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Album Reviews : Rolo Tomassi – Hysterics

By on December 19, 2008

roloalrgeRolo Tomassi are from the very normal town in the very normal country of Sheffield, England. This band proves the proverb “don’t judge a book by it’s… country of origin”. Or in fact by it’s cover. For in both of these respects you would expect Rolo Tomassi to be a nice little band to pop on the stereo with a hot cuppa. And in both cases you’d be wrong.

The style of this band is difficult to define. It’s a mix of electro pop, psychedelia, death and progressive metal. I guess that great modern genre known as Nintendo Metal is the best way one could describe it. Most songs contain a mix of soft vocal work by either or both of the brother/sister  singing combination of James and Eva Spence, as well as some of the most extreme screaming you will ever hear. It’s hard to imagine that this album could have been recorded over a short period of time, as it seems almost impossible that this type of singing could be kept up for an entire albums worth. They appear to use their vocal work to express in its most brutal form anger, hate, suffering – or whatever emotions the British allow themselves to feel.

Interspersed with these contrasting sounds are Jazz interludes, just to throw the listener even further off course. For a young band, there is an obvious level of maturity beyond their years demonstrated in their writing style. The fifth track on the album “Nine”, is a synth piece that builds to such a climax, only to be torn down again by the violence of the proceeding track. Or perhaps it’s just the bravado of youth that they feel assured enough to do something like this. Either way, it will be interesting to see how the band will progress, given the hype surrounding them in their home land.

These guys really know how to write a good song. For someone who tends to avoid the more extreme sides of metal, the melodic passages and layering throughout the album make for pleasant listening, and make the extreme passages bearable.

So if you like the Dillinger Escape Plan, but thought that they’d sound better mixed with some pop keys, jazz freestyle, and throat bleeding vocals, this is the band for you. If not, experiment at your own peril. Their brute force and progressive stylings won’t be for everyone, but for such a young band, they have an interesting future ahead of them.


Band: Rolo Tomassi
Album: Hysterics
Year: 2008
Genre: Electro pop, Psychedelia, Death and Progressive Metal
Label: Inertia
Origin: Sheffield, England


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