Rolo Tomassi - Where Myth Becomes Memory (MNRK Heavy)
Updated: Mar 1, 2022
There is a special kind of album that feels like a well worn sweater, even if it's first time hearing it. These records are welcoming, familiar, and yet a unique experience every time. Such is the case of Where Myth Becomes Memory (MNRK Heavy), the latest release from English quintet, Rolo Tomassi.
Having defied genre classification since 2005, Rolo Tomassi has spent nearly two decades weaving immensely heavy guitar with calming pianos, head spinning drums, and the incredible range of vocalist Eva Korman. With each track of Where Myth Becomes Memory, it is clear that the band is very much at a point in their career where their influence can be heard in the work of many newer acts.
The thick atmosphere of opener, "Almost Always", is a near perfect dream sequence, blending elements of shoegaze and post-rock. Korman's longing vocals over a delicate piano are reminiscent of The Optimist, the last album released by fellow Brits, Anathema. However, no sooner does the dream reach its sweetest point when reality hits hard with "Cloaked", the album's first single. Switching between a fierce growl and immaculate clean singing, Korman is backed by synthesizer work courtesy of James Spence and the flawless drum lines delivered by Al Pott.
Though based many kilometers away, Rolo Tomassi shares a palette akin to Jinjer with "Mutual Ruin". Fast and vicious, the song feels like a conjuring of a mystic circle pit: as if the music was written for some sort of metal ritual or seance. Slowing down a bit, "Labyrinthine" steps closer to Code Orange or mid-career Converge territory; menacing and punishing.
The ying-yang of ambient passages and head banging grooves continues with "Prescience" and "To Resist Forgetting". Closing out the album, "The End Of Eternity" is a 'feeltrip' to a place of nostalgia; almost like seeing a picture from a special day that you didn't realize you had. Maybe it's a good memory, maybe it's a painful one, but as stated before, it feels familiar and yet unique at the same time.
The Metal Mayan rating: 5/5
Not since Baroness released "Tourniquet" have I been so unexpectedly moved by a song like "The End Of Eternity". The track captures longing, anticipation, joy, and sorrow in its six minute run time. Likewise, I had to listen to "Mutual Ruin" a few times just because of the infectious groove.
As cliche as it is to use the "something for everyone" phrase, it's definitely the case here for those who appreciate heaviness and harmony. It is refreshing to hear an album balance these two components so well.
I would absolutely love to see Rolo Tomassi tour with bands like Jinjer, Baroness, or Code Orange simply because their styles would compliment each other well. Come to think about it, that line up would also be a great chance to celebrate women in metal since all four bands have at a metal goddess in their fold (Eva Korman, Tatiana Shmailyuk, Gina Gleason, and Reba Meyers respectively).
Visit your local record store and pick up a copy of Where Myth Becomes Memory, out now on MNRK Heavy.