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Tesseract (often stylized as TesseracT) is a British progressive metal band from Milton Keynes, England, formed in 2007. They are currently signed to Kscope. They are credited as one of the bands to pioneer the djent movement in progressive metal. As of September 2015, Tesseract have released three studio albums, One, Altered State, and Polaris, as well as a live album, "Odyssey/Scala", and the EPs Concealing Fate and Perspective. Their third studio album, Polaris, was released on September 18, 2015.
Early years (2003-2009):
Tesseract started out in 2003 whilst founding member Acle Kahney was recording and writing with his band Mikaw Barish. What started as an outlet for creativity and experimentation grew and Kahney posted clips of his technically heavy guitar work on forums such as Sevenstring.org, taking the feedback on board and gradually improving his technique. It was in this way that a community of bedroom producer-musicians were spawned and a new wave of progressive music called djent was created. Others who helped to create this new "djent" scene include Misha Mansoor (Periphery), Paul Ortiz (Chimp Spanner), and John Browne (Monuments), who was a band mate of Kahney's in Fellsilent.
Frenchman Julien Perier supplied vocals during the bands' very early stages, but the logistical difficulties of distance meant that he could not join the band permanently. The line-up was completed in 2007 with Jay Postones on drums, James Monteith on guitar, and Amos Williams on bass. Monteith and Williams brought along with them Abisola Obasanya, the vocalist of their previous band. After their first full lineup was realized, they began playing live shows and compiling material for their debut album; they released a 4 song demo in 2007 containing parts of what would eventually become their debut album One.
In 2009, Obasanya decided to leave the band. He was replaced by Daniel Tompkins; Acle had come into contact with him having assisted with the production on his previous band First Signs of Frost's album Atlantic. The band reworked the album's songs with Daniel, moving towards a 2010 release. Just before heading out on their first major tours, they released the Concealing Fate EP, a 6 track suite which forms the centrepiece of their debut album.
In 2010 they performed headline shows in the UK in support of their Concealing Fate EP, opened up for The Devin Townsend Project on a North American tour, and performed in the Great Indian Rock Festival in India. One was released on 22 March 2011.
In 2011 they were a part of "The League Of Extraordinary Djentlemen Tour" with Periphery and Monuments throughout the UK, and were an opening act on the Scurrilous Tour with Protest The Hero and Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster in the US. Later in 2011 Tesseract toured throughout the UK in support of One with openers Chimp Spanner and Uneven Structure, and they also performed at the Sonisphere Festival in Knebworth.
Perspective EP (2011-2012):
On 20 August 2011 rumors began spreading that vocalist Daniel Tompkins had left the band, as Tesseract were seen performing with a different vocalist during a gig at the Craufurd Arms in Milton Keynes. This was confirmed by the band a few days later on 23 August, when they introduced Elliot Coleman as their new singer. Daniel Tompkins went on to sing for the progressive metal band Skyharbor and the pop-rock band In Colour, as well as gradually developing his own solo project White Moth Black Butterfly.
In September 2011 an instrumental version of One was digitally released and in October 2011 both the original and the instrumental versions were released on vinyl as a double LP.
During early 2012 Tesseract worked on an acoustic EP inspired by the radio acoustic session they played in Brooklyn, New York a year before. This came to be known as the Perspective EP and it was released on 25 May 2012.
Altered State (2012-2014):
On 12 June 2012 Tesseract announced that Coleman had amicably left the band: On 7 September 2012 the band announced that they had found their yet unnamed new vocalist and would release the single "Nocturne" on 12 October. A series of shows in Europe were also announced, including a performance at Euroblast Festival. It was later revealed that the new singer was Ashe O'Hara, who is also currently the vocalist of the bands Voices From The Fuselage and These Precious Days. Tesseract issued a short statement about the new vocalist on their website.
On 28 February 2013 the band unveiled a release date for Altered State (27 May 2013 in UK and 28 May in US), a full track listing and a subsequent UK tour with The Algorithm and Enochian Theory just prior to the release. The album is a 51-minute continuous piece divided into four large sections (Of Matter, Of Mind, Of Reality, Of Energy), each of which contains several tracks. The album's artwork was also posted. They have since released four trailers for the new album, each containing two minute snippets of different songs, although the names of the songs were not mentioned. Footage of the band rehearsing for their upcoming headlining UK tour (which featured a clip of a new song blended with camera audio of the band rehearsing it) was also uploaded onto the internet on 26 April 2013 by Century Media. On 30 April 'Singularity' was aired for the first time on BBC Radio 1's Rock show, and has been released on their Soundcloud account.
