Rolo Tomassi // Pupil Slicer // Heriot // Live Review // The Fleece // Bristol

HERIOT

The opening minute or so of Heriot’s set feels like receiving a chest massage from my washing machine when it’s set to spin. It’s almost too powerful for words. There’s more on offer from this Swindon foursome than straight blastbeats however, something evidenced by vocalist and guitarist Debbie Gough showing the kind of dexterity across the fretboard that’s been earning praise from on high, with Lamb of God’s Mark Morton already a fan.

Upcoming EP Profound Morality forms the basis of a snarling performance which only helps to cement Heriot’s reputation as one of the UK metal scene’s heaviest newcomers – the bottom string of Jake Packer’s bass is enough to send a seismologist scrambling, and although they’re only with us for half an hour, Heriot give plenty to reward an almost full venue for making the effort to get down early. Treat yourself and keep an eye out for them at this year’s Download Festival.

Jake Packer (bass/vox)

Erhan Alman (guitar)

Julian Gage (drums)

Debbie Gough (guitar/vox)

 

PUPIL SLICER

 

Tonight’s support bill is a strong one. Pupil Slicer are another band tipped for great things this year as they build on a positive reception to 2021’s Mirrors LP, and as they launch into opener Martyrs little doubt lingers as to why. These guys can change pace at a flash, stretching the air in the room one moment, shaking the walls in the next, and altering what you thought you knew of time in the process. New single Thermal Runway takes everything you ever loved about Dillinger and Converge and distills it into a 4-minute fresh take on all things metal and math and ending in core, its angular riffs jarring beautifully as its energy infects a receptive room.

Whilst I wouldn’t recommend going to see Pupil Slicer if you need to have your cataracts removed, I do recommend that you at least give them the opportunity to scramble your brain. They’ll be back in the West Country for ArcTanGent in August.

Kate Davies (guitar/vox)

Luke Fabian (bass)

Frank Muir (guitar)

Josh Andrews (drums)

 

 

ROLO TOMASSI

The last time I saw Rolo Tomassi, they were laying siege to a mud-clad festival tent in the summer of 2015. Seven years later, and three years on from their last tour in those long-lost pre-pandemic times, it’s amazing to see they’ve not lost an ounce of the energy that’s always made them a highlight of the touring calendar. They begin ferociously, the gigantic opening riff of Cloaked sends out a shockwave that triggers a transformation, a room gripped with anticipation is sent into a fervour, and bodies begin to move en masse.

Tonight’s set is comprised entirely of songs from the recently released Where Myth Becomes a Memory and 2018’s Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It, and as they crisscross the bridge between the two Rolo Tomassi illustrate their ability to find new directions in which to take their sound. Mutual Ruin and To Resist Forgetting both stand out as examples of dynamic writing at its best, crushing, corrugated shredding giving way to soothing, ethereal piano and vocals, each section stitched tightly together with a rhythmic complexity that sends the head into a giddy spin. Closer takes another turn as uplifting sweeping soundscapes lead the crowd smoothly into The Hollow Hour, building until a capricious switch back to breakneck speed sends the pit into a fresh whirl.

As the night closes with eight-minute-epic A Flood Of Light, both band and audience seem to be making the most of their reunion. Rolo Tomassi bring the room back down to earth and express a heartfelt show of gratitude that’s reflected by those happy to be receiving a first fix in three long years.

Eva Korman (vox)

James Spence (keys, vox)

Chris Cayford (guitar)

Nathan Fairweather (bass)

Al Pott (drums)

 

Review & Photography: Rob Carmier

 

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