Going from strength to strength with each album cycle, Rolo Tomassi grew into their own over the decade leading up to 2018’s Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It. Their fifth album is a beautiful, triumphant and innovative mix of post-rock, hardcore and dream-pop, and undoubtedly their most accomplished and expansive work. Time Will Die… sees Rolo Tomassi sounding unlike any other band around and demonstrating a greater understanding of balancing light against dark, all whilst combining beautiful nuances and devastating savagery.
Ditching the glitchy Nintendo-core of their early days, on Time Will Die… Rolo Tomassi continue the development they displayed on the tenebrous Grievances (2015), with all five performers pushing themselves. Eva Spence’s vocal performance on Time Will Die… is flawless, ranging from serene, high-pitched timbres to throat-shredding rasps and back again to suit the scope of the music – matching everything from the ethereal drifting softness of ‘A Flood Of Light’ to the antagonistic punch of ‘Rituals’. There’s also a more nuanced use of James Spence’s synth work, which adds a fine atmospheric layer that sits in harmony with Chris Cayford’s interesting guitar work. Spence’s keys are skilfully used to emphasise particular moments within songs, such as the soft, jazzy break and organ-led chorus of the magnificent ‘The Hollow Hour’, the syncopated rhythms of ‘Balancing The Dark’ and the huge, slow-building crescendo of album highlight ‘A Flood Of Light’.
Closing with two songs that are an exceptional example of piano-driven post-rock (‘Contretemps’) and a dream-like shoegaze finale (‘Risen’), the sweeping Time Will Die… flows splendidly from start to finish. Even the jarring third song ‘Rituals’ – a brief and potent assault that harkens back to Rolo Tomassi’s earlier ‘core days and sees them freshly embracing blackened hardcore and even doom elements – does not feel out of place in following the post-rock brilliance of ‘Aftermath’ on this marvellously-paced album.
Not only an important step in Rolo Tomassi’s evolution, Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It helped give Holy Roar Records arguably their most successful year in 2018, and is an utterly unmissable amalgamation of enchanting post-rock beauty and hardcore ruthlessness.