Review of "Altered State - Tesseract"

published 03/08/2015 | SirJoseph
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Farewell chums... Our reviews will hopefully help consumers unless they take down the site completely... Perhaps one day someone will recognise the hard work we've done and come up with a better way to utilise it than the French ;) ta ta
Pro Vocals, Musicianship, Technicality, Theme, Original
Cons Songs Too Short & Too Long, Recycled Riffs, Pompous
Quality and consistency of tracks
Cover / Inlay Design and Content
Value for Money

"Ultracrepidarian Opinion Of D-D-D-D-Djent Forerunners"

Altered State - Tesseract

Altered State - Tesseract

Djent Radar

Hailing from only an hour away in Milton Keynes, the progressive metal 5 piece Tesseract have long been on the Djent radar. Back in 2011 when the genre was witnessing a turn to digital tones and seven (eight and sometimes nine) string guitars, this British outfit released their debut album in One - nearly an hours worth of ambient experimental rock that liked to dwindle on a bit and eventually due to repeated requests, saw an instrumental version surface. It should be said that the online communities, especially concerning the likes of Djent, aren't exactly the most welcoming or tolerant when it comes to vocals - or at least not the main theme of using higher pitch vocalists to compensate for the various low tunings and string gauges. Tesseract are no different in their approach concerning a singer in Daniel Tompkins at present - nor in this albums frontman Ashe O'Hara. They've even stuck with the industry standard in terms of design, lyrics and names - most of which follows a pattern of etherial subject matter, desaturated psychedelic geometry art and an air of the philosophunculist about the whole occasion. That's the vibe you'll get when watching pretty much any lyric video on youtube for a 'progressive' metal band and Tesseract are no different. They may even be the progenitors, who knows? Certainly not the busy bodies stalking the alternative music forums with cries of Meshuggah!
Of Matter, I, II, & III

Proxy is up first with those classy ambient tones returning from past exploits, building a miasmic atmosphere as O'Hara chimes in with a delicate "I'm a surrogate. I'm archetypal and itinerant. I'm your excuse to long... For a superior. I will undertake. I will overcome." Not even going to bother trying to decipher the meaning there other than getting a whiff of the aforementioned superiority and yet a lost but hopeful human being. When the real music hits, it is methodical and high in treble and bass. A bit of low-key mad professor musicianship goes on in the background as if it's the most normal thing in the world. Some everyday, understandable words appear later on with "I can't fight you anymore. Threatened by the open door. All the chances I ignore, I can't stand still anymore!" revealing a little more into the psyche of the lyricist and showing that they can indeed write stuff that's literally more down to earth, approachable and even showing a common rhyming scheme.

After seamlessly fading into part II, Retrospect the dangling acoustic notes continue, but a light, lofty harmonic vocal bathes the intimate melody like caramel over more caramel. D D DUN DUN D D DUN DUN that 7th string interrupts for a moment only for the intro to return with more impetus on a more sinister direction, picking up for a decent finish. "your assumption brings to a conclusion of no consequence and I refuse to play into your hands for your appeal." being the catchiest part. No. III Resist gets the faded intro treatment too, with a prolonged beginning, it feels much more like a singer showcase than a team effort. At least for a minute and a half anyway. It's here that some of the overlaying guitar whines become tiresome for me. They may be sticking to this 'Of Matter' concept, but that's no excuse for such shoddy recycling. I eat those words moments later when the melodies of the rhythm section take on a new beat that's chunky enough to fill out the shortest track so far at 3 minutes 40 seconds.

Of Mind, I & II

I. Nocturne is the rightful heir that's the harbinger single to the album. That simplistic, gut churning intro that scatters into whispering palm mutes is just a lovely contrast, especially when we're gifted with more words we can all actually relate to. "Climb - you're dehydrated. Fly - your wings are jaded. Cry you're enervated. Die - for what you believe in. Try - you've nearly made it. Why?" Then the mother of all slightly complex choruses reveals itself in "You're the plague within my dreams. Soaring through an atmosphere of an adequate lack of strength." sang in such a manner that belies a tortured artist's soul. Spectacular instrumentation remains as strident as ever, but it really is the frontman who takes centre stage here, showing huge range and emotion the likes of which outsiders to the genre would normally misconstrue as 'just screaming' - since this isn't, I do ponder the outside opinion. You'd also be surprised to learn that this songs name initially sounds like the musical definition but actually makes more sense lumped in the art category. No romantic overtones here...

