100% HEAVY / 100% Free / 0% Spam

TESSERACT, FUTURE STATIC: Metro Theatre, Sydney 03/05/24

Share This:

Words by Matt New

Pix by Angie New Photography

Progressive metal has been one of the most influential and important sub-genres within metal music over the past three decades, and one of the juggernauts of this beloved movement is Tesseract. Hailing from Milton Keynes, north of London, the quintet is renowned as one of the defining bands that helped shape and popularise the djent movement along with Meshuggah, Sikth, and Periphery. Their latest album, War Of Being, released back in 2023, was eagerly anticipated and one of the most outstanding releases of the year, tackling complex themes of individual struggles, finding acceptance, understanding our existence, and battling egos. The band last graced Australian shores in 2018, so it has felt like an eternity, but worth the wait. The War on Being Tour has been well-received thus far, with the Sydney show at the iconic Metro Theatre selling out months ago, highlighting the dedication and love fans show for this amazing band.

Joining Tesseract for the entire leg of their Australian tour is Melbourne metal band Future Static. A fairly young band in terms of their duration within the heavy music scene, but one that has certainly been achieving incredible success, including a recent European tour and supporting Electric Callboy in late 2023. I was very intrigued to catch this band’s live performance and this tour would give the opportunity to showcase music from their debut full-length album Liminality. After the dulcet tones of Frank Sinatra’s That’s Life concluded as the band assumed their positions on stage, they belted into their first track with immense power. Their youthful energy was abundant and electric, mesmerising the audience with an eclectic blend of musical styles, all fused into a tightly bound package.

The resounding highlight of Future Static is the band’s lead singer, Amariah Cook, who possesses impressive vocal ability. The raw emotion and power on display was characterised by beautifully sung melodies that showcased an exhilarating range, but then descended into a contrasting set of fry screams and growls. Her vocals reminded me of the perfect blend of Paramore’s Hayley Williams and Jinjer’s Tatiana Shmayluk. But just when you thought that was enough, bassist Kira Neil perfectly complemented Cook’s vocals, harmonising with pitch-perfect precision. Given this was my first experience with this band, you will need to forgive me for not knowing their track names, but they delivered one hell of a set. Commendably, they demonstrated an incredible variety throughout their performance, with no two songs sounding the same. I am very glad to have had the chance to finally see Future Static perform, as they seem destined for a trajectory of success, so watch this space.

Under an ominous glow of neon lights that illuminated the Metro Theatre stage, Tesseract calmly walked onto stage to a deafening reception. Beginning the set with Natural Disaster, the opening track from War Of Being, Tesseract immediately asserted a flawless level of technical proficiency and unparalleled energy. The song took the Sydney audience on an emotional rollercoaster that included some unbridled aggression, contrasted by a melodic sing-along to conclude the track. “Echoes followed seamlessly, showcasing a more gentle musical dimension to the band. An early treat in the set was Of Mind – Nocturne from the 2013 release Altered State, the only album not to feature the band’s longest-serving frontman, Dan Tompkins. This aside, Dan impeccably gave his beautifully haunting pitch-perfect interpretation.

We need to highlight what makes Tesseract so good. This is not just because they work incredibly well as a collective, nor is it their individual virtuosity. Tesseract is the complete package. The refined degree of live sound production, their insanely dynamic lighting elements, the critically important backing tracks that fill the spaces sonically to provide the density and atmosphere. All equally imperative to why this band is considered one of the best live bands in the world today. Every song they performed was a journey in excellence. Their selection of songs for this set was carefully crafted to provide a narrative that played into the concept of War of Being, but going that one step further to play into a doomed dystopian future for humanity. The intellect of this band is astounding, and it is no wonder these musicians are successful in other facets of the arts, including novel writing, music production, sound design and vocal coaching.

Songs that were standouts for the evening included King, Smile and Legion. The latter being a track that really shows the supreme vocal talents that Dan possesses. It is simply hypnotising how versatile and controlled his performance was, as it sounded as perfect as the recording. The band itself is one of the tightest rhythm sections I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness. Jay Postones‘ drumming is world-class, and his clever use of polyrhythms and textures set the platform for Amos Williams, James Monteith, and Acle Kahney to interweave their dense yet specific harmonic layers into the mix. Tesseract has a strong connection to Australia, as it is very clear they draw some influence from some of our progressive rock and metal bands, most notably Karnivool and Dead Letter Circus, but they have always had a heavier edge that sets them apart.

After finishing their incredible set with The Grey and Juno, the fans were transported back to the first record One from 2009, for an encore that consisted of Concealing Fate, Part 1: Acceptance and Concealing Fate, Part 2: Deception. Both received a rousing response and the 1200-strong crowd fixated right until the last note. The resounding appreciation for their Australian fans was immeasurable. Dan Tompkins even cheekily commented that Sydney’s energy “has kicked Brisbane’s arse and then some already”. Angie and I were left absolutely gobsmacked in the most positive of ways, as Tesseract’s performance has set the benchmark for the gig of the year. The experience was otherworldly and a shock to the senses. For the Aussie cities remaining on the tour, and the many loyal progressive metal fans who love this band; this tour is an absolute must to attend.

Discover more like this on HEAVY:

Our Picks.

Get the HEAVY

Get the HEAVY Digi-Mag in-boxed weekly. 100% HEAVY / 0%SPAM.