Review Summary: Djent djent djent djent... Okay, sorry. But seriously, there's no denying it: TesseracT are pioneering the development of a new movement, and it's simply outstanding.
Djent. An unusual name for a genre, to say the least. However, despite the questionable terminology utilised by its proprietors, this is - without a doubt - one of the best sounds I have ever heard, and one of the most interesting new developments in the international metal scene in a long while.
For those that aren't already aware of their backstory, TesseracT are a fast-rising progressive metal band native to my own homeland, the United Kingdom. They contain one ex-member from the experimental metalcore group Fellsilent, a now-defunct band who arguably helped to establish the 'djent' style.
TesseracT, like their fellow 'djentlemen' (I'm sorry, I promise I won't use that word again) Periphery, take the bombastic, progressive guitar style of the subgenre's forefathers Meshuggah and combine it with elements of post-hardcore, math metal and experimental rock - as well as a multi-layered electronic atmosphere - creating a unique, creative, yet highly accessible style. This new subgenre successfully maintains artistic integrity and innovation, yet has undeniable newcomer appeal and mainstream potential.
However, TesseracT greatly tone down the 'core' elements - a flaw common in their peers - in favour of soaring, ethereal vocal highs that blend beautifully with the layers of shredding and ambient. The aggressive harsh vocal sections are few and far between, yet are employed for maximum intensity and effect, adding deeper complexity to the EP's staggering technical structure. The vocalist is one of the most talented I have heard in a long while, not suffering from the slightly "emo-sounding" tone that plagues his counterpart in Periphery. His oddly cathartic singing is full of genuine depth and emotion, and is one of TesseracT's greatest assets.
However, he often takes a back seat to the musicians' incredible instrumental prowess. This may be looked on as a potential risk in most cases, but the young band's jaw-dropping guitar work is devoid of the tiresome repetitiveness or overly-indulgent instrumental "wankery" common to prog rock. Every riff is complex, varied and gripping, shifting from aggressive, polyrhythmic chugging and shredding to majestic melodic hooks seamlessly and with astonishing proficiency. Whilst this music is complicated, intelligent and challenging, it is fairly easy to listen to and never exhausting (a weakness sometimes demonstrated in some of TesseracT's contemporaries, such as Animals As Leaders). Instead - for anyone with an even remotely decent attention span, at least - every second of every song is absolutely riveting. There isn't one moment that I would describe as generic or boring, in any sense. You won't find a single solitary breakdown here.
All of this raw talent and creativity is wrapped up in a glossy, sugar-coated production that boasts immense clarity and acute precision, putting the finishing touches to this near-perfect EP. The only downside I found to this is that it was over too quickly, leaving me mind-blown and hungry for more. I am now eagerly awaiting TesseracT's full-length debut, One, out later this month. I have no doubt that it will be one of the more interesting, controversial and significant metal releases this year, and will establish TesseracT as leading members of this remarkable new movement. They're already the most exciting thing to happen to the UK metal scene in a very long time.
The great Meshuggah successfully established their own unique style within a genre, and now their faithful disciples have set about pioneering a brand new genre from their sound. It's early days yet, but it's just possible that metal's defining voice in the new millenium has finally arrived. The 80's had thrash, the 90's and 00's had metalcore, and now we have this - the age of djent. It's going to be fascinating.
Recommended tracks: All of them. After all, there's only six of them, and they're all technically one extended song. However, if I was going going to call any one track essential, it would have to be track two, Deception (Concealing Fate Pt. 2).