TesseracT: Altered State
To djent or not to djent, that apparently would appear to be the question for UK progressive metal act TesseracT, as fans backlash and singers desert the band in their droves. Take a quick squint across the ww of w-ness and it won't take you long to discover someone telling you TesseracT suck. Whether that be because they have changed, their singer sounds all girly, or that they just don't djent like the used to, in essence they suck. Get it?
Well no actually, they don't. In fact they're verging on really rather impressive and given time - and a stable frontman who sticks around for the long haul (or at least more than two releases...), TesseracT may turn into something special. As it is Altered State is an involving album with grand ideas and a grand concept, which for the most part weaves a spell that has you transfixed enough to happily want to experience it all over again. Whether it djents enough, I don't really care, the main point being that the melting pot of bulging riffs and melodious synth expulsions create a believable backdrop for the bands new, and fourth in nine years, singer to soar quite beautifully over the top of. This is atmospheric stuff, whether it is threatening to scythe your head off with an oft kept in check ferocity, or hypnotise you through its seductive softness. Either way the deeply autobiographical concept, explained by TesseracT as....
"Altered State is very simple. It is about change, and how life is change. We have been through a very difficult period of time over the last few years. It is a miracle that the band has survived. I feel it is the ability to step back and see everything for what it is (hence the Perspective EP) that has allowed us to get on with life and try to enjoy it. Reality is change
...is split into four segments, "Of Matter", "Of Mind", "Of Reality" and "Of Energy", with each having two or three individual movements within. The results make for an album that flows organically from track to track, taking you on a genuine musical journey where emotions are bared, opinions shared and intentions squared. Considering all the upheaval and that Altered State is actually only the band's second full release and fourth in total, what this album reveals is a mature outfit capable and willing to construct complex songs that still contain heart and soul - something all too often forgotten in this style of music. Singer Ashe O'Hara (who replaced Elliot Coleman who sang on the aforementioned Perspective EP and who replaced Daniel Tompkins, who sang on the One album and Concealing Fate EP who replaced...) has a quite beautiful style, which is as his detractors have already pointed out, a decidedly high pitched delivery. However he fits into his surroundings perfectly, with the mixture of his voice and the surprise of additional saxophone on "Of Reality - Calabi-Yau" and "Of Energy - Embers" being completely captivating. Crucially things are varied enough to hold your attention throughout, with the undoubted stars (aside from O'Hara) varying from song to song, Jay Postones's drums driving the tracks on deftly, Amos Williams adding a much needed bass-bottom end, while guitarists Acle Kahney and James Monteith create a fine mix of the uncompromising and the beguiling.
In the end TesseracT may have evolved more through necessity and circumstances than desire. However even through extremely tough internal and external pressures they arrived out the other side in an Altered State, stronger, leaner and on top form.
1. "Of Matter"
2. "Of Mind"
3. "Of Reality"
4. "Of Energy"
Added: June 27th 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: TesseracT Online
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