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What does “tesseract” mean? Well the simple definition is “The four-dimensional analogue of a cube” and ‘Altered State’, the sophomore album from British modern djent/progressive metal act TesseracT is a multi faceted and intense listen which has got my brain working on overdrive to try and explain. Before I do that, I firstly have to point out that, since their inception, TesseracT seem to have had some pretty serious issues keeping a vocalist on board and, ironically (considering the name of the band), ‘Altered State’ sees vocalist number four take the microphone. I really hope, this time, that they can keep him because Ashe O’Hara (formerly of Voices From The Fuselage) is an absolutely perfect choice for them. Unlike the vocals of Daniel Tompkins on debut album ‘One’, who used clean and harsh vocals, O’Hara’s singing is completely clean and melodic and that marks a big shift for the band. TesseracT have been viewed as a pioneer of djent (a terrible word if I’m honest), but they are so innovative you can hear them progressing way beyond the confines of that genre on ‘Altered State’ to an area of music I’m much happier with. Even if the angular and polyrhythmic guitar sounds of Alce Kahney and James Monteith are still present and the almost incessant drum and bass rhythms of Jamie Postones and Amos Williams remain, this album sees them venture into new territory and an altered state! Imagine, if you can, what a modern day King Crimson might come up with and this could be it!

Cleverly split into four sections containing ten pieces of music, ‘Altered State’ has to be listened to in its entirety and viewed as one single piece of music to really do it justice. Named ‘Of Matter’, ‘Of Mind’, ‘Of Reality’ and ‘Of Energy’, each section deals with a myriad of feelings and emotions from a band point of view and from a wider perspective. Therefore, the album could be seen as a very personal statement or as a much larger entity, entirely depending on how you listen to the lyrics. Personally, the three pieces of music in ‘Of Matter’ do the most for me. ‘Proxy’, ‘Retrospect’ and ‘Resist’ combine music and vocals brilliantly with some sumptuous melody that really had me holding my breath to see what the rest of ‘Altered State’ had in store. Sadly, for me at least, the rest of the album, whilst an intriguing and entertaining experience, doesn’t hit the heights of that first section, with some of the off-kilter playing slightly spoiling the melodies that I want to wash over me, although the use of saxophone in ‘Calabi Yau’ is beautiful. That aside, ‘Altered State’ is a welcome and bold move forward for TesseracT, even though I feel it may alienate some of their older fans. “Damned if you do and damned if you don’t” is a phrase that comes to mind. Well, I’m damned glad they did because they have a new fan!
Century Media
Review by Rick Tilley
27th May 2013
1) Of Matter - Proxy
2) Of Matter - Retrospect
3) Of Matter - Resist
4) Of Mind - Nocturne
5) Of Mind - Exile
6) Of Reality - Eclipse
7) Of Reality - Palingenesis
8) Of Reality - Calabi-Yau
9) Of Energy - Singularity
10) Of Energy - Embers
"...a welcome and bold move forward for TesseracT..."