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TESSERACT

Progressive Metal • United Kingdom


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TesseracT biography
Founded in Milton Keynes, UK in 2003 (until 2007 as Acle Kahney solo project)

TesseracT are a Progressive Metal Band from England that began in 2003 initially intended as a solo project by guitarist Acle Kahney. The band now consists of Dan Tompkins - Vocals, Acle Kahney - Guitars, James Monteith - Guitars, Jay Postones - Drums and Amos Williams - Bass & Vocals.

Following the release of their 2007 Demo they received glowing praise from the media. Soon after, the track Lament was featured on Metal Hammer's November 2009 issue cover CD. They soon set about writing and recording their debut One, initially to be released in 2010 it has now been delayed until 2011 after the band signed to the label Century Media.

In the meantime they have scheduled the release of an EP Concealing Fate a 27 minute epic on October 12th 2010. They have also been invited by Devin Townsend to join him on his headline tour of the US and Canada in Oct/Nov 2010.

The band are renowned for their odd time signatures and musical complexity. The band suggests that Far from being purely a tech metal band they fully embrace their experimental, prog sensibility without excessive indulgence or pretentiousness, delivering atmospheric, metallic songs that stir strong emotions and evoke powerful mental images.

Bio written by progmetalhead 2.9.2010

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TESSERACT discography


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TESSERACT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.82 | 122 ratings
One
2011
3.87 | 207 ratings
Altered State
2013
3.66 | 70 ratings
Polaris
2015
3.07 | 36 ratings
Sonder
2018

TESSERACT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TESSERACT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.70 | 11 ratings
Odyssey / Scala
2015

TESSERACT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TESSERACT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.21 | 10 ratings
Demo 2007
2007
4.13 | 42 ratings
Concealing Fate
2010
3.68 | 22 ratings
Perspective
2012
3.46 | 13 ratings
Errai
2016

TESSERACT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Sonder by TESSERACT album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.07 | 36 ratings

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Sonder
TesseracT Progressive Metal

Review by ssmarcus

2 stars On Sonder, Tesseract have, sadly, demonstrated that they are a mere one-trick pony. While other progenitors of the djent movement have at least attempted to evolve their sound, Tesseract have decided to stick to their guns by packaging together record that is best described as a soppy distilling of previous efforts.

I admit that, taken in isolation, I might feel differently about this record. After all, all the elements that fans love about Tesseract are here: trippy riffs, beautiful ambience, big choruses, funky bass verses, etc. But when compared to the previous three records, there is simply nothing here that stands up favorably by comparison.

I imagine Tesseract fan boys who don't expect their progressive music to progress will be satisfied with this record. For those fans hoping Tesseract would use their truly impressive abilities and musical foundations to progress music further, this album will bore you to death.

 Altered State by TESSERACT album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.87 | 207 ratings

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Altered State
TesseracT Progressive Metal

Review by ssmarcus

4 stars The most important movement in modern progressive metal has been the proliferation of the so-called "djent" style; "djent" being an onomatopoeia for the sound that emerges when playing highly syncopated, often polyrhythmic, palm muted guitar riffs on down tuned or extended range guitars. While the excesses of the style/genre have been the fertilizer for a thriving internet meme movement, the movement did succeed in bringing desperately needed innovation to metal riffing across many of its sub-genres. 'Altered State', Tesseract's 2013 release, is one of the best examples of the djent style and the level of innovation it was capable of releasing on the metal world. Impossibly complex yet still infectious grooves are coupled with elated synth and clean electric guitar generated ambience in order to move listeners into an 'altered state' of consciousness. While it may take a few listens, this album is sure to expand your appreciation for just how much can be accomplished when "djent" and rhythmic experimentation are utilized tastefully.
 Concealing Fate by TESSERACT album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2010
4.13 | 42 ratings

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Concealing Fate
TesseracT Progressive Metal

Review by Luqueasaur

3 stars Does it dj0nt? Oh hell yeah. But... that's all it does: 6.5/10

(Please take in consideration that I refer selectively to the most mainstream metal acts when I say 'prog metal', and not to the genre as an entirety, which I recognize is FAR too varied, and honestly, prog metal more of an umbrella term than anything else.)

