Rolo Tomassi are a genuine forward thinking, euphoric and ambitious band always pushing the very boundaries of the Metal and Hardcore genres. Unlike a certain Nu-Metal band that like to produce synth pop albums and then call it “experimental” (I’ve heard it’s all the rage now), Rolo know how to create a true work of art. After witnessing an absolutely phenomenal set from this noisecore crew at this year’s Download festival, and loving their first album Hysterics, I was compelled to check out their latest offering, Cosmology.
Diplo produced Cosmology is the band’s second album, released in May this year after suffering delays. The wait was worth it though, and with Cosmology, Rolo Tomassi present a much greater and more rounded proposition than their debut. If you thought Hysterics was good, you are going to love this.
Without further ado, I present to you my review of Rolo Tomassi’s latest offering.
The opening track, Katzenklavier, is a flurrying mix of arpeggiated synth sounds that honestly wouldn’t sound out of place in a Final Fantasy game; but not before long, an onslaught of guitars and drums pound the listener’s ears quicker than a fat boy crossing the road for a Burger King. The attack doesn’t let up, with the next track, House House Casonova, being equally as heavy. Fourth track, and first single, Party Wounds demonstrates a much catchier and punky quality. It’s obvious that with Cosmology, Rolo Tomassi have not set any boundaries are just creating the music they want to do.
Throughout the album, the striking vocalist Eva Spence exhibits an intense variety of vocals, from harsh screams, to ghost-like eerie cries, to beautiful harmonious singing. The instrumentation, likewise is just as varied, yet also cohesive within the flow of the album. The technical violent racket of the first song, Agamemnon, might seem a million miles from the grand synth driven finale and title track, but the album flows incredibly well. This certainly is an album to listen from start to finish.
Undoubtedly, the highlights of this album are Kasia and the title-track. Kasia begins with stunning clean guitars and gentle synths that build through the track. This is without a doubt one the most brilliant and exquisite pieces of music Rolo Tomassi have ever written. The music gently builds up to its climax, where the drums kick in and the guitars and synths are knocked into overdrive. Eva and backing vocalist James both scream with intense adeptness. Eva’s vocals continuingly alter from thunderous screams to aerie singing, before the track shifts into a synth driven, heavier alteration.
Title track, and album finale, Cosmology is a perfect end to the album, flawlessly blending everything that has made up the album thus far. The track begins slow, actually being the slowest song on the album. This is synth pop at its best, with Eva again displaying some wonderful vocals. The lyrics are also fantastic, with Cosmology being a haunting love song. The song brings shivers down my spine just listening to it. As the track picks up and drums kick in, the song gently moves into a faster a pace. Eventually, Eva’s vocals change into the harsh screams heard previously in the album, and the music reaches a beautiful climax, as Eva screams “Tell me what this means to me. Speak freely from your heart. Art for hearts sake.” This serves as a fantastic end to a fantastic album.
Cosmology is everything you could want in an album, both heavy and soft; presenting a full rounded exhibition of everything that makes music great. Cosmology is one of the most original and impressive albums of the year and it’s a desperate shame that this will largely go unnoticed, while we still have Linkin Park shifting hundreds of thousands with terrible music. Unfortunately, all we can do is try to educate people. The only criticism I can really offer to the album, is that I wish that they could have developed the atmosphere they displayed on tracks Kasia and Cosmology more into other tracks. These tracks are obvious highlights and it would have been nice to maybe have another track in a similar vein. In addition the album is quite short. Regardless, Rolo Tomassi are no doubt still growing as a band and Cosmology is a fantastic second album. I can hardly wait for the third.
Final verdict: Great, just a little on the short side.