Published Sep 18, 2015Upon releasing their acclaimed debut One in 2011, TesseracT received praise for the captivating work of lead vocalist Daniel Tompkins, who was lauded for his impressive range and power, which complemented the band's polyrhythm-focused prog metal perfectly. Choosing to leave the fold only months after, the band have since worked with two different vocalists over the course of releasing an EP and a sophomore full-length. While Elliot Coleman and Ashe O'Hara were both undeniably talented vocalists in their time with the band, both lacked the dynamism that made Tompkins a favourite with listeners.
Tompkins finds himself back at his old post on Polaris, a record that demonstrates both a change in his vocal style and a softening of TesseracT's vocal sounds since their debut. Tompkins' increased emphasis on harmony and clean vocals akin to his work in Skyharbor shine through on "Survival" and "Phoenix," though it rarely feels like he is pushed to the peak of his vocal powers, save for on emotive closer "Seven Names."
That may stem from the shift in musical style evident on all nine tracks of the record. While not carrying the polyrhythmic aggression explored on their debut, Polaris evolves beyond the typical conventions of the djent style in favour of a prog rock/metal hybrid, playing with a delicate balance between heavy and heavenly. While the band's interest in ambiance has always been apparent, lighter moments in "Hexes" and "Tourniquet" (which doesn't sound far removed from something by their Kscope label mates Porcupine Tree) see that interest explored with greater depth.
It's a bold start to another chapter in TesseracT's existence, who will only benefit from having all the pieces back in their rightful place. (Kscope)