I have an antipathy for the modern mainstrean prog metal scene. I feel acts differs little among themselves, all opting for a more or less homogeneous sonority that resembles metalcore which has NEVER been appealing to me. The boring choruses and uninteresting, similar vocals are my biggest pet peeves of many bands and many songs. Talking about djent specifically, it's hard for me to think of it as a legitimate genre because it has so few characteristics that make it different. Use of polyrhythms, distorted palm muted guitar riffs, and... let's call it a day, I guess? So, I opt to think of djent as an adjective rather than a subgenre.

My distaste for modern prog metal music (and djent) was rather unfounded though because I made very few scarce contacts with it. TesseracT particularly has always been judged by me as dull, the product of my ephemeral contact with its latest release, POLARIS. Assuming my tastes developed since then I was rather skeptical whether this judgment was fair, so to settle both issues - discover if my distaste for mainstream prog metal (and djent specifically) is reasonable & if Tesseract is truly boring - I decided to check the band's best work, CONCEALING FATE.

In many moments the EP contains exactly what I expected (and was afraid of): screaming, harsh (uninspired) singing that as the lad below me stated brings images of LINKIN PARK; blasts of distorted guitar; and occasional acoustic parts that, for as much as they tried, lacked emotion. It wasn't nearly as insufferable to go through them as I supposed it would, though.

Judging this to be a wasted effort and taking for granted that the music was offputting, a trait of djent I forgot that existed struck my ears: guitar breakdowns. There are many, and they are terrific. The parts those heavy technical distortion accompanied by intricate drumming arrived, my eyes popped wide open. When the vocals silence, the guitar shines and rules supreme with its fluid brutal complexity.

Act 1: Acceptance is forgettable. Act 2: Deception is when things start to become interesting, this section being the epicenter of the djenty breakdowns. Act 3: The Impossible is also generally uninteresting except for the last minute that features some spicy drumming. Act 4: Perfection starts to incorporate the technical riffs on the verse, making them interesting; also, the singer shifts to nicer clear vocals rather than the piss- poor screamo hitherto used. Act 5: Epiphany is by far the most complex section - polyrhythmic, heavy, highly technical, lacking vocals, vicious- and Act 6: Origin follows Act 4's clearer style.

As a metal act, TesseracT fails for me. Now, if I think of their specific 'djent' trait, I have to recognize that those guys deliver a fantastic EP. However, I find distressing when an album can only be classified good under specific conditions - "only as djent, but not as general metal". Is the music or only a specific trait of it genuinely good?

Well, this wave of djenty metal bands is worrisome. The blatant musical likeness depicts a lack of originality and innovation. Why stick to polyrhythmic and palm muted guitar riffs when so much amazing things can be done? I agree, it sounds pretty dope - and drew my attention -, but countless new groups are jumping on this bandwagon instead of unleashing their wings and embracing creativity, something maleficial for the (metal) genre as a whole.

CONCEALING FATE, individually, is accomplished. But, in a certain way, it's a symptom of the concealed fate of prog metal: a shift from being "prog" - music that expands the boundaries of metal - to being "technical" - mere repetition of complex riffs and structures - ; the usage of a formula, rather than the attempt of experimentation. If you brush those thoughts aside, however, the djenty headbang will be pretty pleasing.

(rather exceptionally, I opted to not use uppercase when referring to the band name)

 Polaris by TESSERACT album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.66 | 70 ratings

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Polaris
TesseracT Progressive Metal

Review by javajeff

4 stars I just picked this up after a long time due to the average reviews and mediocre sentiment. I had Altered State, and think it is a Djent masterpiece. Music is all about moods, and sometimes I really crave heavier music. However, Polaris is their mellowest album to date. The quality of musicianship from Tesseract is evident from the start. They are a very talented group with a very unique sound. They seem to mix atmospheric sounds with heavy funk in the forefront of the DJent movement. Polaris is actually much better than I expected, and mine was bundled with the Errai EP for a total of 13 tracks. It may not be as good as Alterted State, but it is definitely different and deserving more of an evaluation on its own merits. It is an enjoyable listen, and features the original singer from the One era. If you enjoy DJent, Progressive Metal, or Tesseract, there is so much good music here to enjoy. They are so different from other Progressive Metal groups that it is easy to have them in a rotation for much needed variety. 3.5 stars to 4 stars.
 Altered State by TESSERACT album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.87 | 207 ratings

