TesseracT, an English "djent" progressive metal band, released their full-length debut, titled "One," in 2011 after a string of EPs.
TesseracT was formed in 2003 by guitarist and songwriter Acle Kahney while in his previous band Fellsilent. After building an online reputation on SevenString guitar forums, he was joined by drummer Jamie Postones, guitarist James Monteith, bassist Amos Williams, and temporary vocalist Juilien Perier. Perier left as he was living in France and could not commit to the band full-time, as was replaced by Abisola Obasanya. With this lineup, the band recorded a three song demo. In 2009 the band parted with Obasanya, and was joined by vocalist Daniel Tompkins. This lineup released the "Concealing Fate" EP, which was a 20+ minute song in six tracks, which was warmly praised. In 2011, they released their full length debut entitled "One." Does the full-length follow through with the hype, or does it disappoint? Read on to find out.
The album follows through with the style that was set on previous releases. The sound could be described as a mixture of Meshuggah, for the polyrhythms and heavy riffs, and Karnivool, for the ambient atmospheres incorporated into progressive rock/metal. Kahney and Monteith both perform solid complex polyrhythms while contrasting with the soft moments. Williams stands out in particular in that he combines finger picking with slap bass, giving the band's sound another unique element. Postones plays excellent patterns and follows Kahney and Monteith's rhythms very well. Towering over everything else, however, is vocalist Tompkins. While he makes very limited use of harsh vocals, his higher-registered clean singing shows his potential as a singer. Being able to shout to the heavier moments while soaring to the skies during the atmospheric moments show he is a versatile singer.
"Lament" opens with a fade in, followed by Tompkins' soaring vocals, with a bassline flowing into a heavier polyrhythmic riff under Tompkins' screaming.
"April," which was given a lyric video available for viewing on Century Media's YouTube channel, starts with atmospheric clean riffs. With strained vocals over a slap bassline, the song is more mellow than the others on the album, while still incorporating the heavy Meshuggah-inspired riffs.
"Eden" is the longest track on the album, at over nine minutes. The song contains the best elements of what makes the album as good as it is, and amplifies it. With Tompkins' emotional vocals, Williams' funk-style bass, Kahney and Monteith's heavy yet atmospheric riffs, and Postones' complex rhythms, it is a song to be listened to on repeat as it mesmerizes you.
The holy grail of the release is the 27 minute epic "Concealing Fate." Divided into six tracks, each piece takes you on a rollercoaster.
Part I. Acceptance: Opens with a clean atmospheric riff before slamming you with a polyrhythm with screamed vocals from both Tompkins and Williams. It features more start-stop riffs interloped with slap bass and Tompkins' powerful vocals.
Part II. Deception: Continues where Acceptance left off, it plummets into a barrage of double bass and riffs with Tompkins belting "Sooooooooooooooooo my demooooooooooooooons yourrrrrrrrrrrr time has coooooooooooooooome." This is followed by more polyrhythms and powerful vocals and will sure to be stuck in your head.
Part III. Impossible: Opens with yet more heavy riffs, this time with Tompkins singing emotional lyrics over the atmosphere and the second part of the track references Deception, as it is yet a continuation of the song.
Part IV. Perfection: A brief two minute continuation of Impossible. Features Tompkins singing yet more strained and emotional lyrics that really strike home for many people.
Part V. Epiphany: A one minute instrumental complete with the riffage commonly associated with "djent."
Part VI. Origin: The final part, opening with more clean notes followed by Tompkins singing over slapped basslines. Yet more emotional lyrics (which is the common theme to this song, feelings of despair, longing for the past, etc.), and finishing with a crunchy riff that ends the song on a triumphant high note.
While TesseracT is commonly lumped in with djent, I personally believe it is mere pigeonholing. TesseracT has much more to offer than mere Meshuggah worship, as they have a sound of their own. They are simply progressive metal.
To conclude, "One" is an excellent debut by a great band, and is definitely worth looking into. This release gets my highest recommendation. For fans of Meshuggah, Karnivool, Periphery, Textures, Porcupine Tree, even Pink Floyd, and general fans of progressive metal and progressive rock.