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TesseracT – One: Review

Tesseract‘s first full-length release, One, was made available on March 22 through Century Media. The album cover is enigmatic and somewhat plain; a good representation of TesseracT at this point. I was really hoping to enjoy this album more than I did, but One is still a decent album.

The Music (rating: B)

  1. Lament
  2. Nascent
  3. Concealing Fate Part One – Acceptance
  4. Concealing Fate Part Two – Deception
  5. Concealing Fate Part Three – The Impossible
  6. Concealing Fate Part Four – Perfection
  7. Concealing Fate Part Five – Epiphany
  8. Concealing Fate Part Six – Origin
  9. Sunrise
  10. April
  11. Eden

There is a definitive “math” feel to One (honestly, just look at the album art), whether it be with the odd time signatures and snare rhythms or the distinct guitar tone and calculated riffs. It covers a broad range of heaviness, going from ambient to metalcore as well as the in-between.

Despite the seemingly large amount of diversity, One feels rather one-sided in its musical approach (ironic, looking at the album art). Yes, they hit many points along the heaviness spectrum, but they do so relatively similarly every time. The lighter sections are often rhythmically driven by the bass (which, in most cases, uses one note and accentuation) and sprinkled with clean guitar chord picking. Then there are the heavier sections which are basically distorted guitar riffs acting similarly to the bass (mostly using either a single pitch or the octave interval and basing themselves on rhythm). All of the songwriting is based on rhythm, which can be more than okay in certain cases. However, with this album it seems as though the songwriting follows a near-exact path with each song, starting from rhythm and winding up at the finished product while hitting several similar checkpoints along the way.

Also, it is a reoccurrence in One that sections tend to stall instead of dwell. By this, I mean that sections can go on for too long a period of time playing the exact same thing and not building up or down to anything. Some passages seem to exist without any contextual purpose or direction. The passages themselves are good and a result, it is as though the band feels obligated to give them air time. But without context, they seem to be going nowhere and ultimately feel draggy. This is not a common issue, but apparently strong enough to make note of.

On a more positive note, the instruments are very well-done in this album. All band members give an impressive display of prowess with their respective tools. There is really great cymbal work on behalf of the drummer, and the bassist gives some neat slapping and popping which is refreshing for the metal scene. The guitarist gives some neat riffs and the vocalist has a nice range and much potential. From a technical standpoint, all is well. But to reiterate, the writing aspect is rather one-dimensional and the instrumentals are often approached in the same light.

Overall, One is a decent album. Regarding its complexity and technicality, it is very impressive. But its general musicianship lacks diversity and the album is not very densely layered. Still, it is a welcome addition to the math metal scene, though I would recommend Cloudkicker’s Beacons over this one. Given that this is TesseracT’s first release, I am far from disappointed. TesseracT shows much potential with One. Though it is not fully reached here, it very well could be in the near future.

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