Rolo Tomassi: Grievances

Excellent stripped-down fourth LP from chaotic math-proggers.

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They made their name with an aggressive fusion of math-rock, avant-jazz, modern metal and Nintendocore (yes, it’s a thing), but Rolo Tomassi have taken a new tack since 2012’s Astraea.

Focusing on expansive yet stripped-back textures, they’ve reined in the Game Boy samples and acrobatic riffs in favour of leaner chords and less cluttered compositions. Whether that’s progress will depend on the listener, but given their perpetual cult status and recent shedding of members it’s impressive that they’ve managed to keep the quality so high. Opener Estranged is a prime example of their new approach, with single Stage Knives a concise version; vocalist Eva Spence again using clean vocals over her trademark growl to great effect during its more atmospheric sections. Ramdeuter’s progressive experimentation waltzes through a stunning array of moods, with a closing section that sees the band at their most restrained and mature yet. Opalescent is a stunning lesson in gradual textural development with almost a post-metal vibe, while the closing duo of hysterical riff-workout Funereal and the sinister, piano-led All That Has Gone Before put the new and old sides of the band into stark relief.