Sound — 10
TesseracT is a relatively new band, having formed in 2007 and at the time being considered one of the founding bands of the djent movement. Acle Kahney, founding guitarist, started working on what would come to be known as "djent" in 2003 at the same time as a few other guitarists at the time. They would post what they were working on at sevenstring.org in order to get feedback and this is where their style slowly developed. The band was formed over time, being completed in 2007. This consisted of Acle Kahney on guitar, James Monteith on guitar, Amos Williams on bass, Jay Postones on drums and Abisola Obasanya on vocals. From here the lineup has been stable except for vocals which has changed several times and currently Ashe O'Hara does lead vocals since 2012, with bassist Amos Williams providing backup vocals. Their first album, "One," released in early 2011 and now two years later we have their second full length studio release, "Altered State." The first single released from the album was the track "Nocturne" which released on October 12th, 2012 and was also provided as a free download from Century Media's SoundCloud account. The entire album was made available to stream on May 12th, 2013. The album is divided into four "movements" ("Of Matter," "Of Mind," "Of Reality," "Of Energy"), with a total of 10 tracks. The entire runtime of the album is just over 50 minutes. If you haven't heard TesseracT before, I would personally describe them as a "djent" version of Coheed & Cambria without the comic books. That comparison is just to give you an idea of their sound as TesseracT isn't any kind of copy of anyone else. This is definitely the type of album you want to listen to in its entirety. It would be a disservice to break it down in any kind of track by track analysis, but I will provide some tidbits from the album. Some of the high points of the album are the bass line from "Retrospect," and the saxophone (provided by Chris Barretto) on the tracks "Calabi-Yau" and "Embers." The guitar work throughout the album is flawless without soundling soulless, and my hat is off to both Acle Kahney and James Monteith. I'm honestly a little confused by the term "djent," as I understood it to be riffs on 7 string guitar using a lot of muted percussive sounds by that definition then this album is relatively djent. However, this does not sound anything like Periphery or Animals As Leaders. If you have any doubts about this album, the full stream is available online and the song "Nocturne" is still available as a free download. Listening to "Nocturne" will absolutely destroy any doubts you have about purchasing this album.
Lyrics — 10
Ashe O'Hara does an outstanding job, providing powerful vocals with a great range, going from a fairly mid-ground low to soaring highs. Amos Williams' backing vocals are a perfect compliment to Ashe's vocals. I'm a huge fan of metal that is actually sang versus growled, screamed or grunted and this release is scratching a big itch for me. I know they've had a lot of issues keeping a vocalist, but I hope Ashe sticks around. The lyrics are pretty deep and stick to the concepts behind each "movement" on the album. Here is the first verse and chorus from "Nocturne" which is off of the "Of Mind" movement: "Climb (you're dehydrated )/ Fly (your wings are jaded)/ Cry (you're enervated)/ Die (for what you believe in)/ Try (you've nearly made it)/ Why (why why why)/ You're the plague within my dreams/ Soaring through an atmosphere of an adequate lack of strength/ And we're responsible/ the truth is that it will end here/ Denial's an impairment of your fear/ Can we save us from ourselves? / Can we save us from ourselves? (This is the savior and it's form...)"
Overall Impression — 10
I was completely blown away by "Altered State," plain and simple. This is definitely one of the best album releases so far in 2013, and THE BEST in the realm of progressive metal. My favorite part of the album would have to be the "Of Reality" and "Of Energy" movements, but this could be just because that was the most recent parts I heard. I definitely have to give this album the highest possible rating. I don't have a single negative thing to say about this album.