Century Media Records
So far this year, there have been a small handful of truly phenomenal pieces of music history released. You can add Tesseract’s new album Altered State to that list. First and foremost, Ashe (also of Voices From The Fuselage) has a bright future ahead of him as a truly breakout vocalist that has no equal in tone and range, yet he fits right in with previous singers Dan Tompkins and Elliot Coleman. As soon as “Of Matter – Proxy” starts playing, goosebumps fill your arms and your heart pace quickens. Sultry and inviting, he brings you in closer with promises of grandeur to be heard later in the album, which he certainly delivers.
One thing that really makes Ashe stand out is how much more fitting he is to the progressive needs of Tesseract, then when the music starts getting heavier and faster, his voice gets a kick of aggression as well. Amazing vocals aside, the music is leaps and bounds so much better than their previous efforts, not to say those were bad in any way. Aware that I am giving much more credit than I should with the first track, the progression that is exhibited on “Of Matter – Proxy” is heavy and driving. In the past, when their music started getting heavier, it bled directly into their atmosphere elements and subsequently cut into the overall sound. Most bands that I know of do that and it’s a very common aspect, but there isn’t a single band I can think of that has achieved what Tesseract has done here.
Just the three “Of Matter” songs could have easily been marketed as a standalone EP and its sales would not have suffered in any way. Hell, it could have been blended together as a single track for all that matters. Best example is how “Of Matter – Resist” is written in a way that feels like it was meant to be the ending of a release. As soon as “Of Mind – Nocturne” kicks in however, things get downright heavy. Definitely the most accessible song on the record, “Nocturne” combines a guitar bridge and layers a vocal chorus above it, then progresses beyond that into a, dare I say it, funkier bass heavy tone with “Of Mind – Exile.” Palm muting is used to compliment the bass guitar even further and make it more of a prominent section of the song.
Sometimes when I listen to a record all the way through, I stick close to the first or second half of the disc because I find the stronger songs there, then I rarely venture beyond that section. Here, the entire album is solid and pleasing throughout. Each song has similar elements, but they are all very different in their own way. The more experimental “Of Reality – Eclipse” is another case in point. Drum driven throughout, there are notable examples of unique vocal changes, utilization of white space to further compliment the guitars, even more intense atmosphere, and freeform progression.
Despite all that has been said so far, it isn’t until the two “Of Energy” songs that the vocals are the actual driving point and take center stage (even though it’s arguable amongst others as to whether or not the vocals are the center point, but I disagree). They are a different entity in contrast to the album, but that will be left as a surprise to the reader to experience for oneself. Altered State is not only a masterpiece of progressive metal, this is truly one of the greatest albums ever made, period. It will forever remain in my top ten list. I vote to see The Ocean and Tesseract do a visually pleasing music tour together, I think that will be a tour that will make history. (Ridge Briel)
Purchase Altered State Here: www.merchconnectioninc.com/collections/tesseract