Sound — 9
'Open mindedness' has become a sort of trend in online metal communities recently. With more people discovering bands such as Atheist and Cynic and thinking that they love jazz, it is a common misconception that listening to metal music with outside influences makes you open minded. However, when I put this disc into my CD player, I find it difficult to imagine that even the trendiest fan could immediately get used to music like this. However, the first impression that is received from 'Tesla' is quite misleading, because as soon as you give it the chance you will be consumed by the grandeur of it all. It is hard to even call 'Tesla' a metal album, it is essentially an industrial tinged electronic album with metal vocals and some metal guitars. With this odd combination, it is difficult to pinhole Herrschaft, which is always a good thing. The melodic synths that run strong throughout the album take the limelight, as guitars and bass are both used more for texture and percussive ornamentation, although both of them have their moments. Although the songs can quite easily blend into one on a first listen through, each song presents itself with a very different identity over time. The intense vocal delivery of 'MX' is a great way to compliment the music and give it a more dynamic variation when a similar electronic beat is held throughout a song. Generally the production and mix on this album is nearly perfect, and with all of the different samples and sounds going on, not one of them sounds out of place.
Lyrics — 9
It seems that this band prides themselves equally on their concepts and lyrics as their music, and rightly so. The grand concept of 'Tesla' is based around a pre- and post-apocalyptic world and is heavily inspired by literature and films such as Blade Runner. While there is quite a pompous air about it all, the electronic urgency of the music only lends itself to these themes and sucks you in ever more. The lyrics themselves are well written and especially well delivered. The way that the lyrics and music meld together so seamlessly is incredibly engaging and it is very easy to get lost in it all, to the point where you might even start preaching in the streets to the ignorant masses of an imminent Armageddon. Well... maybe.
Overall Impression — 9
'Tesla' is a very impressive album, with a very large scale both lyrically and musically, and despite the band coming off ever so slightly pretentious, they have the right to be because they write some very exciting music. Songs like 'The Grand Architects' and 'Apocalypse Child' are standouts from a collection of 11 well written, well performed and very well produced pieces of electronic darkness, from the brooding 'Valliant' to the epic closer 'Vortex'. Highly recommended.