Rolo Tomassi’s 2018 album, ‘Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It,’ isn’t just one of my favourite records of the 2010s, it’s also one of my favourite albums of all time. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve thought about it, listened to it, and discussed it at length with friends also in the know of just how perfect it is. So you can probably imagine the kind of trembling anxiety coursing through me right before hitting play on Rolo Tommasi’s first new song since that masterpiece of a record three years ago, ‘Cloaked.’
I don’t really know where to begin with ‘Cloaked.’ It’s partly what I expected from the U.K. group, but also different in other aspects. It’s not quite as batshit insane, as technical or as experimental as previous material, but it fully lands all of the emotionally resonant, structurally dynamic and tonally melodic beats that I’ve come to expect and love out of Rolo Tomassi’s music. It’s got the genre-blending and big mood shifts that embody their sound. Ultimately, it’s a very well-balanced piece for them, and in an obviously biased manner, I enjoy it more and more with each subsequent listen.
So let’s break it down. We’ve got the discordant metalcore energy of its verses, the kind this band pulls off very well. There’s some real prog-metal heaviness in the instrumental, namely in those goddamn djenty-as-shit riffs from Chris Cayford. James Spence’s progressive-sounding synthesisers wonderfully dot the composition throughout, a true staple of the Rolo Tomassi sound. This is also new drummer Al Pott’s first proper release with the band, with drummer Tom Pitts leaving back in 2018, and Al keeps up with the rest of the crew and bassist Nathan Fairweather beautifully – his frenetic percussion in the verses is pretty killer. And of course, Eva Korman’s talented vocal portrayals of light-bathed, uplifting singing and her feral blackened screams are all on-point.
Seemingly acting as a thematic follow up to the sentiments of ‘Time Will Die…‘, there’s a real lyrical honesty driving this new Rolo song forward. With a quick glance at the lyrics, ‘Cloaked‘ is clearly about enduring pain, loss and/or trauma, of internal reflection; to bend instead of breaking. Eva Korman even bluntly ponders “Is it too much to live with this?” during the track’s time-freezing choruses, to personally deal and live with what’s being “cloaked” from view.
By the time the Sheffield five-piece arrive at that glorious, heavenly crescendo come 3:07, I’m left feeling terribly excited for how Rolo’s next album – due sometime later in 2021, which could be called ‘Becomes Memory‘ – will turn out. Stay tuned.