Tesseract - One
Century Media
Prog/Tech Metal
11 songs (54:25)
Release year: 2011
Century Media
Reviewed by Jaime
Album of the month
So after a good three or four year wait Tesseract have finally released their debut album in the form of One. Given that the band were one of the first to arise from the fledgling tech/"djent" scene some may view it as odd that it has taken them this long to release it, but with the backing of Century Media behind them it has been a canny move that has allowed the band to move from reputable but underground act to touring alongside some massive names like The Devin Townsend Project and Protest The Hero and generally becoming one of the fastest rising English bands of the past year or so.

But is the album worth the wait? The answer is most definitely yes, but with a few issues that I'll raise now. More than half the album was featured on the Concealing Fate EP which I reviewed previously, and although those tracks are still good it does still give a bit of a "oh, so not that much new?" feeling to the whole proceeding if you have heard that EP before. For my views on those tracks look up the previous review here, as my feelings and comments haven't changed since then.

The other songs that are here definitely hold their own weight while surrounding the multi-tiered epic in the middle. Lament has a very ambient, almost chanted intro before the band enter properly, and as a little aside some of the drum patterns reminded me of some 80's tracks in a good way that brought a little smile to my face as the layers of guitars chime and chug away. Tesseract tend to move from softer sections to heavier parts almost effortlessly and this is a fantastic showcase of how they do it. They are one of, if not the only band in this niche that seems to inject some iota of feeling and emotion in their work. Could it be down to Dan Tompkins' sublime vocal delivery (especially his clean vocals), the numerous subtle elements that are in the background, the fantastic production job or the fact that the songs manage to hold their own against the rising influx of bands that are causing the genre's ranks to swell beyond saturation point? Case in point: Nascent. From its uneasy intro and verses that suddenly swell into the raging choruses the song has this depth that adds gravitas to the band where others seem like more throwaway acts. The instrumental sections are monstrous as well, with the chants in the background adding that extra touch to the vibe of the track as a whole. It's interesting to hear how this track has evolved from a few years ago when guitarist Acle originally posted it on the internet and hear how Tesseract as a whole has matured.

Next is Concealing Fate. I'll wait here while you go catch up on the other review...

And back are you? Good. Another revamped track shows up in Sunrise that starts of being surprisingly barebones and basic before the layers show up again. Admittedly the vocal barks are a bit weak on this track, they lack a certain anger and punch that would make them more effective. The layered clean sections are as always very good, but the drier parts suffer quite badly from the contrast and come across as being quite naked and empty when the band are usually draped in robes of sound. April starts off rather disarmingly, very softly with the rhythm section driving the song forward and moving into Devin territory sound wise. The laidback feel works really well here as it builds up to the single longest track on the album, Eden. That Devin comparison could probably be flung around again here, although the band mix that with their own disjointed techy style a bit more with the vocals pushing everything onwards with gusto. The guitar rhythm is pretty constant for four or five minutes and it does grind a little before they do a variation on it later in the track. It's all about the slow build here, gradually winding up to a very nicely done little solo section and the slow spin down for the outro. Nice, but a wee tad long for my liking.

One is unquestionably a solid album, even more so if you haven't heard the Concealing Fate EP. Each member of the band puts in a stellar performance, and for a debut album the fact that they have their craft honed so well can only lead to great expectations from their sophomore effort. There are one or two songs that fall by the wayside compared to what else is on offer here but for an album of this quality it is still forgivable. If this is the future of metal then let it arrive as soon as possible.
Killing Songs :
Lament, Nascent, Concealing Fate I-VI, April
Jaime quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Tesseract that we have reviewed:
Tesseract - Concealing Fate EP reviewed by Jaime and quoted no quote
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