When the Djeent scene exploded a few years back TesseracT were quickly pinpointed as MVPs. Their brand of progressive metal is more intelligent, and better crafted, than nearly anything on the market at the moment and their second album Altered State will be looking to expand upon their already lofty reputation. It features Ashe O’Hara on vocals for the first time and is also their first release to feature entirely clean vocals.
The first thing that needs to be made clear is that this is designed to be listened to as an album. It’s not a collection of catchy 3 minute singles but is rather one entity, that needs to be pored over and appreciated. Because of this there is a very good chance that you will come out of it slightly concerned that you might have missed the point and that TesseracT are far too intelligent for you to fully grasp. Sadly you may well be correct. There is so much going on here when it comes to musical talent that unless you are yourself a musical genius you’re probably missing a lot. However, the great thing about this album is that it doesn’t matter. You can turn it on and listen to it time and time again and you will hear something new each time, but if you don’t get it all it doesn’t really make any difference. It’s still brilliant.
Split into four sections each of them stands alone with it’s own style, but still works within the wider story of the album. For example the opening section “Of Matter” which contains the songs “Proxy”, “Retrospect” and “Resist” and is heavy on airy vocals, courtesy of O’Hara who sounds fantastic throughout, and musical sections that at times feel almost dream like. This being TesseracT that’s obviously not the main thrust of this music and those fantastic heavy djent riffs contrast fantastically with it when they come chugging in. It’s this very contrast that makes these songs stand out and it’s something that is used throughout the album. O’Hara wouldn’t sound out of place on a Within Temptation release but the riffs being churned out by Khaney and Monteith’s down-tuned guitars are some of the heaviest things you’ll hear all year.
This is the kind of album that is almost hard to review because it is so damn good. It is a complex sprawling mass of proggy metal brilliance and to go through it track by track would almost feel like a crime. Instead you should go out and explore this yourself and find everything that you can within this modern day masterpiece.
For fans of: Meshuggah, Pink Floyd
Choice cuts: “Resist”, “Singularity”