by Daniel Thorpe
Over the last few years, TesseracT have been slowly stirring up a storm with their unique blend of ‘djent’ and ambient progressive rock. These young British prog-rockers have often been lumped in the djent category with bands such as Periphery, Vildhjarta, and Veil of Maya. With this record they have completely blown away these sorts of lazy comparisons.
For me, TesseracT never really sounded like a ‘djent’ band anyway. There was so much more to TesseracT than that and with Altered State, they have created sonic pallets that most djent bands can only dream of. Yes, there are djent riffs, but that`s just a small part of what’s on offer.
Following on from their debut LP, the superb 2011 release, One, anticipation for Altered State has been huge. It simply doesn’t disappoint. Whereas One got a bit samey, with Altered State, right from the off, you are immersed with more textures, more variety and above all, more polished song writing than was ever present on their debut.
The album is broken down into 4 parts, “Of Mind”, “Of Matter”, “Of Reality” and “Of Energy”, and it is an album definitely made to listen to in its entirety and listened to closely. This is a bold move, in a time where bands are often advised to write an album full of singles, and release lots of them. TesseracT have ignored all such modern day ‘made for the net’ advice, and gone back to days of the past and made an album you really need to soak up from start to finish.
The album opens up with “Proxy” a beautiful soundscape that is genuinely touching. You then go on a journey full of huge riffs to powerful ethereal emotions and back again. Some of the stand out moments feature the simple but the dark brooding groove of “Nocturne” – their first single off the album, the hellish intro to “Eclipse” and the awesome power riffing of “Resist.” The contrast between the edgy, djent rhythms and the melodic, dreamy vocals are a joy to behold, and their new singer, Ashe O’Hara only adds to the atmosphere. Whereas most bands in a similar vein are screaming out inaudible noise over the top of these manic riffs, O’Hara creates an ambiance which only serves to heighten the sense of magic.
There’s such a huge variety of sounds on offer, the album even finishes with a saxophone on “Embers” to bring it to an emotive close. Don’t be fooled, this isn’t a djent album, or metal album; it’s a genuine proper rock album. There are a few moments where the album loses a touch of focus to towards the end and there could be a few more hooks, but other than that it`s pretty close to being perfect.
TesseracT are not huge yet, but nobody will mind if they keep making music this good. It`s an album made to be the best possible record and not to sell by the bucket load although it may well do. Catch them on tour with the brilliant Australian prog rockers, Karnivool later on in the year. You’ll be in for a treat.
Stand out tracks: Singularity, Eclipse
Daniel Thorpe writes for Rockstar Guitar Tuition and he offers guitar lessons in Birmingham, UK. Check out his guitar blog for tips and techniques on improving your guitar skills.