Rolo Tomassi – The BBC Sessions album review

Rabid upstarts celebrate a decade of polyrhythmic intensity

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Mathcore extremists Rolo Tomassi are 10 years into a career defined by experimentation and perennial sonic evolution.

This collection of tracks, recorded live over several years during the band’s first chaotic three albums, is a snapshot of that journey and a sharp reminder that since their inception, these Sheffielders have been writing their own rules. Early single Beatrotter, all loopy grindcore electronics, jagged guitars and demonic growls from the then-teenage Spence siblings, is a vicious fit of brutality.

An acidic rendition of the Dillinger-styled I Love Turbulence, from their 2008 debut Hysterics, is as sharp as broken glass. Over time, the band have tweaked and modified their aural assaults; both Empiresk and Illuminare, performed from third album Astraea, are pivotal moments in the band’s back catalogue where light fuses with shade, fragility with violence. Together they mark the moment that one of the UK’s most forward-thinking young bands emerged from their burgeoning chrysalis. Last year’s Grievances, might be Tomassi’s most accomplished release to date, but the road they took to get there is worth celebrating.