In the modern-day world of Metal, Djent has become a dirty word. These negative connotations come perhaps due to the tendency of many Djent bands to compose as a form of musical masturbation, concocting pieces of music which at their core rely on complexity for complexity’s sake. However, Tesseract are a band that stand out from their peers due to their ability to blend complexity with simplicity to create music which is truly captivating. This is not what makes Tesseract really special though – Tesseract are one of those rare bands who manage to take songs that, on record, already sound brilliant, and add a whole new dimension to them in the live setting. This is, in large part, thanks to the wonderful countermelodies that lead vocalist Dan Tompkins draws up during live performances.
The release of Tesseract’s most recent record, Polaris, in September 2015 saw the return of Tompkins to vocal duties having previously appeared on both the Concealing Fate EP and debut album One. And upon seeing them perform at the Brudenell Social Club, one has to say that is has made all the difference. This is not to say that there was anything wrong with the vocalists that stood in between his stints – indeed Altered State was a wonderfully complete album which showcased the direction in which modern Progressive music should be moving. However, neither of those vocalists could pull off the live performance that Tompkins does, making great use of his vocal range as well as introducing those beautiful countermelodies.
Having originally been billed to play Stylus, the band brought a stage production that seemed made for larger settings, but not a member of the audience will be heard complaining. For those who turned up at the Brudenell it was a great night, with the band drawing upon material from throughout their career. The highlight of the night though is their performance of ‘Hexes’, blending together soaring vocal lines, complex rhythmic structures and stomping grooves to encapsulate all that is great about Tesseract.