Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It was definitely one of the most loved albums of 2018, at least in the more hardcore/metal adjacent territories. Justifiably so too, it’s a spectacular album and it raised the bar for Rolo Tomassi’s craft a whole lot. I suspect that many people, as well as us, had a fair deal of excitement but also skepticism and reticence towards the possibility of Where Myth Becomes Memory being anywhere near as good. Today Rodrigo and myself will be digging a little into Rolo Tomassi’s newest album. Without further ado, you can check out our discussion below.
Robert: Hey Rodrigo, what’s up?
Rodrigo: Hey Rob, I just finished work and I’m ready to dive into this. Will you take the lead?
Robert: Sure, I honestly wasn’t expecting Rolo Tomassi to return with a follow up to Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It so soon, but at the same time it’s been too long since we heard new material. Certain expectations have definitely been met while others not so much, in regards to the overall finished product. Looking at the entire affair as a whole I’m more than satisfied and I mark this as a win for the band. What do you think?
Rodrigo: To be completely honest with you, Rob, I kind of shelved this band, even though their previous release was a massive win for them and metal. Why did I do that? I’m not so sure, but, you know, I’m glad I did. Re-listening to Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It was a stellar experience, showcasing the quality of the music.
When you take a break and then go back to a specific album, you can assess their transcendence, and Rolo Tomassi set the bar really high the last time. I still haven’t decided whether their new one stands right there or falls a little bit short. In any case, it’s worth the spin and the love.
Robert: You know, I’ve been following them since Astraea, but right before Grievances came out, so around seven-ish years ago. I was surprised to where things went on Grievances, but I never paid close attention to the band until Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It. That record really struck me hard. I remember even now preordering the vinyl after hearing only whichever was the only single available at the time.
I even got the chance to see them play in my town, it was the last gig I went to before this shitty pandemic rolled over. Cryptodira opened for them and the entire gig was awesome, in spite of the weak setup the venue had and it being packed to the absolute brim. It was an enlightening experience to see the band play on stage. They really played well into how I envisioned their stage personas and their overall energy and delivery.
After listening to Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It so many times up to now, I expected that regardless what the new album will be like, I wouldn’t be able to shrug off the bias. Surprisingly enough, this wasn’t an issue whatsoever. I think that a big part of what helped, as I see it, is how “Almost Always” is practically an alternate take of the territory occupied by “Towards Dawn” and “Aftermath” as an album opener and I love it for that.
Rodrigo: Ah, that’s so cool that you got to see them live! Many times, a show like that can seal the love for a band, independently of other circumstances.
As for me, Rolo Tomassi fell on my way as I read through our 2018 AOTY list. The hype was real, and justified. Lacking the live experience potentially narrows my perspective a bit, given that you might connect with that moment as you listen to the new material. Thus, I would comprehend if there was a bias on your side, and it’d be fine, too.
Now, getting my hands on Where Myth Becomes Memory, there’s something you mentioned I think we’ll both agree upon. That being, how this album irradiates similar vibes to its predecessor. Not only in style, but also in content. As you pointed out, “Almost Always” resembles “Aftermath” in a way, and that’s interesting to say the least.
Robert: Indeed. Also, I feel like the level and depth of dynamic between the softer parts and the harder hitting parts retained a similar ratio when compared to Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It. While, at the same time, going in a more refined manner, harder into the mathcore leanings with a certain straightforwardness reminiscent of proper modern metalcore.
The thing which I think gives them part of their hallmark timbre, the layered, wall-of-sound-esque post metal laced vibe on top of their specific blend, is still there and further explored. If I didn’t like it so much and it wasn’t pulled off so well, I’d probably fault it for being redundant.
The other thing that really popped to me is how Eva Korman’s vocal delivery is more unhinged and as crisp as ever when attempting to sound like a banshee or a demon, all while sounding as angelic as ever when singing through the clean shoegazey parts.
Rodrigo: Is it true, yes. The overall dynamic range has been stretched out for the better, pushing for more extremity while also laying back to charming softness.
Speaking of their musical footprint, I think we need to state something we may consider obvious. We’re talking about a band that has differentiated themselves from the average post-metal acts, standing above firmly. That being said, this album transmits that confidence and allows for larger exploration, all within the realms of their current sound.
