metal talk
Search here...
metal talk


  TESSERACT
'Altered State'
(Century Media)


Michael Downie

michael downie



tesseract altered state

Djent. It's a horrible word. An onomatopoeic description of a low tuned, compressed and muted guitar note, it was coined to describe a movement of heavily progressive bands influenced by the mathematic noodlings of Meshuggah. Bands such as Periphery, Fellsilent and the subject of this review, TesseracT are all credited with creating and popularising the sub-genre, allowing for the term to build and represent a whole new 'scene' amongst the youth of the world.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of bands don't like to be known as a djent band and they're all starting to move away from the term and conventions of the genre. With their new album, 'Altered State', TesseracT are making the first tentative steps away from djent into a wider progressive world.

After a turbulent 2012 for the band, consisting of cancelled shows and tours, the departure of Elliot Coleman on vocals and a lull in public interest in djent, the TesseracT boys are back and ready to take the world on again. This time, things are very different.

Article continues below...



'Altered State' takes you on a prog-tastic journey of discovery, telling a rough story of the struggles the band have experienced since formation. The album is separated into four movements; 'Of Matter', 'Of Mind', 'Of Reality' and 'Of Energy'. Each of these movements represents a different transformation the band has experienced in the few years since it's inception. The album is laid out as one continuous piece of music, each track flowing seamlessly in and out of each other. If you don't pay attention when you listen to this album it's very easy to get lost and not notice when a track has changed, which is no bad thing, trust me.

The sound of 'Altered State' is very different to their debut album 'One'. This is partly down to the band's new frontman, Ashe O'Hara. Whereas on 'One', Dan Tompkins blended clean singing with moments of tortured screaming and on 'Perspective' Elliot used his sweet voice and high range to bring a new edge to the acoustic nature of the tracks, Ashe combines the best of both previous singers and adds his own twist to the TesseracT sound. The standout track for me would have to be 'Nocturne', it features the greatest jumps in Ashe's range and also happens to be the catchiest song TesseracT have ever written, certainly the most accessible.

Unlike the earlier TesseracT releases, there are no harsh vocals, at all on this album. Ashe sings everything with a perfect clarity and a wonderful timbre to his voice. He also proves that you don't need to scream to be powerful, his soaring vocals push the soundscape further and further into your mind whenever he lets loose and really belts out a line.

Musically, the band have started to shift slightly away from the djent tropes while maintaining their signature sound. The guitars in particular have been slightly reworked, the tone much more focussed and compressed, but slightly lower in the mix to allow the ambient instruments to wash over the sound scape. For example, 'Exile' has sections which clean, chiming chords and lead lines which are accented by distorted rhythm guitars. Most bands would use a clean line to emphasise a distorted rhythm or riff whereas TesseracT use the distortion to emphasise the clean lines. It's wonderfully subversive and adds a delightfully epic edge to the whole album.

In particular, it is worth mentioning that Acle Kahney and James Monteith have to be two of the most underrated and underexposed modern metal guitarists. Their skills in performance and composition on this album are phenomenal. In particular, they know when to be quiet and clean things up rather than just rocking out entirely. They can go ambient and intense (such as when they're backing up the amazing sax solo in 'Calabi-Yau') and then just as easily go groovy as fuck with the likes of 'Singularity'. Any guitarist worth his salt should pay attention to how Acle and James play on this album. Eyes will be opened.

Bassists, as well, have plenty to listen for in Amos Williams' playing. Because of the ambient nature of some of the tracks and the intensely compressed guitars, you can hear the bass pretty consistently through the whole album. Amos can chug away with the best of them, rumbling along with Acle and James' intricate riffery, but it's when things get quiet that he really gets to show his stuff. In 'Resist', the guitars are more ambient, but Amos is there, sitting right behind Ashe's vocals, quietly building until the track kicks off proper and he gets to thunder away, driving the track along. But then, moving into 'Nocturne', he gets to slap that low string and deliver some very chunky riffing throughout the verses and chorus. It's nice to be able to hear a bass player in a band of this stature doing things a little bit differently.

