Album Review: Tesseract - Polaris (2015 LP)

The kings of djent are back with a brand new album all the way from sunny England. However, is Tesseract's Polaris a worthy successor to Altered State? I remember watching Kubrick's 2001 for the first time quite a few years back, and it had me floored. The colours, the story, the everything about that movie made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. And there has been very few bands which have given me the same reaction on singlular songs, let along entire albums. However, there are a couple which populate this list - Dream Theater's Octavarium is one that I can put on repeat and get the same feeling time and time again.

Of course the downside of this is that most other movies, films, albums, and what have you, seem to pale in comparison. It's the downside of experiencing something truely phenomenal - an often once in a decade event which you'll be comparing everything to for years after. For me, TesseracT's 2013 album Altered State was nearly but not quite there. And post the British prog-rock outfit's last offering, many had been wondering - including myself - what the new album would bring.

In the interest of full disclosure, I was a huge fan of Altered State. Just the use of saxophone is a super deep and melodic metal album was enough to blow me away - and of course with tracks like "Nocturne" and the entirety of the "Of Matter" movement it just sealed the deal. However, I always found myself skipping around the album or skipping to certain parts of certain songs - and they never gave me that "hair-standing-up" effect. However, I was still curious to see what the band would come up with next.

But, with the departure of vocalist Ashe O'Hara I was concerned they'd head back to their screamy previous style - a style which in all honesty left me a little cold. As it was announced previous vocalist Daniel Tompkins was to rejoin the band, my heart sank - i knew the band would return to a bellowing metal state which had not impressed - and it would probably leave my favourite Tesseract album as a one off. And boy was I wrong.

I'll say it now. TesseracT's Polaris is, hands down, the best album so far of 2015. The previous holder was of course the other badass British band, MUSE. But I have to say that unlike the trio from Devon, the quintet from Milton Keynes had my attention for the entire album.

Beginning with "Dystopia" - a super funky hard back to One (without the sandpaper vocals) I knew I was in for a treat. The vocals are super strong, awesomely written and produced, and right on point. The guitar work is, as to be expected, phenomenal along with the drumming and bass playing. Other tracks which were phenomenal were pretty much all of them - though "Messenger" and its attached "Cages" were the ones which sent shivers up my spine - just for the connection in the middle.

The only true issue I had with the album was a lack of connecting tracks, which was merely a minor quip. Sure I'd have loved to have seen more of it, but overall I was so taken with the album from the beginning I barely noticed until the end.

In fact what I loved so much about the album was the amount of ups and downs, peaks and valleys if you will, throughout all of the songs across the entire album. I could hear influence from everywhere - Story of the Year, Periphery, Muse, and a stack of others I couldn't put my finger on. I realised after the sixth track "Phoenix" just why - it sounded like TesseracT. Sure all the influences were there and poking their head up at times, but overall it just sounded like one of the freshest bands around at the moment. And I don't say this lightly - there are very few bands who truely have their own sound in today's day and age.

Polaris is, in my opinion, a Kubrick-level moment for this band. This is their 2001, their Octavarium, 1984, or piano-key neck-tie. In short, if you are a fan of djent music, buy this album. If you like metal, do the same. If you like music, do it. You know what, just get it. If you want to be sat in awe with one of the most amazing albums you'll hear this year. Just prepare yourself, there may not be anything this good again.

Not for some time.

Review Score: 9.8 out of 10


TesseracT are touring Australia in October with Caligula's Horse

Wednesday, October 14: The Zoo, Brisbane - 18+
Thursday, October 15: The Factory Theatre, Sydney - Lic AA
Friday, October 16: Max Watts, Melbourne - 18+
Saturday, October 17: Fowlers, Adelaide - Lic AA
Sunday, October 18: Amplifier Bar, Perth - 18+

More tour dates to be announced
TesseracT online