Tesseract – One (Century Media Records)

Wednesday, 20th March 2013
Rating: 7/10

Essentially Meshuggah with clean vocals, or Textures with less-awesome clean singing and thrash, or Extol for the brief moment in time when they were good, the UK’s Tesseract is the embodiment of a modern metal amalgam. Tons of cues are taken from the aforementioned Swedes, most notably when those staccato riffs get dropped in, and (surprisingly) clean singing is the norm, so on One, the Brits prove this formula can be altered ever-so slightly, but in the end, it’s all the same.

Singer Dan Tompkins gets the most face time here, as his graceful clean vocals straddle the lines between tolerable and annoying. The man comes precariously close to being a bit too modern, maxing himself out during the excellent “Deception – Concealing the Fate Part II,” which is easily the best song here. Elsewhere, Tompkins goes for the gold on “The Impossible – Concealing the Fate Part III,” a song that in spite of its token Meshuggah circa-2002 riff-action, is atmospherically enticing.

Tesseract gradually deeps a digger hole for themselves as the album moves on, as those awfully familiar Meshuggah riffs (the None EP has to be a proper frame of reference) become more and more stale. “Sunrise” and “Eden” would be the two prime suspects here, with neither song even making an attempt to disguise what they’re after. It’s not like there’s a bevy of fresh riffs to be culled from, but there’s literally no attempt to at least tinker with said formula that was long established by Meshuggah and ripped off by Textures and a cast of hundreds.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the pulsating atmospheric tone to One, and it’s the only thing that keep this album from being a total waste. No one’s going to be a stickler over that, or clean singing, so if Tesseract want to have any shot at hanging around in this too-crowded-to-comprehend scene, then it’s time to lose the tablature book for Destroy.Erase.Improve.

www.myspace.com/tesseract

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)