Preview & Competition: TesseracT, Between The Buried & Me and Plini @ Manchester Academy 2
We have a TesseracT merch bundle to give away in celebration of this now sold out triple act prog gig
Having now sold out, there is no doubt that this triple-pronged tour is one that has got progressive music fans across the country salivating in delight. Not only does it unite three wildly inventive and long adored progressive acts together on the kind of billing usually (and enviably) reserved for the States, but it couldn't have come at a better time with regards to the three artists respective careers too.
TesseracT, now with a more stable line-up than ever after a merry-go-round of vocalists over the past few years, their latest album, Sonder, reflects a band at a creative peak. Rippling with glassy vocal melodies and sharp, stabbing djent rhythms, it stands as some of the band's best work to date and a record that sits just as highly with both their diehard fans and newcomers alike. There’s not one weak track on the record, it flows perfectly and represents a developing and blossoming musical force.
Between The Buried And Me are hot off the heels of their two-part Automata record, released some six months apart earlier this year and the record is one of excellent, accolade deserving quality. Bearing the more commercial, clean vocal lavished musings of 2015's Coma Ecliptic and the grinding assault of their early, more death metal focussed releases; Automata I & II is a double release of balance, poise and experience. Multi-faceted and masterful at all those traits and styles, there's something for everyone here and that’s what helps makes it such a success.
Check out our reviews of Automata I & AutomataII
Australian virtuoso Plini meanwhile, having become the first instrumental guitar act to play Download festival last year, has been impressing the prog masses with his gorgeous djent/fusion cocktail on his latest, guest-smattered EP, Sunhead. One of this generation's truly iconic and individual guitarists, his music alone speaks volumes and he will no doubt set the perfect mood for next two musically adventurous acts. Last time he played Manchester he sold out Satans Hollow and this time around we get to see him on a bigger, better and more deserving stage.
Check out our review of Sunhead
The kind chaps at TesseracT have reached out to Manchester Rocks to offer one lucky reader a merch bundle to celebrate their return to our city. The bundle includes a t-shirt, mug, a Kscope Records tote bag and a CD copy of their stonking Sonder album.
To be in with a chance of winning like/follow us on Facebook or Instagram and drop us a message telling us your favorutie track off Sonder. The winner will be randomly chosen. Competition closes Thursday 22nd November at 9pm. The winner will be announced shortly after.
Kscope tote bag
CD copy of latest album Sonder.
Having played to an ever growing fanbase in North America on their 6-week tour in support of their new album Sonder and following a phenomenal set on Friday, when they headlined Download Festival’s Dogtooth Stage, TesseracT are excited to announce the UK & Ireland dates on their Sonder headline tour ‘We’re finally able to announce TesseracT’s return to our home shores! It’s been over 2 years since our last UK headline and we’re excited to bring our biggest and best show to our UK fans. We’re also in very good company, joining us - our friends, Between the Buried and Me and Plini - these shows are not to be missed...we’ll see you all there!’ enthuses vocalist Daniel Tompkins.
What if dreams could be broadcast for the purpose of entertainment? Could you consume the innermost thoughts of another person on screen? If you could, what does that say about an attention-starved audience? More importantly, what would become of the dreamer?
Between The Buried and Me pose those questions and more on their two-part eighth full-length and introductory offering for Sumerian Records, Automata. The North Carolina quintet—Tommy Giles Rogers, Jr. [lead vocals, keyboards], Paul Waggoner [lead and rhythm guitar, backing and lead vocals], Dustie Waring [rhythm and lead guitar], Blake Richardson [drums], and Dan Briggs [bass, keyboards]—explore these themes by personally smashing boundaries once again. Automata marks the band’s first proper double LP-spanning concept. Moreover, they continue to expand their ever-evolving style, upholding a tradition of progression in the process.
“We never want to repeat ourselves,” affirms Paul. “We’re always trying to do something different, and this album fell right into that sort of pattern. We push ourselves into new places, while retaining our basic sound. Musically, we go somewhere that’s fun and challenging. We never know how it’s going to turn out. These are uncharted waters for us. We’ve never written an entire piece and presented it in separate parts like this.”
Tommy agrees, “This many years into our career, we want to continue doing things differently.”
