by crashandridemusic USER (18 Reviews)
October 4th, 2015 | 2 replies

Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Either one of the best albums of the year, or one of the most underwhelming...

For those not familiar with the band, TesseracT are a prestigious progressive metal act from England. Having gone through several different vocalists in their history, the band welcomed back singer Daniel Tompkins, who had sung in the band’s first album “One,” only to depart briefly from their second album “Altered State.” I was introduced to TesseracT on the latter, so I was a little hesitant hearing of the vocalist change so early into my fandom. I remember first hearing the news of his return; All I can remember was everyone saying “it’s going to be better,” and “it’s all for the best.” Not knowing what “the best” was in the first place, I wasn’t ready for change. Needless to say, I welcome Mr. Tompkins (back) to the fold with open arms.

What “Altered State” lacked in vocal energy, Tompkins revives in “Polaris.” After hearing their latest album and replaying their prior album, I am suddenly aware of the lack of vocal drive in “Altered State.” Although Ashe O’Hara is an amazing musician, his vocal style and delivery don’t seem to match with what the remaining members of the band dish out. Tompkins’ soaring vocals seem to resonate in my ears longer, lighting a fire from under me. Those screams sparsely present in “Polaris” were dearly missed, and should be met with applause when first belted out live. With each play, I am becoming more of a fan of his work, and hope he stays with the band for many years.

Being pioneers of the djent community, their music blends influences from several brands of metal and rock. Unfortunately, being a pioneer would also mean that they are unafraid to push the boundaries. When listening to the album, the saying “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” first comes to mind. As much as I loved the drastic difference between their brutal lows and beautiful highs, I felt like I’ve experienced this all before. It pains me to say it, but what “Altered State” lacked in its vocals, “Polaris” lacks in its orchestration. It’s hard to criticize such a talented group of musicians. The production quality is phenomenal, the bass grooves by Amos Williams are heavy and intricate, and the drums fills by Jay Postones are downright delicious. So why is it that I feel indifferent? Could it be that I have no favorite song after a few listens? Or is it the familiarity of certain sections of songs, and how similar they are to previous albums? Your guess is as good as mine.

Maybe focusing on “Polaris” as its own album instead of comparing it to prior albums may give it the praise it deserves. From the opening notes, “Dystopia” bashes the listener with those chunky chords, and is definitely a contender for top honors. The first three songs could be considered as one continuing thought, being one of the most progressive attributes of this album. The whole second half feels like a collection of individual songs in comparison to the smooth transition between these three tracks. The two singles “Messenger” and “Survival” are easily the most radio-friendly, considering their familiarity and likelihood to route a new audience. The album also contains a couple softer tracks, including the atmospheric “Tourniquet” and the uplifting “Phoenix.” Did I mention the rap section of “Utopia?” Yeah, Thompkins goes rogue on us metal fans with that unexpected vocal delivery to close the song. The album ends with the epic tracks “Cages” and “Seven Names,” two songs that lean on the softer side, but still contain that classic TesseracT sound.

So what is my consensus on “Polaris”? I honestly don’t think I even know. On one hand, it could be worthy of being nominated as one of the best albums of 2015. On the other hand, it’s underwhelming compared to their prior releases. I have a feeling with repeated listens my appreciation for this album will increase, and so will yours.

Taken from Crash And Ride Music

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Comments:Add a Comment 
October 6th 2015


hey man I'm not feeling the review, so I thought I'd drop you some criticism on what I think is holding it back instead of giving you a neg...

a bunch of times in the review you flat out say you don't have any idea what you're writing about. you talk about whats on the album, but you have no conclusion or thesis in what you're saying. I mean it sounds stingy and I know this isnt a graduate level english paper you're writing, but you should always have an argument to be made... look at that summary and you'd realize you're basically saying "its either a good album or its not a good album".

tl;dr: you need to argue the score in your review more and I didnt neg dont hate me

October 6th 2015


Album Rating: 4.0


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