Tesseract – Altered State
Century Media, 2013
Altered State follows the release of one previous album and two EPs from this English progressive metal band, and despite new singer Ashe O’Hara being the third vocalist across this output Tesseract has delivered an outstanding album that should earn them a place among the prog elite. More thoughtful and introspective than technical and flashy, Altered State occupies a musical space somewhere between the melodic beauty of the 90s output of Fates Warning and the rhythmic, modern vibe of Karnivool. The album is divided into four multi-song movements that seem to have more a lyrical than musical thread between them. Songwriting is the major strength of Altered State, rather than the performance of any individual band member. Strong from start to finish, Altered State is the type of album that commands attention through out its entirety. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact reasons why the album doesn’t score a 10, but it would have to be distilled down to the fact that there is not a single song that demands inspiring passion which creates a bond with the listener. For example, “All I Know” and “Goliath” draw me to Karnivool’s Sound Awake, and I can’t listen to the album without hearing those songs. While there’s not a bad song to be found on Altered State, I’ve yet to be so enraptured by one to the point that my listening experience feels incomplete without it. That said, the last 2–3 years have been incredible for the growth of progressive rock and metal, and Tesseract deserve a place alongside the burgeoning list of young bands that are poised to lead the field into the future. Tesseract has released an album or EP in each of the last four years, and I hope they keep up this pace of output for I’m eager to hear further developments to their sound.