This approach cemented the group as progressive music’s most unpredictable outlier since its formation in 2000. Among many milestones, they released 2007’s watershed Colors followed by The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues EP in 2011 and The Parallax II: Future Sequence a year later. 2015 saw Coma Ecliptic elevate them to new heights yet again. Not only did it bow at #12 on the Billboard Top 200 (a career high for the band), but it also garnered widespread acclaim from Noisey, Revolver, Alternative Press, and The Guardian who welcomed the album with a rare perfect score. In between, they launched countless sold out headline tours and support runs with the likes of Mastodon.
Now, they break more ground with Automata.
“Lyrically, I wanted to write something that I treated as a puzzle until it comes together at the end,” continues Tommy. “For as deep and dark as it is, there’s a positive outcome, which we’ve never had. The story follow a protagonist whose dreams are used as entertainment broadcasted by a company called Voice of Trespass. Most of the record takes place within that dream. The character thinks it’s all real.”
“Even though it takes place in the future, there are a lot of parallels to modern society,” adds Paul. “Oftentimes, we turn athletes, movie stars, and musicians into commodities. We forget that they’re real people with problems and issues. They’re society’s escape from reality as we use them for entertainment. Hence, society plays a role in their downfall, be it drug dependence, isolation, or even suicide. Society perpetuates mental illness with those expectations.”
Automata – Part I unveils the first six songs comprising the entire body of work. Stretching near seven minutes, “Condemned to the Gallows” kicks off this journey. Acoustic guitar builds in epic fashion before sweeping distortion takes hold followed by unpredictable rhythms and a seismic vocal performance which, as Tommy puts it, “sets up the whole story.”
Elsewhere, the trudging eight-minute guitar symphony of “Yellow Eyes” spirals into the melodic bliss of “Millions.”
“There are a lot of moments where we totally venture away from the traditional formula of what a progressive metal band can do,” states Dan. “There are all these little moments where we’ve done something we never did before. ‘Millions’ is the perfect example. It’s four-minutes of straight melody—another first.”
With Automata Part I, Part II, and the myriad of visuals on the horizon, Between The Buried And Me realize their potential to its fullest—and go one step further.
“All of our music should build up to the newest record,” Tommy leaves off. “That’s what happens with Automata. You can take little snippets from our past throughout this album. It sounds like Between The Buried And Me, but it’s still new. We hope to keep the music industry on its toes. This is part of doing that.”
PLINI is an independent solo artist from Sydney, Australia. He composes, plays guitar, records, produces and manages his unique brand of instrumental progressive rock all from a bedroom studio. STEVE VAI described his critically-acclaimed debut album “Handmade Cities” as “one of the finest, forward thinking, melodic, rhythmically and harmonically deep, evolution of rock/metal instrumental guitar records I have ever heard.” PLINI was named “Best Prog Guitarist in the world right now” by Music Radar in 2017.
In addition to his own catalogue (an album, a trilogy of EPs and numerous singles), PLINI has recorded guest solos for artists from all over the world, including SKYHARBOR (India), INTERVALS (Canada), NOVELISTS (France), DAVID MAXIM MICIC (Serbia), MODERN DAY BABYLON (Czech Republic) and more. He has also released two singles for charity, “KO KI” (2014) and “EVERY PIECE MATTERS” (2016), raising over $10,000 for providing shelter and sustainable housing for communities in poverty in Cambodia.
In a short time since 2015, PLINI has already shared stages all over the world with artists like CYNIC,TESSERACT, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME and more. He also has a signature guitar with Strandberg Guitars, and endorsement deals with Yahama Music, Dunlop, D’Addario and Fractal Audio.
After a successful burst of sold-out Australian shows in 2015, PLINI was invited to support a couple of the instrumental genre’s biggest artists ANIMALS AS LEADERS and INTERVALS for more than a hundred different club and festival shows throughout North America and Europe in 2016.
Capitalising on the fast growth from these tours and the critical acclaim for his debut album, 2017 saw PLINI embark on highly successful headline tours of Europe, the UK, North America and Australia. These tours included dozens of sold out shows and performances at some of the world’s iconic clubs, including the Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles, The Borderline in London and the Basement in Sydney.