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TesseracT - Concealing Fate CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.11 | 42 ratings

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3 stars Does it dj0nt? Oh hell yeah. But... that's all it does: 6.5/10

(Please take in consideration that I refer selectively to the most mainstream metal acts when I say 'prog metal', and not to the genre as an entirety, which I recognize is FAR too varied, and honestly, prog metal more of an umbrella term than anything else.)

I have an antipathy for the modern mainstrean prog metal scene. I feel acts differs little among themselves, all opting for a more or less homogeneous sonority that resembles metalcore which has NEVER been appealing to me. The boring choruses and uninteresting, similar vocals are my biggest pet peeves of many bands and many songs. Talking about djent specifically, it's hard for me to think of it as a legitimate genre because it has so few characteristics that make it different. Use of polyrhythms, distorted palm muted guitar riffs, and... let's call it a day, I guess? So, I opt to think of djent as an adjective rather than a subgenre.

My distaste for modern prog metal music (and djent) was rather unfounded though because I made very few scarce contacts with it. TesseracT particularly has always been judged by me as dull, the product of my ephemeral contact with its latest release, POLARIS. Assuming my tastes developed since then I was rather skeptical whether this judgment was fair, so to settle both issues - discover if my distaste for mainstream prog metal (and djent specifically) is reasonable & if Tesseract is truly boring - I decided to check the band's best work, CONCEALING FATE.

In many moments the EP contains exactly what I expected (and was afraid of): screaming, harsh (uninspired) singing that as the lad below me stated brings images of LINKIN PARK; blasts of distorted guitar; and occasional acoustic parts that, for as much as they tried, lacked emotion. It wasn't nearly as insufferable to go through them as I supposed it would, though.

Judging this to be a wasted effort and taking for granted that the music was offputting, a trait of djent I forgot that existed struck my ears: guitar breakdowns. There are many, and they are terrific. The parts those heavy technical distortion accompanied by intricate drumming arrived, my eyes popped wide open. When the vocals silence, the guitar shines and rules supreme with its fluid brutal complexity.

Act 1: Acceptance is forgettable. Act 2: Deception is when things start to become interesting, this section being the epicenter of the djenty breakdowns. Act 3: The Impossible is also generally uninteresting except for the last minute that features some spicy drumming. Act 4: Perfection starts to incorporate the technical riffs on the verse, making them interesting; also, the singer shifts to nicer clear vocals rather than the piss- poor screamo hitherto used. Act 5: Epiphany is by far the most complex section - polyrhythmic, heavy, highly technical, lacking vocals, vicious- and Act 6: Origin follows Act 4's clearer style.

As a metal act, TesseracT fails for me. Now, if I think of their specific 'djent' trait, I have to recognize that those guys deliver a fantastic EP. However, I find distressing when an album can only be classified good under specific conditions - "only as djent, but not as general metal". Is the music or only a specific trait of it genuinely good?

Well, this wave of djenty metal bands is worrisome. The blatant musical likeness depicts a lack of originality and innovation. Why stick to polyrhythmic and palm muted guitar riffs when so much amazing things can be done? I agree, it sounds pretty dope - and drew my attention -, but countless new groups are jumping on this bandwagon instead of unleashing their wings and embracing creativity, something maleficial for the (metal) genre as a whole.

CONCEALING FATE, individually, is accomplished. But, in a certain way, it's a symptom of the concealed fate of prog metal: a shift from being "prog" - music that expands the boundaries of metal - to being "technical" - mere repetition of complex riffs and structures - ; the usage of a formula, rather than the attempt of experimentation. If you brush those thoughts aside, however, the djenty headbang will be pretty pleasing.

(rather exceptionally, I opted to not use uppercase when referring to the band name)

Luqueasaur | 3/5 |


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