Eva Korman’s delivery on this record is just stunning. Many of her clean vocals took me back to Lee Douglas’ performance on Anathema’s The Optimist. I see Eva Korman shaping her role, such as to further incorporating clean lines into their tracks. They really work and they fit just right. Harsh vocals also play their part well, completing the edginess of their sound.
The choice for singles was on point too. “Closer” and “Drip” are the two tracks that provide the perfect combination to what this album is about. They set the expectations in the correct way.
Robert: Yeah, actually, for once I agree with a band’s decision on what the singles should be. They really did pick them well. We got just enough of an idea of what to expect, but they didn’t lead with the aces to spoil anything.
They’re definitely continuing to establish their specific sound, which elevates them well above most genre-bending bands. At the time, when Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It came out, I felt like that was their peak. Partially I still sort of adhere to that, and consider that Where Myth Becomes Memory is a continuation of said peak.
I am rather skeptic as to how well they will stick to their guns. I’ve seen quite a few bands reach similar points in their careers, only to then basically have their musical output turn to dust. I suspect that the follow up to Where Myth Becomes Memory will be either an absolute masterpiece, transcending genres even further, or it will be an absolute flop. I obviously hold hope for the former, but history tells us it’s statistically the latter. Let’s hope I’m wrong in my suspicion.
Rodrigo: That’s a fear we share, man. Where Myth Becomes Memory sheds brilliance to a diamond, we know can go rusty. We’ve seen it so many times, and for some reason I believe Rolo Tomassi will endure. How or when, I’m not the one to tell. If everything goes sideways, at least we’re left with forty-eight intense minutes of impeccable material. Have you decided yet on a favorite track?
Robert: Absolutely. Honestly, it’s really hard to say I have a favorite, or a number one, but among the parts I listened to the most on repeat while mowing through the contents of the album were: the intro to “Mutual Rain” which is just madly catchy, obviously “Almost Always”, and the crazy groovy “Prescience”, which just fucks so hard!
These are easily the highlights of the record to me, in no particular order to be perfectly honest. It’s basically impossible to rank this stuff. Also, while I’m on the whole ‘being honest’ schtick, I have to say, there’s a lot more memorable stuff this time around than on Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It. There’s also something about the catchy parts of the record that makes them really stand out and feel refreshing, while the harder hitting parts have something visceral and volatile in them, as if they’re alive. What’s your take on this side of things?
Rodrigo: I agree. Compared to the last album, this one has greater individual standouts. The ones you mentioned are quite memorable tracks. But, again, this is a characteristic of the entire record. You could drop any song into a shuffle playlist and it will stand its ground. This connects to the confidence I sense in the band’s own craft.
Since you’ve picked songs that span from the first three quarters of the album, I’ll go with the closing track “The End of Eternity”. It’s got the energy and sentiment an epic closer needs to have. It has to be glorious, so that when silence strikes after the last note, your mind fades back to reality wondering where you’ve been for the past hour. This song nails it.
I could keep on going and seek for the best riffs, or best vocal line, but I really don’t want to spoil much. This album needs to be heard by the entire metal community, and let them have their own conclusions. I only have words of praise, alongside those that voice some concern as well. As mentioned before, I don’t see a clear path moving forward. I’m not sure how much musical vocabulary was left unexplored. We’ll have to sit back and enjoy Where Myth Becomes Memory as much as we can, just in case…
Robert: I wholeheartedly agree. Although, I’d personally rephrase that sentence to, like, having most, if not all fans of forward-thinking music hit up Where Myth Becomes Memory. It’s definitely something worth checking out and will surely send many listeners on journeys of musical discovery.
Rolo Tomassi prove to us that they are a force to be reckoned with, while also showcasing a tender side, as soft as they are simply hardcore. This kind of duality is rarely found in such a compelling manner in bands, nor do I see it often so neatly articulated at a musical level.
Even if, God forbid, they ruin their streak, we’ll always cherish their magnum opuses, as they’ll never leave their respective pedestals. Considering most bands’ streaks, it’s amazing as it is that they managed to slap one massive win back-to-back with another.