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HARDWARES

TESSERACT

Altered State

(Century Media Records)

Reviewed by : Kelley Simms
Rating : 7.5

For all you geometry aficionados out there, the word tesseract will be a familiar term. However, TESSERACT, the progressive metal band from the UK might not be as familiar to North American fans, but the band is ready to show a bigger audience what it’s made of. Altered State, the band’s sophomore effort, consists of four musically-themed movements: Of Matter; Of Mind; Of Reality; Of Energy — for a total of ten tracks. The movements are bathed in atmospheric layers, polyrhythmic riffs, odd time signatures and melodic clean passages influenced by ambient noises. Each song segues seamlessly into the next, creating a unified and continuous soundscape. TesseracT is often associated with the so-called djent movement and I can see where the comparisons to the new-founded genre is warranted, especially at the mid-way point of CD opener ‘Of Matter-Proxy’, as the odd, descriptive, staccato riffs assume onomatopoetic-like qualities. These intricate and technical patterns, rhythms and sounds are indeed present, but the band possesses more of a modern prog sound that doesn’t necessarily corner them into the djent genre. The choruses are loaded with melodic vocal harmonies and the use of female backing vocals gives the songs a dramatic quality. The distinctive, down-tuned riff of ‘Of Mind-Nocturne’ pulsates, hypnotizes and mixes well with the melodic keyboard melody line while CD closer, ‘Of Energy-Embers,’ places a surprising saxophone solo at the mid-way point. Throughout Altered State, the band explores some vast musical peaks and valleys with pleasing results.



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