When Tesseract parted company with their latest singer, Elliot Coleman, last summer, the American’s exit left them at a crossroads. Happily, Tesseract have negotiated this trauma to craft one of the year’s most remarkable albums.
Armed with a stunning voice to match their musical versatility, newcomer Ashe O’Hara is exactly the replacement that the band deserved. Bringing a strength they’ve never touched upon fully, Ashe’s soulful, emotive style colours the polyrhythmic riffs, extrovert time signatures and finely layered weirdness that were such overwhelming components of 2011’s debut One.
The unnerving jostle of bassist Amos Williams and drummer Jay Postones ensures that Altered State remains a progressive metal record in the broadest sense, though Retrospect, Exile and the saxophone-enhanced Calabi-Yau reflect Tesseract’s ability to lure the listener into more sophisticated, challenging areas.
Like so many before them, the band have realised that it’s not the number of notes you play, nor the speed at which they’re delivered; the spaces in between are what matters. Should vocalist five stay the course, Tesseract’s future is bright as a supernova.