Tag Archives: tesseract

Review: A Cunning Man’s Practical Applications of Theurgy

practical-application-of-theurgy-cover

A Cunning Man is the one-man metal project of Ged Cartwright who previously fronted Scumscene post hardcore favourites Teenage China. This new project is extremely high concept stuff; a progressive and symphonic metal project that simply shouldn’t be coming out of the mind of one man.

Practical Applications of Theurgy is such a dense EP that it inspired me to do some background reading on a lot of the references in the song titles. Each track contains a name that appears in The Grimoire of Pope Honorius, which is a 1760 text that was made to be read during mass. Whether or not this is actually the influence on Cartwright’s lyricism remains to be seen, but the fact that I was even intrigued enough to find some meaning in this monumentally enormous sounding EP is a true testament to how interesting A Cunning Man’s music really is.

From the first track Honorius & the Choral Forecast, the listener is assaulted with a symphonic metal attack that’s heavy on blast beats and ethereal strings. Think of a melding of Dimmu Borgir, Between the Buried and Me and Periphery and you’ve got a good idea as to how wild this all sounds. Cartwright’s virtuosic vocals are placed front and centre and rightly so; the man’s singing is nothing short of staggering with its beautiful, lilting melodies permeating every song. It’s a huge amount to take in for a first track and if there’s one criticism to be levelled at this track then it might be a case of over-egging the pudding.

The next two tracks actually reign in A Cunning Man’s tendency to throw every influence under their belt into the mix. A more considered introduction leads the listener along carefully before the instrumentation picks up and when it does it never gets overindulgent. Closer Juratus & the Sulfur Psalm also follow a similar structure and it allows the impact of A Cunning Man’s crescendos to really shine. There’s more of a post rock influence on these tracks that remind you of prog bands like TesseracT, as they show less outright visceral metal like on the first track.

Practical Applications of Theurgy is an extremely unique and almost overbearing symphonic metal release from one of the most gifted Scottish musicians I can think of. This is an extremely accomplished first offering from A Cunning Man and while it sometimes veers dangerously close to being a little too dense for its own good, the song-writing shines brighter and makes for a record that’s more than the sum of its parts. A Cunning Man have an awful lot to offer over these 3 tracks and I’m very excited to see where the project goes in the future.

8/10

A Cunning Man’s Practical Applications of Theurgy is out now and available to download direct from the band’s official Bandcamp page.


Review: Irk’s Bread and Honey

Irk - Bread and Honey - cover

Irk are a rather interesting prospect. The band take the off kilter, palm-muted chaos of djent and mix it with progressive metal in a similar vein to Deftones and earthtone9 and it makes for a sound that is wonderfully unique. The band released their debut EP Bread and Honey back in May and it’s a record that’s seriously worthy of your attention.

The Leeds trio have a sound that is worryingly large for a band so early into their career. Bread and Honey is a quaking beast of an EP stuffed with massive riffs and heart-on-sleeve yelping. There are no verses and choruses to be found on this record and it’s extremely better off for all its progressive leanings.

Irk are a big fan of groove and these bass-heavy riffs pack a serious punch. From the moment the EP starts with its blood-curdling scream and monolithic melody you know you’re in for one hell of a ride. EP opener Care Taker barrels along with all the disjointed twitchiness of a great TesseracT riff but thanks to the raw, thrashy fury of the drum work it comes across with more of a mathcore vibe and it’s an absolute joy to listen to.

What also helps Irk’s music is their appreciation for the Deftones’ quiet/loud dynamic. The songs on Bread and Honey often slow down and strip back the intensity to allow for a moment’s respite before the band unleash all hell and blast another huge riff into your face. It’s not the most original trick in the book but Irk know how to use it with masterful devastation like in the middle eight of Mammalian Love March.

Special mention has to be given to the bass because the twangy, funk-laden bass-lines are a huge draw across the entire EP. They bolster the impact of the riffs and add to the raucous energy that the band feed off. Bread and Honey really is a hugely satisfying listening experience.

Special mention also has to be given to the production because unlike the djent bands that Irk are influenced by, someone has seen fit to not give this EP that typical, shiny layer of polish that’s so common on djent releases. Irk are considerably better off sounding raw and aggressive and it really sounds like the band put all their blood, sweat and tears into these recordings. If Bread and Honey was given the clean, glassy production of a TesseracT recording then it simply wouldn’t have the same ball-busting impact.

The only real negative I can throw at this EP is it’s all over in 10 minutes and quite frankly I need more. Irk have whet my appetite for more rollicking, mathcore lunacy and that’s a pretty good indication as to how good Bread and Honey is. You’d be a fool not to give Irk at least 10 minutes of your time. It might be the best 10 minutes you’ve had with heavy music this year.

9/10

Irk’s Bread and Honey is available to download now and at a pay-what-you-want price point directly from the band. You should probably go and get it right now.


Review: Press to Meco’s Affinity

Where have Press to Meco been hiding all this time? These Londoners make a beautiful prog metal racket that’s fused with some brilliant pop rock melodies that makes them sound like The Safety Fire mixed with Tales Don’t Tell Themselves-era Funeral for a Friend. This is such an unusual blend of styles that it really has no place working so damn well.

