Tag Archives: rolo tomassi

Live Review: Holy Roar X at The Dome/Boston Music Rooms 21/5/2016

Holy Roar’s tenth birthday party took place across 2 stages at The Dome and Boston Music Rooms on the 21st of May 2016. No fewer than 18 bands played live during the day and while we would have liked to have seen all of them, there’s only so much a man can take. Regardless, this was a hugely enjoyable and celebratory event for one of the most consistent and long-lasting UK heavy music labels. So here are some thoughts on the 15 bands we managed to catch throughout the day:

What a start to the day. Helpless might only have a single EP to their name but they’re a vicious, fiery band that plays some of the tightest dark hardcore I’ve seen in years. I was instantly enthralled by Helpless and I’m looking forward to seeing where they go from here.

Next up we had some explosive and emotional young post hardcore talent in the form of Up River. There’s something very Vales and Svalbard about their music which is no bad thing as we’re treated to a passionate performance full of youthful energy. Up River are definitely a band to keep an eye on.

We’ve made our love for Eulogy very apparent on the website for quite some time now and seeing them live just solidifies exactly what we like about them. This was a brash, scrappy performance by the metallic hardcore quartet and another fantastic early set from HRX.

What’s left to say about Svalbard? They just get better every time I see them. The post hardcore band is firing on all cylinders and from the moment Serena screams, “We’re fucking Svalbard from Bristol!” they have the audience eating from the palm of their hand. Svalbard are unstoppable right now and this was another flawless performance from one of the UK’s best bands.

I don’t know if this was due to seeing them directly after one of the best sets at HRX, but Haast’s Eagled felt like a bit of a downer for me. The band make long-form, sludgy desert rock that was certainly accomplished but essentially a polar opposite to the barrage of glittery guitar melodies and blast-beats that I’d just witnessed via Svalbard. Maybe in a different environment I’d enjoy Haast’s Eagled a little better, but today was not that time.

This was our first special set of the day seeing Employed to Serve perform their debut album Greyer than You Remember in its entirety. Another Scumscene favourite, Employed to Serve basically prove to everyone in attendance why they’re the most exciting mathcore band in the country. Greyer than You Remember is an incredible record and Employed to Serve perform it with all the bile and fury you could possibly want. This was one of the best sets of the day.

My God was this a surprise. Meek is Murder are a band that has been on my radar for a while now but this is the first time I’ve seen them live and it was jaw-dropping. The band deal in some vicious, angular hardcore and their performance is about as no-nonsense as you could want. The band obliterates their set-list and put on an amazing performance to boot. If hardcore is your thing then you need to check out Meek is Murder right now.

Holy shit! The Long Haul are back for a one-off reunion show and it’s like they’ve never been away. The Long Haul still look like a band of fresh-faced hardcore upstarts and they power through their set-list with an unnerving ease. This was all over far too soon and it instantly reminded you why the band are so dearly missed.

Like Haast’s Eagled set earlier, I felt like Apologies, I Have None were battling against being a band that couldn’t really match the energy of what had come before. The pop-punk act seem like a strange fit for Holy Roar and while their bouncy emo melodies are perfectly serviceable, they just didn’t push my buttons in the way I like.

I don’t think Giants are for me. There’s nothing particularly wrong with their angst-ridden hardcore and there’s certainly a lot of crowd-killers in attendance that are loving this set, but the band didn’t feel like they were doing anything a thousand other hardcore bands have done better.

Allow me to get hyperbolic for a second; OHHMS blew me away like no other band has done since… well, probably Rolo Tomassi to be honest. The band’s psychedelic, groovy doom is heavier than a sack of breeze blocks and the quartet put on a feral performance that sees every member of the band chewing the scenery. This was a hypnotic performance that I cannot recommend enough. Go and see OHHMS live.

Another special set, Vales take to the stage to perform their debut EP Clarity for the last time. Vales are hinting a new direction for their next release which seems like an odd decision when you see how the audience hang onto every last word of the songs from Clarity. Vales clearly mean a lot to many and their explosive post hardcore is some of the best in the UK. Clarity might not be representative of the band members anymore, but you can’t deny it’s a record that exudes a youthful ambivalence to trends and gimmicks and their performance tonight bolsters that sentiment perfectly.

