Gig Review: TesseracT, Manchester, 11th September 2011

Post-metal, progressive metal or djent? Whatever the label, the Lowering the Tone tour brings together a trio of bands that, while not yet the finished articles, are well-versed in spinning their Meshuggah-worship in to one of the most creative areas of 21st century metal. Opening the evening are French quintet Uneven Structure, whose plethora of fantastic ideas are unfortunately let down by a failure to weave them in to a coherent narrative. The potential is definitely present for this band to make a real impact, but not until the art of composition is mastered to the same degree of second act Chimp Spanner. Chief Chimp and multi-instrumentalist Paul Ortiz presents a series of meticulously constructed instrumentals that often veer deep in to ambient territory, before tightening the reins of his session musicians to deliver enormous slabs of crunching technical metal. A fearsome studio project turned phenomenal live outfit, the anticipation and hype around a new Chimp Spanner record after last year’s At the Dream’s Edge will soar with performances like this.

Since TesseracT’s last appearance in Manchester seven months ago, they have moved in to the headline position on the bill, changed singers and are on the verge of releasing a new record, Neophobia. New vocalist Elliot Coleman fights a cold, yet still manages an impressive vocal performance, drawing in a crowd that is light on numbers. It seems impossible to justify the mixed reaction that the American’s recruitment to the TesseracT ranks has received, and his vocal delivery can really help set them apart from other djent acts by adding an extra layer of melody. This is an extremely tight performance, but it is difficult to accept that this is the peak of their ability; a relentless touring schedule has drained some of the energy from February’s supporting slot for Periphery. Nevertheless, it is still an enjoyable set in which they give just one new song an outing, preferring to play safe with some stellar renditions of material from debut full-length, One, including all six parts of the ‘Concealing the Fate’ half-hour epic. This is certainly the last TesseracT tour that will visit venues of this size, and gearing up for 2012 with a new album and a new singer should provide the Berkshire boys with an exciting twelve months.


About Stuart

I have been writing for about seven years, my only writing qualification is a poorly-deserved grade C in GCSE English Language. I write mainly on music and literature, but have also written about the politics of sport, for some reason. I generally listen to horrible music, so my reviews will invariably be of black metal, grindcore or noise bands. Interests include attempting to play ice hockey, relieving Oxfam charity shops of every last book that they receive, and becoming TOP DOG in the world of Polish football spread-betting.

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