TesseracT: Altered State

Brit prog-metal upstarts come of age

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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.

Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.