My notes for Slabdragger’s set simply read, “The heaviest band” and I’m quite inclined to leave it at that, but I’m not going to because I want to tell you how incredible Slabdragger are live. Fucking incredible. The room explodes as the band unleash an onslaught of monolithic riffs. Nobody can compete with Slabdragger and this was probably my favourite set from HRX. Slabdragger; you beautiful bastards.

Speaking of bastards, it’s time for Hang the Bastard to play Hellfire Reign in its entirety and with original vocalist Chris Barling making his first appearance in four years. The sludgecore giants suffer some technical difficulties throughout their set but this doesn’t bother anyone in attendance because the room felt like it might explode with the amount of energy the band were creating. I thought Hang the Bastard’s performance tonight was a bit sloppy in places but I suppose that’s to be expected when you summon a mosh-pit as violent as this.

In the words of Holy Roar’s own Alex Fitzpatrick, “Only Rolo Tomassi could headline” and he’s not wrong. The band power through a set list that sees the band cherry-pick a few songs from each of their releases in chronological order and it never lets up. Rolo Tomassi are one of the most unique and important UK mathcore bands and even if their change in sound in more recent years has polarised you, their performance tonight can’t be denied. Rolo Tomassi are still one of the most enthralling live acts around and this is a fitting end to an incredible day of music. Happy birthday, Holy Roar. Here’s to 10 more years.

News: Mammoth New Pay-What-You-Want Sampler from Smithsfoodgroup Available Now


Our friends at Smithsfoodgroup have curated an enormous 57 song sampler which you can stream and download below.

This pay-what-you-want sampler features music from Scumscene favourites Venom Prison, Svalbard, Old Skin, Ithaca, Employed to Serve, Artemis, Rolo Tomassi, Eulogy, OHHMS, Oblivionized, Yards and many, many more. This is an absolutely essential download for fans of heavy music that we cannot recommend enough. Hop to it:

Review: Rolo Tomassi’s Grievances


Rolo Tomassi have changed. I mean, of course they have; 3 of their original 5 members have left and the entirety of their rhythm section has been changed out. Their last album Astraea at least maintained the same drummer as their first 2 records but Grievances doesn’t even have this luxury.

So as you can expect the dynamic of the band has shifted significantly and this was also apparent on Astraea. Not only had the guitar work moved away from technical punk flourished with jazz in favour of a more traditional mathcore sound, but the song structures were considerably more rigid as a result. This has only become more apparent on the band’s 4th album Grievances.

Grievances follows a more solid foundation that doesn’t see the tempos change mid song like the Rolo Tomassi of old. This has the unfortunate effect of making the band more predictable. Some listeners may prefer this more focussed and direct Rolo Tomassi but for me part of the band’s appeal was always how utterly bat-shit insane their song-writing was. Grievances is tame in comparison.

Tame is a strong word. Rolo Tomassi are still a very aggressive and very progressive band with a huge sound. If you’re a fan of mathcore then songs like Estranged and The Embers will instantly appeal as they’re considerably well put together, it’s just they don’t sound like they come from the same band. It’s this notion that will greatly affect the appeal of the record. Rolo Tomassi fans of old will likely feel like something is missing while new fans will have a perfectly serviceable mathcore record to sink their teeth into.

If we take the album at face value then there is still plenty to enjoy. The guitar work is a wonderfully technical blend of dense riffs and noodly moments of guitar prowess. The drums hit you straight in the chest with a gloriously satisfying punch and the performances are tighter than a kitten stuck in a drain-pipe. Vocalist Eva Spence puts forward a dazzling display of throat-tearing aggression backed with some wonderfully introspective moments of haunting melodies. James Spence continues to move away from his chiptune-style keyboard effects in favour of more subtle sounds that help create some wonderful texture. The core mechanics of this album are expertly delivered and like I’ve already said, if you like mathcore then you can do no wrong than giving this album a listen.

But if you’re already a Rolo Tomassi fan then you’re bound to notice some of the magic has been lost. Grievances is not the frankly bizarre drug-trips of Hysterics and Cosmology and if you want to hear the band continue down that road of agitated punk crossed with jazz and chiptune sounds then you’ll be sorely disappointed. Rolo Tomassi have changed and whether that’s a good or a bad thing depends exactly on your familiarity with the band.


Rolo Tomassi’s Grievances is out now and can be ordered from Holy Roar Records.

