03. The Impossible
[Century Media | 10/12/10]
It’s been a long time coming for UK progressive metal band Tesseract, who have been working on their debut album One for fucking ever, it seems. After some tears were shed over Century Media pushing One back to 2011, Tesseract were all “awww hell naw” and pushed for the release of Concealing Fate, a 27-minute epic broken up into six tracks. Thankfully, Century Media gave the EP the go-ahead and now our first complete taste of Tesseract is upon us. It may be saying too much too soon, but it definitely looks like One will be worth all the wait.
Tesseract play a brand of djent, combining ambient elements and delicately played clean layers over top of the stuttering and stabbing rhythms set in place by Meshuggah and SikTh. The difference is, the music feels much more lush and organic, setting themselves apart from the very mechanical sounding contemporaries in Periphery who follow a similar formula. While the melodic djent thing isn’t new, Tesseract manage to sound unique and fresh, thanks to the atmospheres and singing.
The vocal work on Concealing Fate is superb, sounding like a much more competent and versatile Chester Bennington (meaning no disrespect, I absolutely love his singing voice.) The soaring vocal melodies and lyrics will definitely embed themselves in your memory. The screaming vocals are few and far between, but when they show up, they are in the right place and sound, once again, like Chester Bennington and maybe a touch of Chad Gray back when he could still scream worth a damn.
The guitar work is split between the dry and low polyrhythmic chugs and clean and melodic layering for ambiance. These two styles fit together in perfect harmony and create some wonderful soundscapes and textures. The bass is also very present in the mix, which is an added touch of brilliance. You can hear it slapping and popping along throughout the EP, even taking a few moments here and there to be the focal point of the music from time to time. Listen to “The Impossible”, and you’ll catch it. Oh, and the drumming is actually real, which is a nice change of pace for a genre that likes to program everything or play it through an electronic kit. This is one of the contributing factors for the album not sounding like an overproduced machine.
As for the musical composition, Concealing Fate does feel like one song and flows through tracks logically when things take a change in pace or theme. What strikes me as a brilliant move is the closing track “Origin” features some of the same lyrics and melodies heard in the opener “Acceptance,” adding continuity to the whole piece and wrapping everything up in one package. They weren’t bullshitting us. This whole thing is one song.
The only thing I don’t like about Concealing Fate is that the guitarists never take a place in the spotlight to do solos or play any leads, sticking to mainly rhythm and layering, which is an interesting move. They definitely make it work though, as their actual composing and songwriting skills don’t make it a necessity. Tesseract can definitely demand the attention of the listener without having to drop a solo every few minutes. This is a mixed bag for me, but it’s nothing to dwell on. They know what they’re doing.
With the release of Concealing Fate, Tesseract have moved out of the periphery (no pun intended) and into focus. If Tesseract can come up with this great music in the course of a 27-minute song, I wonder what they can come up with through a whole album’s worth of music. One will be epic.