Review: Tesseract – One

Photo by Kristell Gathoye

A Tesseract is some sort of shape or something (yeah, I do my research!), but this particular review is of a certain Djent band’s debut album, not some mathematical shit. Don’t know what Djent is? Don’t worry; we’ve already got that covered. Don’t know who Tesseract are? Don’t worry; we’ve also got that covered too. We’re just awesome like that.

The band’s debut album, called One, has been released through Century Media Records, and it’s a bit of an odd one, and not just because it’s Progressive and weird (although it is BTW). It’s a weird one (no pun intended – you know, ‘cause the album is called One and all) because it turns out that the bulk of the album is actually made up of the band’s previously released Concealing Fate EP, released some time last year.  Then there are 5 new tracks, and by new, I mean most of those are just re-recorded songs that have been heard before in some form or another. I think only one or two songs are completely new. That’s ok though, because the band are still relatively new (At least to most people) and this is their debut, so I’ll let them off.

Make the jump for the review.

1. “Lament” 4:53
2. “Nascent” 4:09
3. “Concealing Fate – Part 1 Acceptance” 8:33
4. “Concealing Fate – Part 2 Deceit” 5:22
5. “Concealing Fate – Part 3 The Impossible” 4:50
6. “Concealing Fate – Part 4 Perfection” 2:38
7. “Concealing Fate – Part 5 Epiphany” 1:29
8. “Concealing Fate – Part 6 Origins” 4:44
9. “Sunrise” 3:57
10. “April” 4:48
11. “Eden” 9:08


Those familiar with the Concealing Fate EP will know that it was a great example of the band’s talents, being full of astounding arrangements and remarkable rhythms (Alliteration FTW). Those that never experienced the EP, feel free to just skip it and just jump straight to the band’s debut, which I’m here reviewing now. Concealing Fate (tracks three – eight) returns in the exact same form as it was on the EP, with the only difference being that some of the track names have altered slightly, although they’re still marked part one and so on. For the purpose of this review, I’m going to continue as if you have never heard the EP and are completely unaware of its existence.

Tesseract, as I previously mentioned, are generally part of the trendy, down-with-the-kids, Djent movement that has risen in recent years. They are hard to describe, but basically they are like a more melodic Meshuggah, making use of polyrhythmic , syncopated staccato obtuse chords, and harsh vocals. On top of this though, they also utilize beautiful clean singing and harmonious guitar work, combining with altering rhythms and song progressions.  If that makes any sense, then hopefully you should have an idea of what this album sounds like. Think Sikth, but with more control and restrain in terms of the song writing. In many ways, Tesseract are a Prog Metal act.

Opening track ‘Lament’ begins with melodic synthesized keyboard sounds, with a high (or is that low?) attack effect. High sung vocals are soon brought into forefront of the instrumentation, as the track gradually builds into a huge Metal assault. A tight Meshuggah-esque groove starts the attack, and the track remains a heavy track for most of the remaining time. I say most of, because there also times when it slows down, and then there is also an odd bridge section, with staccato palm muted guitar parts playing, sounding a little like Dream Theater.

From the descriptions I’ve made so far, you already have an idea of what the rest of the album is like, because most of the tracks are very similar in style (Especially the Concealing Fate tracks, which are more like one long song). Basically, the band are technical, but most of the technicality is actually seen in the layers. It’s the way the guitars and synths mix together, with the screams and clean sung vocals and tight rhythms, and how everything syncopates. The production on the album is also brilliantly done, with everything sounding nice and crisp. One flaw though is, that whilst the music the band have created is great, it does all sound very similar. Each track flows into the next with a similar sound of moods, so it does become difficult to follow the album unless you check where you are ever couple of minutes.

Largely, the highlight of One is undeniably the Concealing Fate opus, fitted in the middle of the album. Each track flows into the next, with various musical motifs recurring throughout each track. The music at times transposes, keeping the album fairly interesting. However, like I said before, there is a slight limitation in diversity and dynamics, which, unfortunately lets the album down slightly. It’s perhaps a slight criticism, but unfortunately I get bored fairly easily.

The tracks that follow Concealing Fate, are equally strong, with most of the melodic, tuneful segments being focal parts of the music. The additional tracks fit in with Concealing Fate EP just fine, and there are no problems with flow or cohesion. The final two tracks ‘April’ and ‘Eden’ are both absolutely stunning and ensure the album finishes as brilliantly as it started.

Overall, One is a great debut from Tesseract. The band are undoubtedly ones to watch out for, providing some fantastic and original music, something that is rare in 2011. Fans of this kind of multi-layered form of Djent inspired Metal will love this, but at 55 minutes in length and little variation in texture, it can, at times, almost become a bit of a chore to listen to in its entirety. Everything is solid and profound, but it lacks some slight multiplicity that could have made this album more appealing. Despite these criticisms though, One still displays some of the most outstanding music of recent times, with some dense, fantastically structured layers. This is a brilliant start for the band, and no doubt they will continue to improve and diversify with time.

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