TesseracT – Altered State (2013)


TesseracT’s fanbase stretches worldwide. Wonder why? Well, they’re an experimental progressive metal band whose experimenting has done them a whole lot of justice, and continues to do so upon the release of this UK band’s latest album, Altered State. It features simplistic as always, yet very eye-catching, album art that still somehow manages to portray their personal style quite accurately. This is the first album released featuring the band’s latest vocalist, Ashe O’Hara – who is quickly becoming one of my favourite clean vocalists, quite possibly within the first 10 seconds of the album’s first track, “Of Matter – Proxy.” I’m typically one to disapprove of cleans in the metal world, but when it comes to O’Hara’s vocals, I’d actually question one’s interests if they didn’t have some type of appreciation for his talent. This album begs for attention and really deserves to be listened to. Much the same, it could be played in the background and still create a lot of interest. I recommend sitting through the whole thing and listening to the way each song progresses and how the album comes together as a whole, especially with consideration of the interesting way the tracks have been organized. This album appears as ten tracks, but if you notice, it is separated by four “movements” going by “Of Matter,” “Of Mind,” “Of Reality” and “Of Energy.” This feature displays that many tracks have the ability to flow into each other, but also the ability to differentiate themselves from one to the next. The thought behind this attribute of the album adds to TesseracT’s uniqueness and respectability.

The addition of Chris Barretto on sax to this album is yet another striking quality. The first saxophone solo in “Of Reality – Calabi-Yau” must be brought to the attention of those who have not already had the chance to hear it and must be given an honourable mention. It keeps up perfectly with the intensity of the whole album, but still manages to slow down and finish softly. Thus following my favourite movement track “Of Reality – Palingenesis,” loved simply for that bouncy guitar and bass, mixed with a slow, soothing voice; not to mention, true lyrical quality. It’s nice to see this metal band not shying away from discussing topics that hold a deeper meaning throughout their thought-inducing lyrics. To sum up the album, the last track of Altered State ends on another, less intense saxophone and guitar section, followed by approximately 10 seconds of almost complete silence. Huge props on the well-executed wrap-up of this album.

Before the album’s release, Century Media jokingly reported on Facebook that TesseracT turned in a “51-minute song as their next album.” That statement is quite easily explained by the fact that every song is followed up so flawlessly by the next. Altered State exemplifies an album where versatility and masterful musicianship keeps songs moving in a way that never allows you to lose interest (even if it secretly is just one really long, incredibly groovy song). TesseracT has been added to my “Must See Live” list.