Review Summary: meShuggah Babes
Tesseract have undoubtedly been dragging their feet over the last few years; excitement regarding the release of their debut has swelled and subsided following the band’s frequent mutations, contractions and expansions. Even though a substantial of the material comprising their debut full length was composed nearly five years ago One
drops belatedly in the new decade, eleven aural entities stepping lightly off the hype train and onto the solid ground of critical reality.
Mercifully, for the most part it was worth the wait; although unforgivably overdue One
is without a doubt a paradigm of pristine yet emotive musicianship, part raging tempest, part whispering breeze; these are sinuous and seductive siren songs calling out for shipwreck.
Musically, comparisons have been made mirroring Tesseract with the other luminaries of the Djent
scene, Meshuggah and Textures especially. This is inevitable, and yet it does the young English band no real disservice; being compared with some of the most forward thinking artists in metal of recent years is surely no bad thing. The instrumentation is top notch and at times simply jaw dropping; one would expect nothing less. Seven string guitars rip through riffs like scissors through fabric, tearing frantically at the aural cloth before subsiding into achingly beautiful acoustic passages that flutter like silk in the echoing space, interspersing the turbulent maelstrom with much needed moments of quiet and calm. Postones and Williams handle the low end [sic] admirably, making their way through the enchanting rhythmical nightmare with almost dreamlike ease; the off kilter beats especially resembling ships crashing and heaving on an irresistibly swirling molten ocean of sound. The vocals are an enticing mixture of mid range screams and the clean, soaring wails that have unfortunately become somewhat of a cliché in the metal scene in recent years; for the most part, however, they suit the music perfectly.
Parts of familiar epic Concealing Fate aside, final track Eden
is without a doubt the band’s crowning achievement; a nine minute melting pot of agonizingly lopsided rhythms that wind their flowing serpentine flesh around the body of the song in an tantalizingly gentle embrace before suddenly choking the frail and trembling melodies in iridescent coils. After a few mezmerizing spins it becomes fully apparent; Tesseract have as a complete musical entity succeeded in forging and stamping their own ubiquitous seal on the tech-metal scene.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that One
isn’t long overdue and needlessly delayed; perhaps it is sufficient to say that it would be an album of the year contender if only it were released a few years ago, when the band already had many of the songs written and the music still sounded fresh. Coming as it does in 2011 it remains a powerful artistic statement, and yet at times one can’t help feeling that the tremors surging out of the speakers are mere aftershock rather than a primordial, groundbreaking wave.