Affinity is Press to Meco’s 2nd EP and it packs an awful lot of ideas into its’ 5 songs and somehow manages to make a coherent record out of it all. The vocals bring the most memorable melodies to the forefront with a sugary, upbeat quality that’s at polar opposites to the enormous, riff-lead, technical mayhem going on at the same time. The title track is musically on the same page as bands like Periphery and TesseracT which is impressive on its’ own, but partnered with the band’s hugely catchy vocals, Press to Meco manage to make prog accessible for the masses.

The record sounds absolutely massive as well. The production values are really high for such a succinct release. This helps it put the band on a level playing field with their peers which is no small feat for a band this early in their career. Enough cannot be said about how beautifully interesting and memorable Affinity is. This EP is just so impressive.

The only real negative comes from the fact that it’s all over in just under 19 minutes. When the final techy moments of Love and Reason jolt unnervingly to a close, you’ll be left begging for more. If Press to Meco made a full length album of this quality they’d easily become your favourite band in absolutely no time at all.

It’s becoming far too difficult to find the words to say how important Press to Meco’s Affinity is. The band manage to blend progressive metal and post hardcore with an unsettling ease and make one of the most amazing experiences to come out of the UK heavy music scene in a very long time. Affinity is a brilliant rock record that you’ll seriously regret not jumping at when this band launch stratospheric. Buy this EP.

9/10

Press to Meco’s Affinity EP is released independently on May 27th. Make sure you buy it.


News: Stream TesseracT’s Altered State in Full

TesseracT’s sophomore album Altered State is now available to stream in its’ entirety from Century Media’s YouTube Channel. Check it out:

Altered State is released through Century Media on May 27th. It will be TesseracT’s first record with Ashe O’Hara on vocal duties and the band’s first album of completely new material.


News: TesseracT’s Altered State Releases on May 27th

Prog metallers TesseracT return with their 2nd album Altered State which releases on Century Media May 27th. You can apparently pre-order the thing at www.tesseractband.co.uk but the site is down at the time of writing. In the mean time you can check out the album trailer below:

Altered State is the first release with Ashe O’Hara on vocals who replaces Elliot Coleman.


News: Stream the New TesseracT Single ‘Nocturne’

The new TesseracT single ‘Nocturne’ and the first song with new vocalist Ashe O’Hara is now available to stream.

Click here to listen to Nocturne by TesseracT

TesseracT have a few UK dates lined up with the Devin Townsend Project and Fear Factory in December before they head back to the studio to finish making the follow-up to debut album ‘One’. Hopefully the new album will see the light of day next year. Check out the dates below:

Dec 13 Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall
Dec 15 Manchester HMV Ritz
Dec 16 Bristol Academy

[Source: Metal Hammer]


News: TesseracT Announce New Vocalist and Single

Prog metal upstarts TesseracT have announced that their new vocalist will be Ashe O’Hara. O’Hara replaces Eliott Coleman who left the band earlier this year.

The official word from O’Hara is; “I have always been an admirer of their work so it’s pretty awesome to be passed such a challenging flame. I am very aware of the anticipation and I am certainly feeling the weight of it; but I am equally excited for what shall be an amazing and sh*thot experience!”

TesseracT add; “We realize that the vocalist search seemed like it took a long time, but we wanted to make sure that we found someone who was a perfect fit both on stage and in the studio and Ashe is just that. We very much appreciate the patience and support our fans have shown us and look forward to the next TesseracT chapter.”

TesseracT will release Nocturne on the 12th of October 2012 as a free download which will mark the debut of Ashe O’Hara’s vocals on a TesseracT song. A trailer for the song is available below:

TesseracT will head out on tour in October. Here’s the dates:

17.10.2012 (UK) Brighton – The Haunt
19.10.2012 (UK) Milton Keynes – The Crauford
21.10.2012 (D) Cologne – Euroblast Festival
22.10.2012 (F) Paris – Le Batofar
23.10.2012 (NL) Nijmegen – Merleyn


News: Jim “The Father of Loud” Marshall Dies

Jim Marshall, the founder of Marshall Amplification has died aged 88. Marshall amps are one of the key devices in any rock band’s arsenal and the passing of such a key figure in rock music has been felt by a huge amount of UK bands as well as bands the world over.

Here’s some comments from bands mourning the passing of Jim Marshall this morning:

Bad For Lazarus
“RIP Jim Marshall. A sad day for Richie Monroe x”

Freeze the Atlantic
“Freeze the Atlantic are sad to hear the passing of the great Jim Marshall. His amps are the backbone of this band!”

The James Cleaver Quintet
“RIP Jim Marshall. You possibly left the loudest memory, ever. Everyone must throw up the horns in respect!”

History of the Hawk
“RIP Jim Marshall. We had a walk round the Marshall factory last year and they are still to this day making awesome equipment. He had a good innings. A visionary in guitar sound.”

Hang the Bastard
“RIP Jim Marshall. Tone Master.”

TesseracT
“Sad to hear Jim Marshall has died. It’s fair to say his amps have changed all our lives. Thanks for the fun times, Jim!”


News: TesseracT Release a Trailer for their Forthcoming Perspective EP

TesseracT have released a trailer for their upcoming Perspective EP featuring clips of the songs that will feature on it. They’ve also explained that the EP was inspired by an acoustic session they did during their 2011 tour of the US which made them look at their songs in a different way to make them work in that setting. Check out the trailer below:

TesseracT’s Perspective EP will be released in Europe on May 21st through Century Media. This will be the first recorded material featuring the band’s new vocalist Elliot Coleman. Pre-orders will be live soon.