Monday, April 4, 2011

Tesseract - One

Century Media Records/E.M.I. Music Australia

Despite the hype that has surrounded U.K. based outfit Tesseract over the years, and the growing legion of fans the Milton Keyes band has built up in that time through rigorous touring (Including tours with Devin Townsend, Periphery and Monuments), it’s taken a long time for the young five piece outfit to release anything official.
But after some line-up changes (The band is currently made up of vocalist Dan Tompkins, guitarists Acle Kahney and James Monteith, bassist/vocalist Amos Williams and drummer Jay Postones) and a delay in the album’s scheduled release date (Century Media Records put the initial release of the album back in order to put in a worthy promotional campaign behind the album), Tesseract have finally unveiled their debut full-length effort ‘One’.
Heralded as one of the leaders within the underground ‘djent’ movement (A term coined by Meshuggah guitarist Fredrik Thordendal to describes the band’s heavily palm-muted, distorted guitar chord sound), I was expecting big things from ‘One’. And after giving the album plenty of time to be fully absorbed, I can honestly say that the band have delivered on their initial promise.
As you would expect of any band associated with the ‘djent’ movement, Tesseract isn’t all that far removed from Meshuggah in the sound sense. But unlike some acts, while the association between the two acts is evident, Tesseract have managed to broaden their sound out enough to stand out against their obvious influences, which gives ‘One’ a familiar and yet unique sound.
The first song on the album ‘Lament’ pretty much eases the listener in with its ambient introduction of keyboards and soft layering of choral voices. It isn’t until about a minute and a half in that the band really gets things underway, with their heavy off-kilter rhythmic patterns combined with haunting clean vocals and captivating melodies.
The follow-up track ‘Nascent’ leans more towards the aggressive side of the band’s progressive sound, but with the clean vocals maintaining a presence throughout. The contrast of heavy progressive riff and Meshuggah/Tool-like rhythms alongside huge melodic vocal contributions isn’t necessarily all that new or cutting edge, but somehow Tesseract make it sound captivating, which isn’t always the case for most who attempt to achieve the same effect.
The six tracks that follow are the tracks that made up the band’s limited edition ‘Concealing Fate’ E.P. from last year. Comprising of one track split into six movements, ‘Concealing Fate’ has plenty of changes in moods and tempos throughout its duration, with the thrash-like ‘Deception’, the short and complex instrumental piece ‘Epiphany’ and the climatic conclusion ‘Origin’ the real stand out moments.
Those familiar with the band’s former E.P. will recognise the changes the band have undergone in the last year sound wise with the album’s addition of new tracks. And the best example of the band’s progression in sound can be heard in ‘Sunrise’, where the heavier musical and vocal moments are thrashed out with even greater aggression that previously heard, while the melodic clean vocals take on a far greater role in the grand schemes of the band’s overall song writing.
‘April’ takes the lead laid down on the former to even greater lengths, with the ambient elements given a larger platform over the heavier sounds, while the album closer ‘Eden’ sees the band combine the many sides of their sound together into the one track, which easily allows the song to stand out as one of the more memorable efforts on the album.
While I’m not a huge fan of the ‘djent’ movement (How many Meshuggah sounding/influenced bands does one really need when the real thing still exists?), I found enough to enjoy on Tesseract debut ‘One’, and proclaim them as an act to keep an eye on in the future.

For more information on Tesseract, check out -

© Justin Donnelly