When it comes to TesseracT, I've always felt for Jamie Postones. As the drummer, he has the hardest job in the band of making sure all of the polyrhythmic riffing stays in time. This album very rarely strays into 4/4 time, there is always an odd meter or a strange rhythm to be played. In particular, one of my favourite tracks to listen to for the drumming is 'Eclipse'. It has a lumbering rhythm that you expect to fall over into a 4/4 beat at any time, but it never does. Jamie's skill is that he can play these unnervingly complex beats and rhythms without overselling them with huge amounts of fills or flashy work, he plays effortless and deceptively simple patterns so as not to distract from the music or the vocals. The temptation with progressive drummers is to be flashy for the sake of it, which is a trap that Jamie doesn't fall into.

A special mention has to be made towards the production of 'Altered State'. Produced by Acle and Amos, it sounds utterly superb. The whole album is wallopingly epic, full of gorgeous soundscapes that evoke so many different thoughts and images in my head it's impossible to know where to start. The album is flawlessly put together and mixed professionally, no single instrument gets precedent over another. Even Ashe's vocals get pushed back when it's necessary. It's a master class in how to make a gorgeous sounding album.

I have to admit, I was worried for TesseracT. I thought after the 2012 they had that there may not be a recovery and the band would implode like so many others have in the past. Fortunately, they managed to get their shit together and have put out a near perfect album to show the world that they are still relevant.

TesseracT may have had a hand in creating djent, but they're no longer a djent band. This is pure, unadulterated prog metal. It's grand, it's complex, it's beautiful and in my humble opinion, it's not to be missed.




beer beer beerbeerbeer


24.5.13











 

bill price GUNS N' ROSES AND SEX PISTOLS PRODUCER/ENGINEER BILL PRICE HAS SADLY PASSED AWAY
Price worked with Rod Stewart, INXS, Pete Townshend, Elton John, The Jesus And Mary Chain and Big Audio Dynamite...

fish marillion FISH CELEBRATES 30th ANNIVERSARY OF 'CLUTCHING AT STRAWS' WITH UK TOUR
"These are the only dates this year as because of my shoulder operation next month with the extensive recovery period..."

ross the boss UK EXCLUSIVE: ROSS THE BOSS ANNOUNCES TOUR DATES AHEAD OF SPECIAL GUEST SLOT ON MetalTalk RADIO THIS WEEK
"We are going to devastate every audience, every night, without mercy..."

dokken WAS BREAKING NEWS: CLASSIC DOKKEN LINE-UP CONFIRMED FOR RAMBLIN' MAN
Dokken, Lynch, Pilson and Brown will play together in England for the first time in around a quarter-of-a-century...

grand magus DEF LEPPARD AND POISON ANNOUNCE NORTH AMERICAN DATES
"I could not be more excited. I know all of us will give one thousand percent on stage..."

grand magus VIKINGS TO INVADE YORKSHIRE: GRAND MAGUS TO HEADLINE KEIGHLEY FESTIVAL
"Get your tickets now and prepare to raise your fists and bang your heads for the glory of Metal!"

armored saint ARMORED SAINT UK TOUR DATES AND 'MARCH OF THE SAINT (LIVE)' VIDEO ARE HERE
"We're really looking forward to playing these select UK shows in March..."

screaming eagles SCREAMING EAGLES TO FEATURE IN NEW AMAZON PRIME SERIES STARRING BRYAN CRANSTON
The band will be releasing a live mini-album in spring 2017 and will be touring in the UK, France and Germany throughout the year...

martyrd MARTYRD SET TO OPEN FOR METAL ALLEGIANCE, MARTY FRIEDMAN AND GUS G
"NAMM is a blast, total musical sensory overload from every direction. It’s like getting lost in a hurricane - I can't wait."

john garcia EXCLUSIVE WORLD PREMIERE: JOHN GARCIA UNLEASHES 'GIVE ME 250ml'
"This record is one of the most important of my career, difficult and challenging to do, but worth every minute of sweat!"

avenged sevenfold WAS BREAKING NEWS: AVENGED SEVENFOLD TO OPEN LONDON POP-UP STORE
The shop will be hosting in-store raffles and giveaways of exclusive and signed merchandise...

avenged sevenfold ROCK MEETS CLASSIC 2017 EUROPE LINE-UP IS HERE
Rock meets Classic has a terrific vibe and the legendary cross-over-project combines emotional classic with world-famous rock songs...

