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TesseracT - Altered State (Album Review)

Monday, 13 May 2013 Written by Jonny Rimmer

Rewind back a year and the state of things was unclear in the TesseracT camp. Having lost their second vocalist within a year, it looked like we might have lost yet another talented British rock group. The band’s debut LP One was a breath of fresh air in an overcrowded tech metal scene, whereas the experimental Perspective EP was met with mixed reviews. And so with the announcement that the band had procured their fourth official lead vocalist to let rip over polyrhythmic grooves and eerie guitar tones, there was a sense of both relief and trepidation. 

Luckily for us, 'Altered State' is an excellent achievement and possibly the finest Djent record released on these shores. Album two is much more focused and well-structured than its predecessor for starters; where there was one long centrepiece on 'One', we are treated to three distinct sections of music this time around. The band have also improved on almost every aspect of their sound, with production that better caters for their densely textural approach.  

For the boffins out there, fear not, this is as rhythmically as “djenty” as ever. Even stripping back all the melody and reverb, TesseracT still operate with abstruse templates and time signatures as confidently as most bands would with 4/4. It is everything else that makes this particular band shine though. In Ashe O’Hara, for example, they have found an absolute gem. His Buckley-esque inflections and passionate delivery suits both the band’s atmospheric and aggressive qualities well. Even on long, unpredictable tracks like ‘Exile’ he steals the show here with his presence.  

Unlike 'One', I’d argue that this album’s heavier tracks are actually the better, with less reliance on simple groove and more emphasis on dynamics and building up to those powerful crescendos. ‘Nocturne’ is a particular highlight with a dreamlike chorus and a huge fist-pumping pay-off. Sometimes the band try and do a few too many things at once – ‘Eclipse’ seems to segue a tickly synth pattern into a syncopated, jazzy interlude at one point – but then they also throw in mind-blowing curveballs like the incredibly fitting saxophone part of ‘Calabi-Yau’. 

It seems odd to label this band as metal when they lack growls, guitar solos and other distinctive features, but then it could be argued that TesseracT are just performing their own melodramatic brand of post-rock (well, with a Meshuggah inspired rhythm section). Either way, they’re top tier competitors in a congested field, and this marks another leap forward in their exciting development.

'Altered State' is released on May 27th, 2013 via Century Media Records. Tesseract are currently on a UK tour.

Tesseract UK Tour Dates are as follows

Mon May 13th 2013 - Ivory Blacks, Glasgow
Tue May 14th 2013 - The Roadhouse - Manchester, Manchester
Wed May 15th 2013 - Fleece, Bristol
Thu May 16th 2013 - O2 Academy Islington, London

Click Here to Compare & Buy Tesseract Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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