Tesseract rebounds from another lead vocalist change to deliver their first full-length album, Altered State. Expectations were high for this band considering the high regard the Perspective EP received, and also getting the Best New Band trophy at 2012ís inaugural Progressive Music Awards in London. Fans will not be disappointed with this recording.
Tesseract is the sort of band, that upon hearing them, seem familiar, liked you've heard this before. (At times, they remind me of a more technical, sometimes heavier, Muse.) Then the more you listen the more you realize they're cutting their own path. Their progressive music definitely moves upon technical arrangements and skilled musicianship.
But Tesseract seems more content to develop an atmosphere for each song by using many elements from their musical palette, not the least of which is Ashe OíHara interesting vocal arrangements. There's also a rather unconventional democracy to each band members participation: nobody really gets to fly solo at any point. Sure there's some places where you may here brief moments of synths or bass alone but, for instance, there's no far flung guitar solos. The closest thing you get break out solo is the sax with Of Reality-Calabi-Yau. Altered State is definitely a unification of focus by five musicians.
The album is divided into four suites or parts: Of Matter, Of Mind, Of Reality, and Of Energy. According to the band, these are "simple musings on these different stages of change, on both the personal or micro scale of things of our everyday life, but also the macro and universal scale of things." How this is played out is in mammoth, densely crafted, arrangements of intriguing chord structures, delicate to symphonic synth layers, sophisticated bass lines, and frenetic drum work. Then there's shifting time signatures to contend with. Yet, even with all these things, longer, more complex, songs like Exile or Singularity don't overwhelm you. They merely capture your attention and keep it. Conversely, listening through Altered State you soon realize that those aforementioned elements create a certain amount predictability. You know what you're going to hear, Tesseract simply mixes up the combination, and this could be the monkey in the wrench moving forward. Yet, Altered State is still a fine accomplishment for the band, and an entertaining and intriguing listen. Recommended.
Tesseract's Altered State offers sophisticated and intriguing modern progressive metal for curious minds and ears that want something maybe a little outside the box.
Mat Sinner is both an icon and legend in the German, and the larger European, hard rock and heavy metal scene. Cranking out music since 1982, Sinner is an industrious and prolific musician and producer whether through his namesake band, the heavy metal heroes Primal ... [ Read More ]