paddy goes to holyhead PADDY GOES TO HOLYHEAD ARE BACK FOR THE CRAIC ON ST PATRICK'S NIGHT
The band supposedly played their last ever gig two years ago in celebration of their 30th anniversary...

nightlord EXCLUSIVE THE UNKNOWN BAND WHO INFLUENCED METALLICA AIRS ON MetalTalk RADIO
Also featuring is the very first UK radio airplay of Cellar Darling, the band created by former Eluveitie members...

epica EPICA RELEASE 'BEYOND THE MATRIX' VIDEO - WATCH IT HERE
"The energy that lives within 'Beyond The Matrix' is extremely contagious. It will sweep you off your feet when the melodies enter your mind..."

nightlord JOHN COGHLAN'S QUO BACK ON THE ROAD AGAIN
John Coghlan's Quo have announced UK dates across the Kingdom that will see them busy throughout the year...

jimmy bain JIMMY BAIN'S WIDOW NEEDS OUR HELP
"Jimmy recently passed away without a proper will in place and now his better half is in trouble..."

michael schenker MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST 'LIVE' TOKYO FEATURING BARDEN, BONNET AND McAULEY OUT IN MARCH
Features guest appearances from some of the greatest rock vocalists who have worked with Schenker...

ozzy osbourne OZZY OSBOURNE OVERDOSED WHEN SHARON HAD CANCER
"I watched him scoop his hands into a bowl of pills, swallow a handful of something, and then wash it down with vodka..."

eluveitie ELUVEITIE NEW LINE-UP IS COMPLETE, FIRST GIGS GO DOWN A STORM
"Above all we're super happy and thankful that we're complete again and given the chance to have such gifted musicians on board..."

gene simmons GENE SIMMONS RESTAURANT HONOURS US VETS
"The opening day of every Rock & Brews is dedicated to our vets, the public is not allowed in."

deep purple DEEP PURPLE SUE THEIR LONG-TIME ACCOUNTANT FOR FOUR MILLION
"I'm completely irresponsible. I'm ignorant about money as a commodity — I have never really understood it."

tony iommi UK EXCLUSIVE: VINCE NEIL FIST FIGHT WITH BOY GEORGE STOPPED AS ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER SHUTS UP PRESIDENT TRUMP
"They screwed up. That was a huge miss and someone should have a talking-to."

tony iommi GLENN HUGHES: "I'M THRILLED TO BE TOURING THE UK IN JANUARY"
"Let's get 2017 going with a killer night for ROCK lovers, movers and shakers. I'm in. Let's go!"

tony iommi TONY IOMMI HAS SUCCESSFUL THROAT OPERATION AND IS CANCER-FREE
"We had to have it checked in case it may have been cancerous. But it turns out it wasn't, which I found out Christmas Day..."

ronnie montrose RONNIE MONTROSE REMEMBERED: ALL-STAR MEMORIAL CONCERT TO TAKE PLACE AT NAMM 2017
"Ronnie helped light a fire in me and made me want to approach guitar playing with that kind of zeal and expression..."

motorhead beer PHIL CAMPBELL AND MIKKEY DEE TO APPEAR AT MOTÖRHEAD BEER LAUNCH IN LONDON
This is sure to be one superb night with beer, live music and Motörhead, but not necessarily in that order...

tony iommi BLACK STAR RIDERS PREMIERE 'TESTIFY OR SAY GOODBYE'
Black Star Riders are set to release their forthcoming album 'Heavy Fire' on 3rd February via Nuclear Blast...

tony iommi BREAKING NEWS: TONY IOMMI DROPS HEAVY METAL AND JOINS THE CHOIR
"It's a bit different to Sabbath!" says Tony, in probably the biggest understatement of all time...

tony iommi ROCK MUSIC IN SUPERHERO MOVIES
It's pretty wild to think that this whole ride that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe started off with a little AC/DC...

jimi hendrix JIMI HENDRIX'S WAH-WAH PEDAL AND AMP SURVIVES AUCTION HOUSE BURGLARY
"It was a very positive and uplifting experience to work for Jimi. He was like a shaman, a medicine man, a preacher.."