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Altered State
TesseracT Progressive Metal

Review by Progrussia

3 stars Well, in the world of prog there had to come a moment when a band called Tesseract would write a song about Palingenesis. Anyway, this young British band's songs typically alternate between sections that are more atmospheric and dreamy and those with a wall of sound and odd stop-start rhythms, with a radio-friendly high-register vocal wailing over and a very prominent bass, and then when those counterpoints are combined. . Not your regular approach, I guess. Britain confirms its reputation as a place for forward-thinking prog metal nowdays. But this all songs built on the same techniques, it does get tedious. More surprises would be appreciated, but only in one song closer to the end was I pleasantly surprised when I heard some sax thrown in.
 Polaris by TESSERACT album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.66 | 70 ratings

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Polaris
TesseracT Progressive Metal

Review by crashandridemusic

3 stars For those not familiar with the band, TesseracT are a prestigious progressive metal act from England. Having gone through several different vocalists in their history, the band welcomed back singer Daniel Tompkins, who had sung in the band's first album "One," only to depart briefly from their second album "Altered State." I was introduced to TesseracT on the latter, so I was a little hesitant hearing of the vocalist change so early into my fandom. I remember first hearing the news of his return; All I can remember was everyone saying "it's going to be better," and "it's all for the best." Not knowing what "the best" was in the first place, I wasn't ready for change. Needless to say, I welcome Mr. Tompkins (back) to the fold with open arms.

What "Altered State" lacked in vocal energy, Tompkins revives in "Polaris." After hearing their latest album and replaying their prior album, I am suddenly aware of the lack of vocal drive in "Altered State." Although Ashe O'Hara is an amazing musician, his vocal style and delivery don't seem to match with what the remaining members of the band dish out. Tompkins' soaring vocals seem to resonate in my ears longer, lighting a fire from under me. Those screams sparsely present in "Polaris" were dearly missed, and should be met with applause when first belted out live. With each play, I am becoming more of a fan of his work, and hope he stays with the band for many years.

Being pioneers of the djent community, their music blends influences from several brands of metal and rock. Unfortunately, being a pioneer would also mean that they are unafraid to push the boundaries. When listening to the album, the saying "if it isn't broken, don't fix it" first comes to mind. As much as I loved the drastic difference between their brutal lows and beautiful highs, I felt like I've experienced this all before. It pains me to say it, but what "Altered State" lacked in its vocals, "Polaris" lacks in its orchestration. It's hard to criticize such a talented group of musicians. The production quality is phenomenal, the bass grooves by Amos Williams are heavy and intricate, and the drums fills by Jay Postones are downright delicious. So why is it that I feel indifferent? Could it be that I have no favorite song after a few listens? Or is it the familiarity of certain sections of songs, and how similar they are to previous albums? Your guess is as good as mine.

Maybe focusing on "Polaris" as its own album instead of comparing it to prior albums may give it the praise it deserves. From the opening notes, "Dystopia" bashes the listener with those chunky chords, and is definitely a contender for top honors. The first three songs could be considered as one continuing thought, being one of the most progressive attributes of this album. The whole second half feels like a collection of individual songs in comparison to the smooth transition between these three tracks. The two singles "Messenger" and "Survival" are easily the most radio- friendly, considering their familiarity and likelihood to route a new audience. The album also contains a couple softer tracks, including the atmospheric "Tourniquet" and the uplifting "Phoenix." Did I mention the rap section of "Utopia?" Yeah, Thompkins goes rogue on us metal fans with that unexpected vocal delivery to close the song. The album ends with the epic tracks "Cages" and "Seven Names," two songs that lean on the softer side, but still contain that classic TesseracT sound.

So what is my consensus on "Polaris"? I honestly don't think I even know. On one hand, it could be worthy of being nominated as one of the best albums of 2015. On the other hand, it's underwhelming compared to their prior releases. I have a feeling with repeated listens my appreciation for this album will increase, and so will yours.