Part II, Exile doesn't follow in the footsteps of the previous. Even lower sounding strings, twanging against the fretboards, with that equally downtrodden vocal whaling in sadness. I grow weary of the songs monkey shines just hearing the word "Equilibrium" (Flashbacks to that God-awful Christian Bale film) Don't get me wrong, it's a valiant effort to make some clashing notes fit together without sounding a complete mess, it's just it's all background noise at this point. A mention of a "Prophecy" is a surprising turn of events, all things considered - that's much too common a song path for this band. Christ this song is long... nearly 9 minutes of neutrality.
Of Reality, I, II, & III

I. Eclipse is akin to it's namesake - but instead of being solar or lunar, the heavenly body is ballooner because the guitar sounds like the ear crunching, squeaky sound you get when you twist and scratch them. A funkatronic breakdown midway through saves the song for future playlists. II is called... Palingenesis - Yeah, no I'm not even going to pretend I know what that means. *Looks up meaning* Ok! So more conceptual, philosophical bullsh*t, gotcha! Anyway, all the googling means the song past me by and does little to titillate or spark controversy as much as the meaning of it may suggest with recreation, rebirth and evolution. Calabi-Yau *Sigh* ...Back to Google... "a special type of manifold that is described in certain branches of mathematics such as algebraic geometry" - SEE, SEE?! What did I tell you about the bloody recurring theme of maths class? Right, so with my ego slightly inflated, I can tell you that cal-a-beh yaaaoow or however you pronounce it is a whimsical delight thanks to a saxophone solo! You read that right, a sax has made it's way into a metal album - They don't call it progressive for nothing you know. Regardless, I dig it, I dig it very much since it injects a much needed dose of jazz into the sound. Whether or not it fits is questionable, it's preppy nature however is irrevocable.
Of Energy, I & II

I. Singularity - Now THAT'S a name generic for the genre. Fresh out of a Stephen Hawking manuscript, the songs direction would match that of a real space time singularity - an apt soundtrack for imagining an event where things like matter (see tracks 1-3) and to some extent, reality (tracks 6-5) distort to everything and nothing. Sounds as cool as a poorly explained science physics lesson but the song itself is no mug. II. Embers picks up where I. left off. Right now I feel tired for having to sit through such an extensive bit of pioneering music and can only really recall the swift intro and soothing saxophone reprisal to close out the album. As much as I enjoy a select few songs from this effort, most of the others are only worthy of background music for when 'that friend' comes over and demands Djent or when you want to do some serious revision for your astrophysics essay. That and they haven't managed to top their best song from 'One' in my eyes (ears) - Concealing Fate, Part Two: Deception Oh yeah, they've been doing this awkward song naming thing since day 'One'.

Track List & Rating Out of 10
1. Of Matter I. - Proxy - 8
2. Of Matter II. - Retrospect - 7
3. Of Matter III. - Resist - 6
4. Of Mind I. - Nocturne - 9
5. Of Mind II. - Exile - 4
6. Of Reality I. - Eclipse - 5
7. Of Reality II. - Palingenesis - 4
8. Of Reality III. - Calabi-Yau - 7
9. Of Energy I. - Singularity - 6
10. Of Energy II. - Embers - 6

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Comments on this review

  • bettyboo47 published 02/09/2015
    well done on your lottery win.....have an E!!!
  • shellyjaneo published 16/08/2015
    vh x
  • RICHADA published 04/08/2015
    Superb. R.
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Product Information : Altered State - Tesseract

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Sub Genre: Progressive Metal

Original Release Year: 2013

Performer: Tesseract

Label: Century Media

Studio / Live: Studio

EAN: 5051099827424

Title: Altered State

Format: Performer

Release Date: 27.05.2013

Pieces in Set: 1


Listed on Ciao since: 27/06/2015