alestorm ALESTORM ENTER FLORIDA STUDIO BUT A CHALLENGE AWAITS THEM BACK IN BLIGHTY
"It is full of epic songs about pirates, drinking, and pseudoscientific cryptogeography..."

queen QUEEN GUITARIST BRIAN MAY WANTS TO BRING ROCK TO A NEW GENERATION
"It was actually all very planned and deliberate and came totally out of Freddie's fevered imagination..."

phil lynott MASS TRIBUTES PAID TO PHIL LYNOTT ON ANNIVERSARY OF HIS PASSING
"God bless my old friend, thanks for the faith you showed in allowing me to record your music..."

black country communion BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION ENTER STUDIO TO BEGIN WORK ON FOURTH ALBUM
"One thing I want to make clear to everybody across air nation is that Joe Bonamassa and I never fell out..."

hair metal heaven BLAZE BAYLEY BRAND NEW ALBUM AND WORLD TOUR DETAILS ARE HERE
'Endure And Survive' is set for release on 3rd March 2017 and will be accompanied by a world tour totalling some 120 shows...

hair metal heaven HAIR METAL HEAVEN FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES FIRST ACTS FOR INAUGURAL EVENT
The Hair Metal Heaven Festival has a very eighties feel to it, as the team behind it explain here...

motorhead EXCLUSIVE TEST PILOT DROPS TWO GRAND ON NEW MOTÖRHEAD VIDEO SLOT
"A few spins later and I turned up a row of gold Snaggletooths which promptly caught fire and the voice of the man himself commanded: 'Turn it up!'"

deep purple DEEP PURPLE RELEASE NEW 'inFinite' TRAILERS AND EXPECTED ALBUM FORMATS
'Time For Bedlam', the first single which was revealed late last year, is available as instant grat as part of the digital album pre-order...

hollywood AEROSMITH FAREWELL TOUR COULD LAST FIVE YEARS
"We had a talk a few weeks back about going into the studio. When that'll happen, though, I'm not sure. We certainly have plenty of ideas..."

rick parfitt EXCLUSIVE MEGADETH MAINMAN DAVE MUSTAINE REVEALS HE'S AN ARSENAL FC SUPPORTER
Megadeth, formed in Los Angeles in 1983 after Dave left Metallica, are currently enjoying a rich vein of form...

hollywood FORMER PEARL JAM DRUMMER HITS OUT AT THE BAND
"We need music, each other and the spirit of Rock & Roll now, more than ever before..."

hollywood HOLLYWOOD SIGN CHANGED BY PRANKSTERS TO READ 'HOLLYWEED'
"An artist's role throughout history has been to create representations of the culture he exists in..."

metallica METALLICA GUITARIST KIRK HAMMETT'S HOME FOR SALE FOR £16m
Apparently a house like this doubles its asking price every six or seven years...

kiss EXCLUSIVE KISS' GENE SIMMONS DROPS BIGGEST HINT YET THAT ACE FREHLEY REUNION IS ON
Over 7,000 likes later, fans are in big speculation that it really is going to happen...

rick parfitt WAS BREAKING NEWS: BLOODSTOCK UNVEIL SECOND 2017 HEADLINER
"Megadeth had a blast last time and I can't wait to bring the Dystopia World Tour to Bloodstock this Summer."

rick parfitt EXCLUSIVE JOHN COGHLAN REVEALS TWO NEW TRACKS WITH RICK PARFITT ARE NEARLY READY FOR RELEASE
"It was going to be Status Quo PLC [Parfitt, Lancaster, Coghlan] and that was Francis' idea originally."

wizz wizzard WIZZ WIZZARD VOCALIST WIZZ BEAUPREZ HAS PASSED AWAY
Wizz Wizzard were signed to Rock Sector Records and labelmate Chris Appleton of Absolva led the tributes...

ronnie james dio RONNIE JAMES DIO TO TOUR IN 2017
"It was very emotional. I didn't think that I was gonna cry, but I did. I broke down...."

metal talk
© All written site content is copyright MetalTalk.net 2008-2017, unless otherwise stated, and is not to be used without prior permission.
Ads raid data recovery