Taken from Crash And Ride Music

 Polaris by TESSERACT album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.66 | 70 ratings

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Polaris
TesseracT Progressive Metal

Review by Mebert78

3 stars If there's one thing Tesseract proved with their new album Polaris, it's that the lineup which gave us Altered State was something special. It's inevitable that Polaris would be compared to Altered State, the band's breakthrough album that was nominated for Prog magazine's 2013 Album of the Year. That record made the UK-based progressive metal band a group to watch in the genre, with vocalist Ashe O'Hara giving us soaring melodies and poetic lyrics that had me analyzing the liner notes. But O'Hara has since departed the band and been replaced by their former singer Daniel Tompkins. And, unfortunately for Tompkins, my biggest takeaway from Polaris is that I will miss O'Hara's vocals over Tesseract's tunes.

Sadly, O'Hara left Tesseract due to creative differences with the group, which he revealed on social media in June 2014. Shortly thereafter, Tesseract announced the return of Tompkins, who is a very talented musician in his own right. He appeared on the band's debut album, One, in 2011 and has been involved in several other projects -- including Skyharbor's 2014 album, Guiding Lights. But Polaris was his biggest test yet. This record was Tesseract's chance to cement a spot among progressive metal's heavyweights. Great bands follow up their breakthrough records with a record of an equal (or even greater) quality. For example, Queensr˙che made the impressive Empire in 1990 following Operation: Mindcrime in 1988, while Dream Theater released the breathtaking Awake in 1994 after releasing the legendary Images and Words in 1992. Yes, Tesseract had a tough task in replicating the brilliance of Altered State, but they have the talent for the challenge. Acle Kahney and James Monteith are killer axemen and bassist Amos Williams and drummer Jay Postone are technical gods. Despite falling flat, Polaris does have its stellar moments. The disc begins with the catchy headbanger "Dystopia" and then flows into the ethereal "Hexes," which might be my favorite of the nine tunes. Next, "Survival" is pretty much a flawless song that's worthy of radio play, while "Seven Names" climaxes with such intensity that it's hard to resist singing along with Tompkins. Oh, and let's not forget the incredible "Cages," which has a slow build that gave me instant chills. But still, as much as I wanted to like Polaris, it misses the mark. That's not to say it isn't a good record (it is), or that new/old frontman Tompkins isn't a good singer (he is). There's just a certain magic missing. And since Tompkins is the sole change from Altered State, it's only natural to wonder how O'Hara would've vocally approached Polaris.

The fan reaction to Tompkins is mixed -- with some revering his technical chops and others, like me, preferring the vocal choices of O'Hara. For example, a fan from the Dream Theater Forums said he thinks Tompkins is a terrific singer, but the vocals on Altered State are just "so good" that he will always have a "what if" feeling with the band in regards to the singing. Another fan said that Tompkins' voice just doesn't have the kind of texture that O'Hara's has. "He is a decent singer, but there's not a lot of character there," she said of his performance. If you're a fan of Tesseract or progressive metal in general, I'd definitely recommend Polaris. It's a solid disc, but it pales in comparison to their prior release. Of course, I'll give another chance to Tesseract and Tompkins. I just hope their next effort shines brighter than Polaris.

- Michael R. Ebert (progzombie.blogspot.com)

 Odyssey / Scala by TESSERACT album cover DVD/Video, 2015
4.70 | 11 ratings

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Odyssey / Scala
TesseracT Progressive Metal

Review by Mebert78

5 stars I've been obsessed with Tesseract since the release of their Altered State album in 2013, so I was quite eager to hear and see those tunes performed live on Odyssey/Scala. The UK-based band has taken the stage twice in my area in recent years -- once that fall in Brooklyn, and once last year in Manhattan just prior to the departure of vocalist Ashe O'Hara -- and the energy coming from both the band and the crowd was crazy. Needless to say, I was very excited to relive some of the tour's magic with Odyssey/Scala, which also happens to be the group's first live release. Well, it definitely didn't disappoint.

