Monday, December 7, 2015

Tesseract at Irving Plaza

Daniel Tompkins
In 2003, guitarist Alec "Acle" Kahney sought to experiment beyond his band Mikaw Barish. He posted clips of his heavy and technical guitar work on online forums and the feedback helped him improve his technique. He formed progressive metal band Tesseract in 2007 in Milton Keynes, England. Due to Kahney's new guitar style, Tesseract became one of the pioneers of the djent movement in progressive metal. Tesseract has released three studio albums, a live album, and two EPs. The most recent studio album, Polaris, was released on September 18, 2015. Tesseract presently consists of Kahney on lead guitar, returning vocalist Daniel Tompkins, rhythm guitarist James 'Metal' Monteith, bassist Amos Williams and drummer Jay Postones.

Tesseract concluded its North American tour tonight with a headlining engagement at Irving Plaza. Daniel Tompkins, who was Tesseract's vocalist from 2009 to 2011, returned to the band in 2014, and the reunion proved a fine match. Tompkins' clean vocals frequently soared like a melodic power metal anthem with an emphasis on long, drawn out notes, but when the music transitioned to gritty, he brought back the harsh growl that had been missing from Tesseract in recent years. While Tompkins was the main focal point, Kahney's djent guitar style was coarse and gave the band its guts. Polyrhythmic riffs and odd time signatures gave the band its progressive credentials, but expansive atmospheric interludes quieted the swirling music with ambient layers that contrasted the djent. Tesseract combined technical, progressive metal with a crooning vocal style and cranking, headbanging djent for interesting results.

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