The band Tesseract brings a well done progressive metal/ambient style to the table with their release “Altered State”.
With their funky instrumentation and ambient intertwining of vocals and airy guitar, they remind the listener of a sound not far off from Periphery or Substructure. Although Tesseract is in the ball park of these bands, they still separate themselves from the pack. The most notable aspect of this record would be the vocals. The constantly harmonized and heavily reverberated melodies delve the listener into the immerse sound that Tesseract constantly drives throughout the album.
Although the album is lengthy, it lets the listener fully drown themselves in the surrounding style of the album. With creative mixes of distorted breakdowns with cleaned up and delayed leads, the band proves its originality with their carefully constructed songs like “Singularity”. This song adequately ravels the album into one as well as creates its own place among the other songs. It keeps the album flowing into the closer “Embers” which leaves the listener satisfied and itching to restart the journey again.
This album has a solidified style that even pokes out from the rest of this genre, but lacks in one category. With this type of sound, bands like Periphery and Substructure deliver enormously in the aspects of heaviness and off time instrument breaks. But with Tesseract, they seem to fall short of the all too anticipated mind blowing instrumentation. The instruments act as a perfect support to the vocals, but when the melodies stop, so does the immersion and excitement. Each instrument break leaves the listener almost waiting until the vocals come up again. The band definitely makes a good effort towards recreating these important parts of the songs, but doesn’t deliver as hard as other bands. What Tesseract does best is their creation of ambiance and immersion with only a few guitar tracks and effects. This aspect makes up for their lack of instrumental entertainment.
Overall this album should fall into the same category as Periphery, but not stay attached to that band. They diversify themselves well enough and with a certain style that keeps them interesting without being unoriginal. Whether the lyrics are of a concept or not, it takes the listener through an aural journey, a rarity among a world of monotonous breakdowns and monotone vocals. This album expresses many emotions and keeps the listener entranced in an almost hypnotic state. These qualities are what differentiate a great album from a revolutionary album. With a future ahead of them, if Tesseract can master their instrumentation then they can master the genre itself. Even with its flaws, this is the type of album that expresses what music really is — an art form.
- Nic Cheatle