TesseracT have been at the forefront of the ‘djent’ movement since the beginning, they have even been labelled as ‘the pioneers’ of the sub genre. With 3 almost perfect conceptual releases (Perspective, One and Altered State) under their belt, the band has progressed more and more with time. Having extremely talented vocalists, all with unique signature sounds. Elliot Coleman, Daniel Tompkins and Ashe O’Hara has given the releases variation but all have been awe inspiring for the band in their own right. With arguably the most fitting vocalist Daniel Tompkins returning for their latest full length, the question in hand is: will TesseracT finally make their definitive album, or will it fall short and continue the search for cementing their position at the top of the progressive genre?
They sure know that ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’, and this theory is ever present in this release. This album entails the signature beautiful, clean chord progressions providing ambience and atmospheric vibes that we have come to know and love cooperating perfectly with powerful chunky, rhythmic patterns. TesseracT use dynamics masterfully once more to perfect the balance between beauty and brutality. In my opinion, TesseracT are the ultimate brainchild of progressive classics such as Rush, Yes, Pink Floyd and the natural progression from the modern counterparts such as Meshuggah and Sikth and Tool.
‘Dystopia’, is the superb opening track of this album. The song starts with an atmospheric synth intro followed by big, powerful chords supported by Jay Postones’ absolutely massive kick drum sound (provided by his beautiful Crush Drums Acrylic Kit). Tompkins’ vocals come in over a biting groove and are filled with a sense of urgent desperation. This song is a superb opener, and has one of the most perfect groove sections I have ever personally heard in music. This groove section is a truly awe inspiring moment of pure synchronization between the band, and arguably the best moment on the album. I think TesseracT’s use of groove can only be summed up by the top comment of the album stream, ‘Holyfuckitstimetogetreallystonedandgetlostintesseractgrooves’.
The second track ‘Hexes’, shows the bands perfect use of dynamics, furthermore this song also shows a superb use of the contrast of light and shade. This particular song progresses perfectly, and features talented vocalist Martin Grech, who’s performance in this song is almost reminiscent of Maynard from Tool. ‘Hexes’ ends with an extremely heavy moment, which is the remarkable climax to this song. I don’t think Tompkins could have delivered the words, ‘Don’t you dare’, with anymore conviction and anguish, a simply astonishing song.
‘Survival’ continues the tonality and texture of the first two songs. This song is less impressive than the other two songs, and obviously the most commercial of the three, which makes it understandable why the band released this as one of the two singles released. However, the lyrical content of this song is extremely well written, and filled with important messages, as is the rest of the album. Even though this song is not as remarkable as the first two songs, this song is by no means an album filler and is still excellent.
‘Tourniquet’ is a beautiful song, with far less aggression than the previous songs. This song has a beautiful buildup of texture and dynamics provided masterfully, with Jay Postones and Amos Williams keeping an awfully soothing groove. The climax of this song is absolutely beautiful and has conviction, without being aggressive.
The songs ‘Utopia’, ‘Phoenix’ and are not fillers, but are a lot less enticing than the other songs. Not to be considered poor for any instance, these songs are less significant, but still well written and nicely executed. These songs just lack the musical prowess and strong conviction that the other songs as, but still maintain superb instrumentation and the consistent amazing performance from Tompkins. ‘Messenger’ the first of the two single tracks released, is a masterfully produced, groove ridden, romance between the bass and drums. Jay Postones and Amos Williams cooperate perfectly this song and make this a song which will be leave any Djent fans be grooving for years.
The penultimate and final track of the album,’Cages’ and ‘Seven Names’, are another two beautifully written compositions, which give a nice breath of fresh air and contrast to the album. These two songs are far lighter than the other songs, but do not wander too far from comfort and fit perfectly in the album. ‘Seven Names’ is arguably one of the most beautiful songs TesseracT have ever produced in my opinion, this song gave me goosebumps and i’m sure could give people tears of both happiness and sadness.
To conclude, Polaris is an expertly written, superbly produced masterpiece of an album. This album attempts some new things for TesseracT which are a welcome breath of fresh air, but also maintains the components which we have become accustomed to know and love. This album uses a contrast of light, and dark, beauty and aggression with superb conviction, expert lyrical content and perfect instrumentation. This is the defining, matured TesseracT, ‘this album has broken down the walls of the djent genre restriction and shows the bands true identity, a well-rounded progressive group incapable of being pinned down to a specific classification.’
8/10 – Maturity shown this time around with this instant classic record.