As much as I looked forward to this CD and DVD, I was ready for a letdown for two reasons: 1) O'Hara (who mesmerized me on Altered State) doesn't perform on this release, as Daniel Tompkins has resumed his role as vocalist; 2) Century Media Records released a video clip, "Concealing Fate: Parts II and III," a month earlier on YouTube, and I found the editing to be rapid and disorienting. But I approached the album with an open mind. The past two years have been an important time for Tesseract as their popularity has been skyrocketing due to the success of the heart-stopping Altered State, which was nominated for Prog magazine's 2013 Album of the Year, and this CD/DVD captures the lineup in the midst of that upswing. It's akin to Dream Theater's "Live in Tokyo" VHS from 1993. You're seeing the hunger of a young band, an audience's passion for the band's innovative sound, and the band's intense desire to blow the balls off of everyone watching. It's something that can't be recaptured a few years from now. This is their moment. And Tesseract presents it perfectly with Scala.

The DVD kicks off with the silhouette of band members as they take the dark stage at Scala, a music venue in London where the live footage was filmed on Nov. 6, 2014. Within seconds, the group explodes with an unexpected -- yet awesome -- opener, "Singularity." From there, they rip through their technically-complex catalog with surgical precision until the final song, "Concealing Fate: Part I - Acceptance." Yes, the editing is a little quick at times, but it isn't as bad as I thought upon watching the original clip. In fact, I really liked the camera angles, and I felt like I'd viewed the show from every nook and cranny of Scala. One moment you're inches from the kit of drummer Jay Postones, the next you're by the fast fingers of guitarist Acle Kahney, and then you're getting a glimpse of the bare feet of bassist Amos Williams.

My only complaints are the omission of the incredible "Exiled" and Tompkins' occasional use of falsetto in spots where O'Hara would belt out the words at full strength. But it seemed like just a stylistic choice by Tompkins, who showed in other moments he can hit the high notes with the best of them. While I prefer O'Hara's vocals, there is no doubt that Tompkins has a more polished stage presence. Also, for those wondering, the CD is just as on-point as the DVD and incorporates an assortment of performances throughout Europe and Asia in 2014.

In closing, Odyssey/Scala is a must-have for any Tesseract fan. But, of course, what really matters is whether the band can continue their upswing on their next album later this year. It's going to be hard to top Altered State, but this band has the talent to achieve anything.

- Michael R. Ebert (progzombie.blogspot.com)

 Altered State by TESSERACT album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.87 | 207 ratings

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Altered State
TesseracT Progressive Metal

Review by k3no444

5 stars After scrolling through the long list of bands in attendance at Sonisphere, I came upon the band TesseracT. Before Sonisphere, I had never heard of them. After some basic research, I found out how renowned the band was in other countries, how they have been together for many years, and have released two albums.

This five-piece from Britain has recently released their newest album titled "Altered State," their only album featuring vocalist Ashe O'Hara. Spanning close to an hour, this album features 10 songs broken down into 4 total movements. I can describe this album as progressive metal, but the sound that envelopes this entire album could help expand the genre into ambient or space rock. The vibe throughout the album is very interesting, and goes almost unnoticed between songs if one pays little attention to it. Over top this ambiance is the brilliant musicianship of the band as they perform one of my favorite albums I've listened to recently.

The guitar work is phenomenal, using djenty guitar work for both bass and electric guitars. Acie Kahney and James Monteith on guitar, and Amos Williams on bass guitar do a brilliant job, mixing different styles of progressive metal throughout the entire album. The range of sound shifts dramatically, from deeper, palm-muted riffs in the song "Of Matter" to a much softer, delicate, and more ambient tone in the song "Of Energy." Although featuring less solos than a typical progressive metal album, these guitarists more than make up for it in the beautiful sound they create, ranging from sounds like Animals as Leaders to Pink Floyd. Using effects like reverb and delay, the guitars are key components to the overall production, and become the driving force of the entire album, like violins to a symphony.

Jay Postones does a magnificent job on the drum set. A change in sound from their last album "One," Postones relies less on the double bass pedal and focuses more on crisp, clear hits on the upper half of his drum set. The song "Of Reality" shows the drums at its finest, as the drums display perfect timing and precision amongst the other instruments. The change in time signatures that so often accompanies progressive metal is present throughout the album, but the drum work helps to make the transition flow more smoothly, creating an easier listening experience to the audience.

