Polaris, the latest from UK prog-metallers TesseracT is a complete paradox, feeling both familiar and foreign at the same time. The typical TesseracT elements are present; soaring vocals, slapped bass and textured guitars, but Polaris feels like new ground.
Opener Dystopia hits you like a dissonant slap in the face, its ferocious rhythm combining with the familiar soaring vocals harking back to One-era TesseracT Meanwhile, on Hexes, the call-and-response of Tompkins and guest vocalist Martin Grech is unexplored territory and works wonderfully.
Lacking the longer tracks found on earlier releases, Polaris feels focused, as if making each song perfect in its own right was a priority. The stunning Tourniquet and soulful closer Seven Names being perfect examples of this.
Dan Tompkins’ return could have caused a regression to the harsh territory explored on One, rather than building on the melodic soundscapes Altered State traversed. However, Polaris is the perfect amalgamation of the two.
Without wanting to step into hyperbolic territory, Polaris is stunning. The songwriting on display is otherworldly, ultimately thrusting TesseracT way above the shoulders of their heavy peers.