Year End: The Top 5 Best Splits of 2014


5) Teef/Minors


A late release from Headless Guru Records, this split does not mess about. UK punk-thrashers TEEF have joined forces with American dark hardcore act Minors to deliver a 3 minute burst of pure aggression. TEEF are the sort of band that will have old school punks pogo-ing until their knees shatter and Minors conjure up memories of bands like Lavotchkin and End Reign which is nothing but a good thing. It might be short but it’s perfectly formed.

4) War Wolf/Crossburner


What we said:

“War Wolf and Crossburner have delivered an EP that will satisfy hardcore fans the world over. This is a seriously strong collection of tunes that deserve your attention despite some small grievances with over-familiarity in War Wolf’s case and not enough time being spent driving home the strong melodies in Crossburner’s arsenal. If you’re a fan of the genre you’re still in for an absolute treat.”

Read the full review by clicking here.

3) Rolo Tomassi/Stockades


What we said:

“Rolo Tomassi might be losing their more unpredictable and progressive elements, but songs like Adrasteia prove the band are still an engaging mathcore band even when they’re playing things a little more straight forward.

Stockades offer up a lovely little progressive screamo anthem and it beautifully flows through its various riffs and melodies with ease. It’s still early days for these boys but it would appear they’ve already nailed and extremely accomplished sound that I’ll be paying some serious attention to from here on.”

Read the full review by clicking here.

2) Oblivionized and Razoreater – This is S.O.A.N.


What we said:

“Oblivionized and Razoreater are champions of the UK underground music scene and this recording showcases exactly what’s so great about going to a dirty club show and getting your mosh on. This release is also accompanied by a live video recording of both band’s sets which is essential viewing if you’ve ever cared about the long lost art of the concert film.”

Read the full review by clicking here.

1) Pariso/Svalbard


What we said:

“Regardless of the fact that the amalgamation comes off more as Pariso instead of Pariso and Svalbard, this collaborative album is an incredibly special release from two very unique bands. Pariso’s heavier yet more metal-laden beginning leads into a more positive and melodic second half courtesy of Svalbard that actually feels like the album takes you on a journey through the dark and into the light. This split actually tries to break down the boundaries of the split record concept by showcasing two bands that are very much on the same page regardless of their differences in sound. This could have been a Loutallica but thankfully it’s a wholesome and focussed release that any fan of heavy music should be listening to.”

Read the full review by clicking here.

Review: Rolo Tomassi/Stockades Split


We’re bending the rules a bit by reviewing a split record featuring Australian screamo band Stockades, but this split also features Sheffield mathcore luminaries Rolo Tomassi and it was released via UK label Tangled Talk Records so shut up; it totally counts.


Rolo Tomassi went through a slight stylistic shift on their last album Astraea which can only be down to the change of guitarist and bassist. When Joe Nicholson and Joseph Thorpe left the band, the band also lost their jazzier elements and the multiple changes in time signature weren’t nearly as prevalent on Astraea.

This hasn’t changed on Rolo Tomassi’s Adrasteia. New guitarist Chris Cayford and bassist Nathan Fairweather still favour a more metallic mathcore sound akin to that of The Dillinger Escape Plan and the addition of new drummer Tom Pitts also leads to a more frantic and double-bass-heavy performance.

The big change is that Adrasteia features a considerably larger amount of memorable riffs and melodies which was something that was lacking on Astraea. This is a precision attack on the aural sense and despite the technicality there is an obvious improvement in song-writing.

There’s also brilliant use of the quiet/loud dynamic. The song begins with a technically proficient mathcore opening before the song takes a breather in its middle eight to lure you into a gentle yet eerie keyboard-lead section. The song is then bookended by an almighty beast of a riff that is bound to ignite some serious mosh pits.

Rolo Tomassi might be losing their more unpredictable and progressive elements, but songs like Adrasteia prove the band are still an engaging mathcore band even when they’re playing things a little more straight forward. Adrasteia is also notable for being one of the heaviest songs the band has produced so far and that’s fine by me.



Melbourne’s Stockades offer a very different listening experience. The band are just as much of a fan of the quiet/loud dynamic as Rolo Tomassi but their brighter, jangly guitar tone is more reminiscent of bands like Maths.

The more delicate opening of Unfix leads the listener into a false sense of security before the song speeds up for a blistering screamo section. It’s a glorious cacophony of abrasive noise that leads to an early crescendo before the song dials it back for another shift in tone.

