I discovered Rolo Tomassi kind of late on my own, some years ago, while they released Time Will Die And Love Will Bury I in 2018. Since then, some songs have had a permanent place in my playlists like “Aftermath”, “The Hollow Hour” and “Balancing in the Dark”. Overall it was a very good album that showed the potential this band had – some songs weren’t my cup of tea, but others where outstanding.
I had some problems to like earlier works of the band which I looked at after my love for the 2018 album. The strength, force and playfulness they show are more untamed, wild and for my taste confusing. To be fair, it’s unfair to reduce three/four albums to a few adjectives, but, and it’s a big but, Rolo Tomassi is a band that you can’t just put into one category to describe their music. If you got to five different review pages, the editors come up with twelve different classifications. That’s why my assessment is only of limited use, the band must be listened to in order to know what you’re talking about.
So as the band announced a new album for the beginning of 2022, I was happy and curious. The last album I was so enthusiastic about was released a long time ago. Of course, I always have some albums on my shortlist that I eagerly await, but Where Myth Becomes Memory was on my number one list. Which way will the band choose this time?
After I listened to this album for the first time it needed a second go. And then a third. And my only thought was: This album is outstanding. And this thought doesn’t occur too frequently for me. I thought like that about Mariner by Cult of Luna feat. Julie Christmas (2015), Heaven Shall Burn’s Iconoclast 2008 or the St. Pauli Sessions by Mantar in 2014.
The first song “Almost Always” lets you dive into the album, lovely carillon type of sounds let you fall into it, then riffs and the amazing voice of Eva Spence. “Are you listening to your heart – what happens when it stops – are waiting for a sign? A Goodbye? Goodbye – What do you do when you lost”. Hard riffs and drums, but still this lovely sound from the beginning. What a start.
Besides “Almost Always”, there are others that go in the same calmer direction: “Closer” even largely dispenses with harshness and relies more on soulful vocals, background vocals, a present piano and playful riffs. “Stumbling” is even calmer, but renounces a positive feeling and appears very painful, lost and desperate.
But there are harder songs as well, typical for Rolo Tomassi: wild and hard riffs, sometimes it seems as if the drums, guitars or maybe the vocals are out of the line, but this is a typical element of the band. Both of the singles “Cloaked” and “Drip” are good examples. The play between hard and soft, the different styles of Eva Spence‘s voices she changes whenever the song needs it. Breaks in the volume of the instruments to get some air while listening. Great songs.
However, there are some even heavier songs. Even if they have some breaks from the loud and wild styles, they can be clearly located more in the Hardcore Genre. “Labyrinthine”, “Prescience” and “To Resist Forgetting” should be called here. These are the songs that are most likely to be the early phase of the band.
The last song “The End of Eternity” collects all the ideas, feeling and expressions of the previous songs together once again and forms a wonderful conclusion to the not quite 50 minutes journey. The album ends almost worth the same carillons as it begins, a felicitous ending that invites you to listen to the album again.
One of my first overall thoughts about Where Myth Becomes Memory is that it is a successor of Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It. Some structures, ideas and build-ups of the album are strongly reminiscent of the album from 2018. But this album has more depth, more ideas and a better build-up. The unbridled wildness of the early days has been tamed and the skills and talents, also through the experience of the years, have been channelled to bring out the full strength of this unique musical style that Rolo Tomassi creates.
The first musical diamond of 2022.