“TesseracT exists because of technology” – Marvel-worthy video production, video games and visual worlds are the outputs of prog-metal megatrons, TesseracT

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“TesseracT exists because of technology” – Marvel-worthy video production, video games and visual worlds are the outputs of prog-metal megatrons, TesseracT

Image credit: Andy Ford
Words by Tammy Walters

Spearing into the country this weekend for two shows at the Croxton on Saturday 4 May and Sunday 5 May, UK prog-metal heavyweights TesseracT, are gearing up for a spectacular stage show set to match their mammoth sound.

Whilst the toils of touring our continent have come into play in the past, this time the band are ready to offer visual production worthy of their on-stage output.

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

“We’re lucky enough actually that we are going to be bringing some form of production – it’s always been really hard for us in Australia before because of flying between shows and things not necessarily been available to create a consistent look. But on this time our lighting designer is from the [Australian] east coast, so he’ll be able to make sure that we have a good package at each show,” explains bassist Amos Williams. 

“We’ve also been kind of dabbling with, and experimenting with, some theatrical elements so that’s a new thing for us and we’re still very much developing it at every show so you’ll see some of that in this upcoming tour.”

It’s only fitting to match their 2023 visual-heavy concept album, War of Being, which included a 13-minute cinematographic epic for the titular track’s music video, an undertaking which took two years to complete. As the fifth studio album from the British band, War of Being went beyond the scope of sound, integrating visual elements throughout and subsequently resulting in the development of a video game. Developed with Unreal Engine 5, the game is compatible with both VR and desktop platforms and steps further into the album world. 

“TesseracT exists because of technology and you could roll it back and say that the sophistication – that word is laden with such intellectual complexity that I don’t mean to apply to what we do – but the level of success of an idea or the level of sophistication of a recording or a production is only really possible because of technology,” says Williams.

“I feel we are a product of our technology and as such progressive metal is definitely a product that a lot of ideas wouldn’t get the level – I don’t mean that they’re superior or that they are complex – I just mean that they wouldn’t get to the level of development they are able to without being able to just sit down with an instrument and recorded into a computer and almost to stop time and just to be able to go over those ideas or allow those ideas to develop over a long time. Then you can share those parts with other musicians and they can almost go back to this moment of that creation and redevelop and change the song – that is essentially TesseracT. This last album was interesting because there were moments where we didn’t have ideas already laid out and we had to create new ones in the moment.”

TesseracT have always been know for their complex arrangements, refined sound and boundary-pushing package but on this latest album the elevation was two fold. It’s the production value of War of Being that has allowed for such technological scope, which Williams credits to not only their world-building songwriting but to onboarding new ears to take their tracks to new heights.

“We had two producers working with us who arguably shaped some of the most powerful elements of this album and, in fact, in a few instances, used the inspiration of the ideas we had and wrote independently on top of those and then gave them to us. It’s something that we’ve never done before and I don’t know if we will do it again. I loved it,” he explains. 

“They’re all quite simple bits that just when woven together make up a fairly complex appearing tapestry and to me these new elements just felt more akin to what I imagined we are rather than what I experienced us to be which is really interesting. It’s certainly able to reach emotional heights that I found really interesting and also those production ideas added a fresh dimension to us that we’ve never really had before which I thought was awesome and I’d love to do again.”

With the marrying of technology and the limitless possibility of the breakdown of conventional structures and the anything goes attitude of progressive metal tying together TesseracT, the band are almost unrestrained in the music-making dimension. Almost. 

“We certainly can do what we want, you know. That’s almost a bit of a weight to carry around your neck and I think I find that with a lot of maybe more of the extreme progressive music or the more underground aggressive music that there’s the expectation that “oh we actually have to do something unexpected at this point” and then that becomes a little bit tedious in and of itself. You then miss the point which is honoring the idea and serving the song to its best point but then not being limited as to your options to where that’s developed. But, yeah it’s always exciting to be able to sit down and go “well cool we can do anything”, then it’s also quite terrifying to go “what shall we do then”.”

With that in mind, what becomes of TesseracT; a band who have built bridges between mediums and have no restrictions? What will their next album look like? Is a production company on the horizon?

“That would be cool – I would love to start a production company,” laughs Williams.

“But I can’t see us pulling another album like this out of the ether within the next few years, I don’t think that would be sensible. This album has been powerful and it has opened a lot of doors for us outside of music, and it’s going to be really fun to see where things like games, movies, and books go.” 

Final tickets are available to their Sunday 5 May show and can be purchased here. It’s promised to be an unbelievable experience for Australian fans.