Saturday, February 5, 2011

TesseracT--Concealing Fate EP

I make no excuses for my general disdain for the Djent genre.  That most of the bands sound the exactly the same--like ill-conceived Meshuggah ripoffs with shitty vocals--is the easiest and most obvious reason for my dislike of Djent music.  Indeed, there is much more to it than that, but if I were to dumb it down, place it in the proverbial nutshell, Djent (that is not Meshuggah or Cloudkicker) can be summed up in this way: it's math-y radio rock for teenagers who want to feel fancy because they like music that isn't in 4/4 time.  Is Djent heavy?  It can be, but just being heavy at times doesn't make a band good.  Is it easy to play?  No, but making music difficult to play doesn't make it good, either.  It's a classic argument, like the age-old debate about Yngwie Malmsteen.  Yes, he can really play guitar, but uses his amazing abilities to make incredibly unlistenable music, which he offsets by calling it "classical," which again makes teenagers feel fancy for listening to it.  Following in the footsteps of many a hallowed guitar wankophile, TesseracT achieve the "fancy and unlistenable" tag for themselves with their long-awaited EP, Concealing Fate.

I read a great many things about TesseracT on my daily excursions to the blogmosphere, especially on Metalsucks.  "TesseracT is amazing!" the bloggers and asshole commenters enthused in perfect unison.  "I can't wait for new music from them to come out so I can finally jack off again!"  Intrigued because of my own penis-related musical obsessions, I resolved to observe this phenomenon that I had never heard before.  Months passed, and I forgot about this magical beast that roams the musical forest stroking the nerd-boners of Interbung commentators who long for an eight-string guitar to descend from the skies and take them outside of their parents' basements for once.  "If I had a guitar with that many strings, I would show them all!" they mutter behind their homemade Chewbacca masks that aren't quite movie quality, but pretty close considering they had been shorted hours at the video arcade and had to make some budget cuts to meet the deadline for the Cosplay convention.  "I would write riffs that can't be immediately broken down into easy phrase clusters but still only involve one note and a rudimentary palm mute to play; then I'll finally get a date."  Then the captain of the wrestling team gives him a massive wedgie and yells "NEEEEEEERRRRRD!" and is immediately congratulated on his witty rejoinder by his best friend/salivating toady and the prettiest girl on the cheerleading squad.

It's like Revenge of the Nerds, except nobody gets laid at the end.

After such a long wait, I had an interesting conversation with my good dudebro Isaac about Djent and other fancy musical stylings. I suddenly remembered that I had a date with TesseracT, who were going to fly me to a land of dreams where I wouldn't be fat and have too much acne for a 26-year-old man, and where my $10-an-hour job was less of an embarrassment to my parents who put me through college and watched me get a useless degree.  I was so excited, and was, just like my parents, subsequently disappointed on a massive scale.

Like I said above, Djent is a pretty cool idea for a musical approach (that was oddly turned into an entire subgenre once people realized how amazing Chaosphere was), but is being beaten to death by a group of bands that know how to write riffs that aren't in a comfortable time signature but have no idea how to write a song.  You can cut and paste this description for any Djent band with a vocalist, especially Periphery.  TesseracT really can write some semi-interesting riffs, but they string them together so that they resemble a necklace constructed by Helen Keller.  It's a necklace, but not an attractive one.  That the music's diminishing return value gets to be in the negative so quickly is a testament to the lack of creative ingenuity that TesseracT possess.  I don't know how or why it took so long for this follow up to I-don't-even-know-what-album to come about, but the riffs aren't flashy or interesting enough to warrant such an extended break between records.

And the vocals!  Ohhhh, the vocals...

Let me be clear right here: clean singing in heavy metal needs to be approached with the utmost care and tenderness.  It detracts very heavily from the music when the vocals come out whiny and uninspired, and TesseracT's vocals do both.  The vocal melodies are bland to the point of being nauseating, but do, in the interest of fairness, work quite well several times throughout the course of the album.  But it's like they were doing the album's mastering and the vocalist was told "Wow, your voice doesn't sound very good," to which he replied, "Silence!  Just add a shitload of delay to the vocal track."  (Mixing engineer sighs and adds an obnoxious amount of delay to the vocals).

I feel bad writing so much about an album that I didn't enjoy.  I wish that I could like everything that I hear so that I don't have to say things like "TesseracT's criminal missteps put them on par with sheep rapists, with the notable exception being that no sheep rapist has ever tried to charge people so they can listen to recordings of his myriad sexual assaults against innocent livestock."  I have to admit that it's fun to say these kinds of things, but I know what it's like to be in a shitty band.  It's tough.  I'm sorry TesseracT; it's nothing personal.  Maybe get a six-string guitar, learn to write a riff, and then step it up to the eight string after you add something after "time drops" to your bag of musical tricks.

Follow your nose to TesseracT's Concealing Fate EP, available now.  Listen to it and call me a music-hating faggot in the comments.

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