After an almost relaxing section of glittery guitar worship, it’s back to another mammoth chord-driven section that is bizarrely euphoric in its loudness. It’s moments like these that remind us of bands like Self Defence Family and Goodtime Boys which is no bad thing by any stretch of the imagination.

Stockades offer up a lovely little progressive screamo anthem and it beautifully flows through its various riffs and melodies with ease. It’s still early days for these boys but it would appear they’ve already nailed and extremely accomplished sound that I’ll be paying some serious attention to from here on.


Rolo Tomassi and Stockades’ split is available to purchase on 7″ vinyl from Tangled Talk Records now.

Our Picks for Catbird’s Sunday Roasting on Bloodstock Radio (08/12/2013)

We returned to actually host Catbird’s Sunday Roasting alongside James Begley of Hybris on the 8th of December 2013 while Catbird is away for a few weeks. Below is a list of our picks for the show and links to online stores that allow you to purchase the releases they are featured on. We thoroughly recommend you scope out the bands we featured as we truly believe they are some of the best UK rock and metal artists doing the rounds:

Hold Your Horse Is – The Exit (buy here)
Dinosaur Pile-Up – Start Again (buy here)
Rolo Tomassi – Old Mystics (buy here)
Malefice – V (buy here)
Carcass – No Love Lost (buy here)
Gallows – Last June (buy here)
Iron Monkey – House Anxiety (buy here)
Bovine – Thank Fuck I Ain’t You (buy here)

If you missed the show then don’t forget to catch the repeat of Catbird’s Sunday Roasting on Bloodstock Radio at 12pm on Wednesdays.

Don’t forget that on the 22nd of December, Jamie Lenman will be in the studio for an interview and a live acoustic session.

Music Video: Rolo Tomassi’s Ex Luna Scientia

Rolo Tomassi have dropped a music video for ‘Ex Luna Scientia’, the first taster of what their new album ‘Astraea’ will sound like. Check it out below if cardboard puppets who destroy dinosaurs with their riffs sounds like something you want to watch:

‘Astraea’ will be released on Rolo Tomassi’s own Destination Moon Records on the 5th of November 2012. Get pumped.

News: Rolo Tomassi Announced 3rd Album Title & Release Date

Rolo Tomassi are back. The mathcore loonies who have been recently joined by Chris Cayford and Nathan Fairweather (replacing Joseph Thorpe and Joe Nicholson) are to return with a third album called ‘Astraea’ on November 5th. It will be released through their own label Destination Moon.

Check out the complete track list:

01 Howl
02 Ex Luna Scientia
03 The Scales of Balance
04 Remancer
05 Empiresk
06 Prelude II (Echolalia)
07 Echopraxia
08 Gloam
09 Illunis
10 Illuminare

Rolo Tomassi will also be going on a headline tour in October with support coming from Oathbreaker and Goodtime Boys

Bristol Fleece (21)
Brighton Haunt (22)
Nottingham Rescue Rooms (23)
Birmingham Rainbow (24)
Leeds Cockpit (25)
Middlesbrough Sumo (26)
Manchester Deaf Institute (27)
Glasgow King Tuts Wah Wah Hut (28)
Norwich Arts Centre (30)
London XOYO (31)

Check out Old Mystics below, the first song featuring Rolo Tomassi’s current lineup:

[Source: Punktastic]

News: Some Arsehole Stole From Rolo Tomassi

Rolo Tomassi have revealed that this morning their van was broken into and someone has managed to get away with all of Eva Spence’s Night of the Living Thread merch money. This is obviously quite a big blow for the band as one of any bands main forms of income is through their merch.

If you want to help support the band you can place an order for something through the Night of the Living thread webstore. It’s such a massive shame that people are low enough to steal from bands but it’s a reality that too many bands have had to endure.

News: Battle For Paris to Release Debut Album April 16th

UK mathcore loonies Battle For Paris are finally releasing their debut album after a 3 year gap between their last release, 2009’s ‘With a Gun Between Your Teeth, You Only Speak In Vowels’.

The album will be titled ‘Superstar’ and will release on April 16th through Tangled Talk Records. Fans of Rolo Tomassi and Rosa Valle should feel right at home. The band will also set out on tour with The Long Haul to promote the album but dates haven’t been announced at this time.

‘Fuck Your Deja Vu’ from ‘With a Gun Between Your Teeth, You Only Speak In Vowels’

[Source: Different People]