During a phone interview with Metal Injection, Amos Williams stated that the band would be going on tour in the US during the summer of 2013 and touring Europe in late 2013.
"Altered State" streamed on 12 May 2013 on Century Media's official YouTube channel, 2 weeks before the planned release.
On 20 February 2014, a video was released of the band performing the Of Matter movement of Altered State live in a studio, similar to their Concealing Fate Live DVD which came as a bonus disc in the deluxe edition of One.
Odyssey/Scala and Polaris (2014-present):
On 27 June 2014, it was announced that Tesseract had parted ways with vocalist Ashe O'Hara, with Dan Tompkins rejoining the band as vocalist, while still continuing his duties as frontman of Skyharbor. On 18 May 2015, Tesseract released Odyssey/Scala, their first live DVD and album compilation. The video portion consists of an uninterrupted single show in London on 14 November 2014 while the album portion consists of tracks from various shows all over Europe.
Shortly after Daniel Tompkins reunited with the band, writing and recording for a 3rd studio album began with the band making frequent updates on social media of the band in studio tracking multiple instruments. On 31 May 2015, the band's Facebook page released an update saying that vocal tracking had been completed, strongly signalling that the album was complete since vocals are typically among the last parts to be recorded in albums.
Tesseract's official Facebook page released a video teaser for the new album titled Polaris on 10 July 2015. They also released album art and a release date of 18 September 2015. A full album stream was uploaded to YouTube by Kscope Music on 15th September 2015.
The band plays a specific style of progressive metal which often features polyrhythmic riffs and odd time signatures, and several atmospheric layers. They have stated that they do not compose their music with specific polyrhythms in mind, and play what they feel fits the groove. They also include a mid-range sounding distorted guitar tone and melodic clean passages heavily influenced by ambient music. They are regarded as one of the pioneers of the djent subgenre of metal.
The vocal style of the band has seen a considerable shift. On One, Daniel Tompkins employed a mixture of clean and harsh vocals, with an emphasis on long, drawn out notes. However, Ashe O'Hara's performances on Altered State dropped the harsh vocals entirely in favour of a more melodic style, with an emphasis on strong melodic "hooks". In an interview with Metalspree, Ashe stated, '...right now, being ourselves is to have purely melodic vocals. With 'One' they felt they had to have harsh vocals in order to be accepted by the community. But, they've never really wanted to be that type of band.'
In his interview with Metal Injection, Amos Williams stated that the decision to drop harsh vocals entirely from future material was an unconscious collective decision by the band and this made the search for a new vocalist extremely hard; his explanation was that many vocalists with an all clean style do not want to live the "metal" lifestyle of regular touring, or do not enjoy metal music enough to want to take part in a band in TesseracT's style. While Altered State did not feature any harsh vocals whatsoever, Polaris sparingly makes use of harsh vocals on the songs Messenger and Cages.
Throughout their career, the band have produced, mixed and mastered all their material themselves: Williams is a qualified audio engineer and Acle Kahney has carried out production, mixing and mastering work for several other progressive metal bands.
Amos Williams stated in an interview that TesseracT's music is relatively reliant on the bass in comparison to other metal bands: he states that "The bass is always on its own little shelf" in the music and that during the production process "We left a lot of room for there to be sub and actual bass stuff going on".
Awards and nominations:
Golden Gods Award for Best New Band
Progressive Music Award for New Blood
Progressive Music Award for Album of the Year
Alec "Acle" Kahney - lead guitar (2003-present),
Jay Postones - drums, percussion (2005-present),
James 'Metal' Monteith - rhythm guitar (2006-present),
Amos Williams - bass, growls, backing vocals (2006-present),
Daniel Tompkins - lead vocals (2009-2011, 2014-present),
Julien Perier - lead vocals (2004-2006),
Abisola Obasanya - lead vocals (2006-2008),
Elliot Coleman - lead vocals (2011-2012),
Ashe O'Hara - lead vocals (2012-2014)