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A pioneering force in the djent scene, English progressive metallers TesseracT weld the technical to the conceptual in sprawling yet well-articulated recordings. The band issued a handful of demos and EPs before releasing their debut album, One, in 2011. They found commercial success in 2015 with the arrival of Polaris, which appeared on both the U.K. and U.S. charts, and continued to tighten their brutal and cerebral sound on 2018's Sonder and 2021's career-spanning concert LP Portals. Originally started in 2003 as a solo outlet for guitarist Acle Kahney, who at the time was playing in the band Mikaw Barish, TesseracT eventually became early adopters of the djent style, which relies heavily on tight, palm-muted riffs that sound much like the word itself, and was coined by Meshuggah guitarist Fredrik Thordendal. TesseracT released their debut EP, Concealing Fate, in 2010, followed by their first long-player, One, in 2011. The Perspective EP, which featured a cover of Jeff Buckley's "Dream Brother," arrived in 2012, and was followed by their second full-length studio outing, the Century Media-issued Altered State, in 2013. Vocalist Daniel Tomkins -- who had appeared on their earliest EP and album -- returned for Polaris, their third -- after two other singers had come and gone. The record was released by K-Scope in the late summer of 2015. To coincide with a U.S. tour with Gojira in the fall of 2016, the band re-released Polaris with a bonus second disc entitled Errai that included four reworked tracks from the album -- "Survival," "Cages," "Tourniquet," and "Seven Names." In the summer of 2017, they released a stand-alone single titled "Smile." Early the following year, TesseracT announced the April release of Sonder. The album was recorded in the U.K. at 4D Sounds, Celestial Sounds, and Project Studios and engineered by the band and Aiden O'Brien, with mastering by Acle Kahney. Sonder melded the harsh abrasiveness of 2011's One and the progressive ethereal elements of 2013's Altered State with the pop accessibility of Polaris. It was preceded in February by the single "Luminary," described by vocalist Tompkins as "conceptually exploring a deep and devouring sense of insignificance, which ties into the overall theme and meaning behind Sonder." The single was backed with an extended, reworked version of "Smile." In addition to the conventional stereo recording, a special edition of the album was issued as part of a limited deluxe package that included a 360-degree binaural listening experience designed by Klang. Following Sonder's release, Tompkins embarked on a solo career, delivering two albums, 2019's Castles and 2020's Ruins. At the end of 2020, TesseracT reconvened -- albeit without drummer Jay Postones due to COVID-19 isolation -- for an online "live cinematic experience." Dubbed Portals, the two-hour-plus show saw the band work through tracks from their back catalog. A digital and physical release of the show was issued the following year.
© James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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