Rolo Tomassi: Astraea (Destination Moon)
We already know Rolo Tomassi are one hell of a live band but how does there music cross over to the recorded medium? Very well it would appear, or so Adrain Bloxham says.
It sucks you in. The growing keyboard sounds and a brooding bass line sound like the stylish soundtrack to a horror film, it grows and with it grows your sense of unease and anticipation. Drums beat a tribal rhythm underneath and the sound grows until the guitars and voice shred you apart.
This album is like a snowstorm in July. Itâs like a thatched cottage in an inner city high rise slum. Itâs a kid listening to metal, prog, grindcore and jazz, all at the same time. Itâs mad as a box of frogs and wonderful for it. That doesnât mean that you wonât struggle with it at first listen, you wonât accept it. But perseverance pays off with this release and once you get it, you canât get away from it.
Eva Spenceâs vocals go from throat shredding grindcore evisceration to a rough, soft singing voice, usually one after the other in a song. The music reflects which vocal, the soft usually lulls you into a false sense of calm before the harsh spins back in.
The music swings from flat out thrash to brooding, unsettling keyboards usually several times in the space of a song. The music goes from prog rock pomp to grindcore riffing, with the aforementioned vocals changing with the sound.
The time changes and spiralling notes have a jazz feel, a freedom and looseness that metal hasnât got usually. The obvious is almost always thrown away to make the listener think and absorb what the hell is going on.
Standout tracks are the opener âHowlâ with itâs horror soundtrack introduction and then metal shredding. âEchopraxiaâ with itâs metal-jazz hybrid of guitar playing, as hard as nails even with the music slowing in the middle of the song. The best song on the album is the seven minute long closer âIlluminareâ which turns a slow brooding synth introduction into a crashing guitar masterpiece. It brings to mind a massive spaceship slowly falling to Earth, burning inside as it falls, end over end to its doom. The drums in the mid section sound funereal and when Eva sings at the end of the song her voice doesnât sound perfect or polished, itâs fragile and powerful fitting perfectly with this sound.
If you give this record a chance, it will drill its way behind your eyes and make you scour the internet for more details. A step forwards for Metal and a step towards something very special.
All words and image by Adrian Bloxham. You can read more from Adrian on LTW here.Â