-rock guitars, a shoegaze vibe and an enchanting atmosphere, both Eva and James Spence shine, who generally has more vocal parts on "Where Myth Becomes Memory" than before.
But at the latest the chorus of "Closer" is so irresistibly beautiful that it gives you goose bumps. It briefly takes us to an island of sanity and clarity between all the chaos that "Labyrinths" gave us and the following "Drip".
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"Drip", which like "Closer" was released as an appetizer to the album, is another track that convinces of the band’s darker side. As in other tracks, take themselves Rolo Tomassi the time to prepare the beginning of "Drip". The fast pacing, the polyrhythmically laid out drums and the riffing let "Drip" quickly become a track that ties in with "Cloaked", but also makes use of the atmospheric elements, as on "Mutual Ruin". The result is another parade song for the sound of Rolo Tomassi, that meanders between clarity and madness.
"Prescience" even takes this madness a notch higher. The track convinces with djentige Tech Metal and a drive, which hardly seems to end. "Prescience," however, also follows a typical dramaturgy and delivers a clean part that doesn’t just break the bank. It leads into an epic, oppressive finale that drags along sultrily.
The already mentioned influence of neoclassical music shows itself in full bloom at the latest with "Stumbling". The track focuses on the piano, which together with vocals reveals a melancholic resting point of the album. A lull that is interrupted by a single snare beat and caught up again by the band’s mathcore driven chaos. "To Resist Forgetting" is a track that every fan of Rolo Tomassi will love above all and advances with each hearing to the clear highlight of the album.
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It takes a little while for the track to find itself in clear spheres. But as soon as Rolo Tomassi to achieve this clarity, they build dramaturgically on tricky riffs and breaks. It is not only the technical expertise and finesse that are convincing, but also the emotional component.
An emotional ending
The end part, which "To Resist Forgetting" now delivers and is sung with "Your not the only one that can save us", brings a certain magic into the track and convinces with a melody, which is so catchy, that it still resonates after "The End Of Eternity".
In fact, "Where Myth Becomes Memory" ends much as it began. Clean guitars and atmospheric synthesizers are accompanied by Eva Spence’s vocals. "The End Of Eternity" is another beautiful song between post rock, progressive borrowings and dream pop. At least until the half of the track is reached and the band builds up a momentum in post-hardcore manner. Only then does the true finale of the album reveal itself.
So "Where Myth Becomes Memory" ends as it began, in an emotional way. The ending seems self-contained, even if within the work, fluid transitions were largely dispensed with compared to the previous album. In the end, an impression remains that inspires and brings forth various arguments in its favor.