C O N T R O L by TesaRelease date: May 29, 2020
Label: My Proud Mountain
It can be fascinating trying to figure out why one artist gets picked up and promoted whilst others in the genre just don’t reach that same level of coverage. Over the last decade the releases and styles of Tesa and Year of No Light have crossed like ships in the night, but one band has become a worldwide name whilst the other less so. Maybe Latvia doesn’t receive the coverage that the French music scene does but Tesa has certainly created albums which are some of the genre’s highlights. Five years after G H O S T comes C O N T R O L which is heavy, atmospheric and covers new ground without losing familiarity or being a rehash of their work, or their contemporaries. This is a breath-taking accomplishment and another standout in the world of instrumental post-metal.
C O N T R O L is one journey split over six tracks and each is individual in its narrative. The band has gelled these songs together using synthetics and distortion, so whilst you get greatest enjoyment from consuming it whole each song works just as strongly by itself. The other piece of glue on the album is the pulsing drum work of Janis Burmeisters who plays like an octopus and has a superb ability to conjure up visuals in your mind through his playing and tone. On ‘Control 4’ he takes you from the dusty blackened Americana of Wayfarer to the glacial high-hat beats of Cult of Luna and his tempo throughout really drives the tracks which allows the band to truly experiment.
As the beating heart Burmeisters builds on the rich dark atmospheric undercurrent to free bassist Karlis Tone and guitarist Davis Burmeisters to diverge and reconnect as if they were both on guitar. ‘Control 1’ has several phases it passes through where the guitar forges new paths and the bass thunders in the ground it vacated. There are great moments of build up and stunning moments of release on many of the songs. An example of that is ‘Control 2’ which feels like a much leaner UFOMammut and Cult of Luna collaboration with an edge of psychedelic doom and huge volumes of post-metal flavour.
It is amazing that three people can create such an atmosphere and such a noise when other bands require numerous other individuals. The steady high tempo that is employed through the Tesa back catalogue means there are plenty of moments to let loose with some headbanging so beware if you aren’t into public displays of involuntary convulsions on your commute to work, at least now you get two meters to yourself.
Outside of atmospheric interlude ‘Control 3’, any track on this album will give you a good flavour of what Tesa is about. Pounding drums, swirling noise, heavy deep bass and adventurous guitar that bursts from meandering to riffing. I really hope that C O N T R O L will garnish the attention it deserves as there is no doubting that this release is going to be near the top of my year end list. If something were to beat it to the number one spot, then 2020 may rank as one of finest years for my musical taste.