Have you heard of The Oval Space? A multi-purpose blank canvas space in the heart of Bethnal Green, East London. It’s not a common location for live rock and metal music but tonight it is playing host to a UK line-up that will make you salivate.
Post-hardcore, mathcore, progressive and experimental rock band, Rolo Tomassi with support coming from mathcore, deathgrind and powerviolence band, Pupil Slicer and experimental mathcore newcomers, Heriot.
Those who got down early, are the ones that get to experience Heriot in all their glory as they’re on stage soon after doors open. A slight delay outside and a slow-moving entry system means the venue is barely half-full by time the band take the stage but has filled out nicely by time they reach the end of their set. Part of that crowd-growth comes from just how intensely captivating Heriot are. Delivering a measured and precise expulsion of heaviness that gets a huge reaction.
The sound inside the Oval Space is pretty much spot on and something that is super-important to making Heriot a thrilling listen. The nuances in their music, the shifts and switches, it’s all clear amongst a barrage of heavy noise. They might be the first band on, but they deliver a set that screams headliner. Watch out for Heriot, they looked like they belonged, and you can tell they’re only going to get better and better.
A band that slays on any stage they are put on, Pupil Slicer are up there quickly and do not hang about diving straight into their brand of heavy music. Whereas Heriot appeared more measured, Pupil Slicer are unhinged and wild to the eyes and ears. It’s chaotic, shocking a few attendees who had come along only knowing Rolo Tomassi, but in a good way. The venue is starting to feel packed out (it must have been very close to selling out) and that allows Pupil Slicer’s meaty barrage to reverberate.
This is a killer showing from the band, coming off the back of an excellent album in ‘Mirrors’ and the new single ‘Thermal Runaway’. The latter of which does sound immense in the live environment. It’s over so quickly it seems, even though the band pack their set with banger after banger.
Very few bands could follow both Heriot and Pupil Slicer but Rolo Tomassi are not your average band and this is not their first rodeo. They’re headliners for a reason, out in support of their excellent new album, Where Myth Becomes Memory. A big build up that has bass sending shockwaves through the body and a subtle light show, the explosion of noise that erupts from the crowd when Rolo Tomassi take the stage is immense. They’ve spent many years building up this fanbase and after so long without live music, everyone is eating up everything the group do.
A wonderfully refined showcase of heavy, wild, and entrancing noise. The melodic drops, isolated vocals, effects, and more cause as much ripples of energy as the blasts of metal. Rolo Tomassi proving that they are only getting stronger, especially coming off the back of the well-received new album. Plenty of songs from that album are aired tonight and fit in seamlessly with classic Rolo tracks. It’s a setlist focused on the now rather than the past, which, when you consider the support who have been on tour with them, makes so much sense. Rolo Tomassi might be the ‘elders’ of this trio but they’re more than capable of keeping up.
This is one of those rare occasions were differentiating between the bands for arbitrary score reasons is near impossible. Each band did brilliantly, regardless of if they were playing for an hour or half an hour. It was just a great night of modern metal music.
Rolo Tomassi with Pupil Slicer & Heriot - The Oval Space, London (24/02/22)
Rolo Tomassi - 9/10
Pupil Slicer - 9/10
Heriot - 9/10