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TesseracT - Odyssey / Scala CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.67 | 12 ratings

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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 (

Mebert78 | 5/5 |


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