Review Summary: Three words: Modern. Metal. Masterpiece.
Rolo Tomassi has always been difficult to pin down in the fierce genre wars that consume most discourse in the internet metal community. Regardless of what genre you think the British quintet are, it’s hard to deny that their latest album is a masterpiece; truly a work of art built by a decade of experimentation and growth. The amount of dynamic range presented on Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It
is simply unprecedented; one minute, you’re greeted with a mellow post-rock ambience that wouldn’t have felt out of place on the most recent Tides of Man album, while the next minute is a frenzied piece of mathcore brilliance that would give even the mighty Dillinger Escape Plan a run for their money. Better yet, the transitions between the soothing atmosphere of tracks like “Risen” and “Aftermath” and the absolute madness of “The Hollow Hour” and “Alma Mater” feel completely natural. This is easily Album of the Year potential, maybe even Album of the Decade if we’re being honest.
Unlike their predecessor, Time Will Die
doesn’t immediately assault with their established mathcore frenetics. Instead, the album takes its time to build up, as instrumental “Towards Dawn” and its follow-up, “Aftermath”, do not contain even a slight amount of unclean vocals. The overall meat of the record begins on “Rituals” and keeps up the pace up until the conclusion of “Contretemps”, while retaining the aforementioned dynamic range that I pointed out in the first paragraph. Whether it’s singer Eva Spence’s repetition of “You’ll find it’s not all what it seems / so pinch to feel the pain / clawing for a sweet escape / until I feel again” on “Rituals” or the visceral screaming of the album title in “Alma Mater”, the lyricism on here is fiercely passionate and deeply emotional, without being too overbearingly complex or hard to follow like some releases this year have been. Sole guitarist Chris Cayford has his standout moments, but more often than not, it’s keyboardist James Spence who holds the instrumentation together along with drummer Tom Pitts; not exactly a common feat for a heavier act such as this, but it works. The longer songs especially give them more time to experiment with different motifs and structures, similar to movements in a Beethoven or Mozart symphony. Closer “Risen” ends this 53-minute trek into emotional distress in a similar fashion to how opener “Towards Dawn” began it.
For as much depth as this band has presented in the individual tracks, they flow into each other with a impenetrable amount of precision. It’s almost as if they were never separate from the whole; Insomnium’s magnum opus Winter’s Gate
is notable for being one lengthy track, only to be cut into seven parts on its digital version. Perhaps in a sense, this is the same situation as with Insomnium’s greatest album. The album’s structure does not reflect that of a traditional metal album; verse-chorus-verse structure and hardcore breakdowns are nowhere to be found. Instead, the album bombards you with a complete stream of consciousness that relies on the ebb and flow of its motifs, and damn, if that doesn’t work to its benefit. The framework that Grievances
set gave Spence and co. an enormous swath of new ideas and uncommon techniques to use, and their utilization of said framework is nothing short of brilliant. While it has the potential to overwhelm the listener on first listen, Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It
is a serious grower. If it doesn’t click with you at first, keep listening; the amount of passion and drive on display is like nothing I’ve heard that has been released within the past decade.