On Questioning Everything

15 October 2015 | 4:32 pm | Jessica Willoughby

"What we think of as true will be totally different from what the reality is today.”

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Polaris, the latest record from UK progressive metal outfit TesseracT, is about questioning everything.

Though, ironically, they did just the opposite musically on this release—according to bassist, Amos William. And it was a conscious choice made by the band, despite the album theme. “I would say that although the theme of the presentation and songs revolve around applying a scientific method to all aspects of our reality, that conversely we did just the opposite of that with the music,” he explains. “We didn’t question it all. Previously we did just that, we constantly questioned whether it was the right thing to do or whether other people would expect more of a certain riff, or some screamed vocals. With Polaris, we totally let the music take charge.”

Williams delves into the concept behind their third studio album deeper. "There’s a strong theme of a transient nature, hence the name Polaris—which is the brightest star in the North sky” Amos says. “For years, it has been used as a reference point for people but the reality is that it’s not fixed; just like everything else in the cosmos it moves. I thought this was an interesting analogy to the way things are, the fact that there is no universal truth; that what we proved to be true yesterday is in fact wrong today and equally tomorrow. What we think of as true will be totally different from what the reality is today.”

Recorded once again with their sound guy, Aidan O’Brien - who has featured on TesseracT recordings since the 2012 Perspective EP - at lead guitarist Alec ‘Acle’ Kahney’s studio in Brighton, the full-length actually reveals a more scaled back approach to instrumentalisation. Something that is fairly new for the band, considering their complex mix of djent and progressive styles.

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 “It’s a reflection of our experience of performing over the last few years,” Williams says. “Understanding what gets us hyped again and again; and doesn’t feel tired after playing it over and over again. We found out that some of the older material didn’t satisfy us so much. We are keen to perform music with more dynamics, and contrasting arrangements.”

This album also signals the return of vocalist Daniel Tompkins, who first appeared with the band on their debut One (2011) release. “For Dan, it was never about a choice in timing to commit,” Williams says. “That suggests he accepted rejoining TesseracT because we were getting bigger after Altered State (2013). He couldn’t commit to us after One because his situation away from the band was not conducive to touring; which was something we had to do, and still need to do to really earn from the band. Now, he has engineered his life so he can commit full time to us—which was fortuitous given our split with Ashe (O’Hara, vocals) at the end of the Altered State touring run.

“It’s funny, given that there was a three-year gap between Dan’s departure and his return, it felt like there was no gap at all. I guess because we worked so hard and toured together so extensively during the One campaign. All members of TesseracT have worked so hard on their respective instruments over the course of the last five years, so it’s not just Dan that has developed and matured—but everyone.”

Originally published in X-Press Magazine