TesseracT’s short UK headlining tour closes with a bang
UK progressive metal band TesseracT, who are due to release their second full-length album Altered State later this month, embarked on a short tour of their native British Isles this week, with expanding French djentstep outfit The Algorithm and British prog group Enochian Theory in tow.
The tour finished last night in London at the O2 Academy in Islington, and a couple of us were there to see the five-date run come to a close.
To my chagrin – or, more to that of the 43 bus – I missed progressive rock trio Enochian Theory‘s set entirely. I was not happy.
A friend who saw the tour in Bristol on Wednesday night described them as “Tool crossed with Explosions In The Sky“, which is both flattering and fairly true. I’ve been spinning their new album Life…And All It Entails a fair bit this week, and it’s a strong release from a band that have been honing their craft together for nine years.
To make it up to them, we’ll have an interview with them – as well as the rest of the bill – in the coming week or two.
The Algorithm are currently in version 3.0. Whilst for most acts this might have meant departures/replacements, with this originally French metalstep outfit it just means that more members have been added.
In the beginning it was just producer Rémi Gallego, a Montpellier native who created the signature Algorithm mashup sound of djent, IDM, chiptune and breakcore. When he signed for Basick Records in 2011 and began playing live, he recruited talented Monuments drummer Mike Malyan to add an extra facet to the performance side of things.
He has now added a live guitarist, and I have to say, it really really works.
Parisian axeman Max Michel is incredibly natural on stage, and is also clearly very talented. Keeping up with Rémi and Mike’s skittish, constantly shifting time signatures, full of mind-bending breaks and random samples, cannot be easy, but he did it all with a smile, encouraging the crowd – who warmed up mightily as the set went on – in all the right places. People all around me eventually joined the few who were dancing like crazy to one degree or another, and by the time they whipped out their rainbow sombrero’s in a mid-song break, the entire place was smiling. That particualr stunt got a big laugh, and by the time they left the stage I think they likely had more than a few more fans.
After a fairly lengthy setup, for which crowd favourites Boris le Gal and Paul Ortiz of Chimp Spanner were involved, the crowd began clapping in anticipation. Everyone was pretty excited to see what TesseracT are about now; with new frontman Ashe O’Hara firmly at the helm, but with limited exposure to his abilities thus far, the room was eager to see how the new dynamic worked.
Opting for the elevated mezzanine over the crowd below – where our own Neotenic, who I’m sure will chip in via the comments below, was situated – I was offered a great view of the band once they took to the stage at bang on 9:15.
I too was eager to see how Ashe performed live. Altered State grows on me with every repeated listen, and I think Neotenic and I are agreed that it is absolutely stellar – and his voice on record is great, but can he pull it off on the day?
Absolutely, yes. Ashe looks the part, but more importantly Ashe sounds the part in a way that means we can leave Dan Tompkins admittedly stellar work in the past. It’s been a while since I’ve been blown away by a vocalist – metal isn’t exactly known for its great singers – but Mr. O’Hara is very strong indeed. Even with his mic held away from his face, the force of his voice comes though, and he can hit most of the notes he does on record with apparent ease, leaving only one or two of the extreme highs out – understandable after a few days of successive shows.
The four other members must not be forgotten, however. The music is heavily rhythmic, and so emphasis will often fall on bassist Amos Williams and drummer Jay Postones, who really are an incredible unit. Both make their instruments look incredibly easy to play; Moss in particular, leaping from stage to barrier in his socks.
They move and perform as a unit – even with James disappearing behind one of their custom Altered State artwork banners for what I assume was a cheeky swig after every song – and it really shows.
Unfortunately there was no encore – alas, I’m still waiting for “Eden” – but I’m sure everyone left there incredibly satisfied; I know I did.
Altered State is due out May 27th in Europe and May 28th in North America through Century Media Records. A U.S. tour is in the works for this summer (you lucky things), and then they will be returning to Europe in late 2013 for round 2 – presumably covering more of the mainland this time.