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.