Having only sung on this album, Ashe O'Hara adds "Altered States" as a highlight to his musical resume. O'Hara can truly belt out the lyrics with his talented voice, and easily proves his strength early in the album. His voice is best represented in the song "Of Mind ? Nocturne," as his range dives from lows to soaring highs. Unlike their last album, there is no scream or growl vocals, proving that metal can be just as great without it. Vocals would be pointless without meaningful lyrics, which TesseracT is able to surprise me with their complexity and significance.

The one thing that stood out most to me in this album is its composition. When I listen to "Altered States," I feel like I'm listening to two different albums at once. The first album is a progressive metal vibe, one with deep guitar rhythm, complex drumbeats, and vocals that set the overall mood and tone of the song. The other album I can hear is more of a musical score, featuring guest musician Chris Barretto on saxophone, and is full of ambient tones and spacey sound effects that layer below the instruments. As stated earlier, it is almost unnoticeable if you aren't paying full attention to the album, meaning you lose an entire layer of what makes this album so great. Unlike their first album "One," "Altered States" shows the band expanding into new territory, providing a much more ambitious and intricate album.

I love this album! Definitely a 10/10 in my book.

 Altered State by TESSERACT album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.87 | 207 ratings

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Altered State
TesseracT Progressive Metal

Review by arcane-beautiful

4 stars Tesseract are a band I've had a slight interest in over the past few years. And when I say that, I mean I have heard bits and pieces of them and have enjoyed them. For my sins, I do have their first album "One", but I haven't gotten around to listening to it. So while trying to get some newer albums a good listening too, my brother suggested that this album was very different to what they've been doing before. Intrigue is struck now, so I decided to bite the bullet and buy this album.

And my brother was right. This album is very different to what I've heard from this band before. Now, these guys have been getting a lot of attention recently, and in all fairness they do deserve it. But, there is something that will always be a stigma that I hold against the band.

The problem I have with these guys usually falls within their songwriting style. Being a musician myself, when I listen to this band I always think "wow I could never be in a band like this." This isn't be being bad musician (I'm alright at it, I guess), it's just that with these guys, and especially this album, the focus is usually on the technicality of the rhythms, beats and riffs rather than the real highlight for the band, and that is the vocals.

One of the biggest changes the band have decided to make is the dismissal of harsh vocals. A rather bold statement the band has decided to make, but they haven't made it impact their sound too much. Although, this album is a lot softer than their previous material, and Ashe's softer vocals do add to the atmosphere very well.

For this album, the band have recruited new vocalist Ashe O'Hara, after 2 vocalists walked out on the band in such a short amount of time. Now, his vocals are a lot softer than the previous vocals, but because of the bands change in style, they work very well with the music. As a vocalist, he really does have a brilliant range, with some very beautiful falsettos, that are almost feminine at times.

My favourite moment on the album has to be the opening suite "Of Matter." "Proxy" starts the song off in a very beautiful fashion and as it progresses throughout, it recapitulates some of themes in brilliant and exciting ways. Ashe's vocals really do work incredibly well and really add character to the complexity of the compositions.

One of my least favourite suites on the album would be "Of Mind." A slight return to form, reminiscing their more heavier material. It still has some brilliant moments, but the 8 minute epic "Exiled" does drag on slightly.

"Of Reality" is one of the better suites on the album as well, especially with the instrumental "Calabi-Yau" with some beautiful saxophone work. "Palingenesis" also has some very interesting jazzy beats throughout, that really add tone to the suite.

The final suite "Of Energy" has brilliant build up throughout. It does drag on a bit slightly with opener "Singularity", but the ending track "Embers", with its closing saxophone lines is absolutely beautiful and ends the album in a really beautiful manner.

In conclusion, this new direction for the band on this album is pretty mind blowing at times. I do prefer a lot of tracks to others, and it's the tracks that are more different are actually my favourites. Which makes me believe that whatever this band decided to do next will be the real triumph. I predict that this is only the beginning of something which could be something huge for the metal community in years to come.

8.1/10

Thanks to progmetalhead for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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