March 30, 2011 by Dan Swinhoe
While I may be cynical and the word count for Djent pieces has gone through the roof in the last couple months (everyone from The Guardian to Terrorizer have devoted space to it) and it does seem to coincide very well, there is something impressive happening in the underground.
Opener Lament is a testament to that. Beautiful, melodic, heavy and technical as hell all within the space of five minutes. Daniel Tompkins vocals are impressive, hauntingly soft yet alb to scream and bark in the same breath. One song in and the hype seems justified.
For those not in the know, Djent is based on the scary and technical sounds of Meshuggah and Devin Townsend, with things like Polyrhythmic drum patterns and more strings on a guitar than most people have teeth. If it didn’t have such a cool name Technical Metalcore or Melodic technical death metal have been thrown around.
First single Nascent fits the bill just right. A loud/quiet dynamic, dark and brooding with a heavy atmosphere. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, much like the rest of the album. The songs rarely stay still long enough to let you settle down, but the songs never feel cluttered.
From having such a narrow set of idols to take influence from, a lot of Djent bands sound very similar to one another, but Tesseract have two very useful elements in their favour: Great forward-thinking songwriting and a genuinely talented vocalist.
Tompkins melodies follow in a similar vein to Linkin Park or Deftones, but his ability to show his whole range without a second thought is impressive. The amount of great British vocalists coming through right now is a great thing to see.
Anyone unfamiliar to this band will be impressed, long-time fans might be disappointed with the tracklisting. The entire of the last years Concealing Fate E.P. is present on the album, book-ended by new tracks. It seems a bit lazy but exposes more people to the older material and shows how the band have already progressed in such a short space of time.
Acceptance and The Impossible, along with the rest of the E.P. are just as complicated and accessible as the newer tracks, and every other track has potential for a single. It feels familiar in the Nu-Metal and more Post-hardcore elements but lets loose with time changes and the musical ability that the Fred Dursts, Chester Beddingfields and Gerrard Ways could never reach.
For a debut album its hard to ask for much more. It’s not perfect, the melody is piled on thick on the last couple of tracks, and while the soaring notes and guitar work go nicely, it loses the sense of urgency that draws you in at the start.
iTunes bonus track Hollow is worth tracking down if you buy this on CD. It’s another impressive mix of melody and frantic drumming that should have been included on every version.
TesseracT have a lot of potential: To make great music now, and even better music in the future, to sell shiploads of records, and maybe even lead the Djent movement into the mainstream and start something special. As a rule you shouldn’t believe the hype, but Tesseract are something that might live up to it.