Tesseract (band)

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Tuska 20130628 - TesseracT - 29.jpg
Tesseract live at Tuska Open Air 2013
Background information
Origin Milton Keynes, England, UK
Years active2003–present
Associated acts
Website www.tesseractband.co.uk
MembersAcle Kahney
Jay Postones
James Monteith
Amos Williams
Daniel Tompkins
Past membersJulien Perier
Abisola Obasanya
Elliot Coleman
Ashe O'Hara

Tesseract (often stylized as TesseracT) are a British progressive metal band from Milton Keynes, England. [1] The band, formed in 2003, consists of Daniel Tompkins (lead vocals), Alec "Acle" Kahney (lead guitar & producer), James Monteith (rhythm guitar), Amos Williams (bass, backing vocals), and Jay Postones (drums, percussion). The band is currently signed to Kscope. [2] They are credited as one of the bands to pioneer the djent movement in progressive metal. [3] As of 2018, Tesseract have released four studio albums: One , Altered State , Polaris , and Sonder, as well as a live album, Odyssey/Scala, and the extended plays Concealing Fate , Perspective and Errai.

Progressive metal is a fusion genre melding heavy metal and progressive rock that combines the loud "aggression" and amplified guitar-driven sound of the former with the more experimental, cerebral or "pseudo-classical" compositions of the latter.

Milton Keynes Large town in south central England founded in 1967

Milton Keynes, locally abbreviated to MK, is a large town in (ceremonial) Buckinghamshire, England, about 50 miles (80 km) north-west of London. It is the principal settlement of the Borough of Milton Keynes, a unitary authority. At the 2011 Census, its population was almost 230,000; the Office for National Statistics estimates that it will reach 300,000 by 2025. The River Great Ouse forms its northern boundary; a tributary, the River Ouzel meanders through its linear parks and balancing lakes. Approximately 25% of the urban area is parkland or woodland and includes an SSI.

Kscope is an independent record label that is part of Snapper Music, and a sister-label of Peaceville. It is dedicated to artists in the progressive rock genre. The label has released albums by Steven Wilson and his projects Porcupine Tree, No-Man and Blackfield. In 2008 it branched out and has since signed the post-progressive artists Anathema, Lunatic Soul and Ulver, and progressive rock stalwart Ian Anderson to their roster. In 2013, the Steven Wilson release The Raven That Refused To Sing received the Album of the Year award at the Progressive Music Awards.



Early years (2003–2009)

Tesseract started out in 2003 while founding member Acle Kahney was recording and writing with his band Mikaw Barish. French vocalist Julien Perier supplied vocals during Tesseract's early stages, but the logistical difficulties of distance meant that he could not join the band permanently. After their first full lineup was realized, Tesseract began playing live shows and compiling material for their debut album; they released a four-song demo in 2007 containing parts of what would eventually become their debut album, One .

<i>One</i> (Tesseract album) 2011 studio album by Tesseract

One is the debut studio album by British progressive metal band Tesseract. Released on 22 March 2011, the album features six tracks. The third track, "Concealing Fate", was split into six parts for a total length of twenty seven minutes and forty seconds. This was Tesseract's only full-length release with vocalist Daniel Tompkins until his return in 2014. A bonus track entitled "Hollow" was released digitally to those who pre-ordered One from Century Media.

One (2009–2011)

In 2009, the original lead vocalist, Abisola Obasanya, left the band and was replaced by Daniel Tompkins. [4] Acle had come into contact with Tompkins while assisting with the production of the album, Atlantic with his previous band, First Signs of Frost. The band reworked the album's songs with Tompkins, moving towards a 2010 release. Just before beginning their first major tour series, Tesseract released Concealing Fate , a six-track suite that forms the centrepiece of their debut album, One , which was released on 22 March 2011. [5] [6] Later that year, Tesseract toured throughout the UK in support of One with openers Chimp Spanner and Uneven Structure, [7] and also performed at the Sonisphere Festival in Knebworth.

First Signs of Frost is an English post-hardcore/tech rock band from South East, London. Forming in July 2004, the four piece originally conformed by guitarist and vocalist Owen Hughes-Holland along with guitarist Adam Mason, bassist Dan Oehlman and drummer William Gates. After embarking on numerous tours the band made a significant impact on the UK's underground rock scene.

<i>Concealing Fate</i> 2010 EP by Tesseract

Concealing Fate is the debut EP by British progressive metal band Tesseract, released on 11 October 2010. "This is a concept album based on life and its obstacles," said vocalist Daniel Tompkins which was featured on a bonus DVD along with their first studio album One. Concealing Fate is split into 6 parts: Acceptance, Deception, The Impossible, Perfection, Epiphany, and Origin. A live studio play through of Concealing Fate was also included as a bonus DVD along with One and a video for Deception was released in 2010.

Uneven Structure band that plays post-metal

Uneven Structure is a progressive metal band based in Metz, France. They play a style of post-metal which is heavily influenced by the Swedish extreme metal band Meshuggah. The band blends polyrhythmic passages and extremely low tunings with a heavily layered production style and ambient soundscapes. They are often categorized in the djent movement due to the Meshuggah-like guitar tone they often employ. The band was formed after the split of Longchat, a band which featured Igor Omodei and Benoit Friedrich.

Perspective EP (2011–2012)

On 20 August 2011, rumours began spreading that vocalist Daniel Tompkins had left the band, as Tesseract were seen performing with a different vocalist during a gig at the Craufurd Arms in Milton Keynes. This was confirmed by the band a few days later on 23 August, when they introduced Elliot Coleman as the band's new vocalist. [8] Daniel Tompkins went on to sing for the progressive metal band, Skyharbor, the pop rock band, In Colour, and his experimental side project White Moth Black Butterfly.


Skyharbor is an Indian/American progressive metal band with members from New Delhi and Mumbai, India; and Cleveland, Ohio, US.

White Moth Black Butterfly

White Moth Black Butterfly is a British/Indian/American cross-continental progressive pop project with members from Nottinghamshire, UK, New Delhi, India, and Salt Lake City, Utah, US. The group consists of TesseracT lead singer Daniel Tompkins, Skyharbor guitarist Keshav Dhar, as well as Randy Slaugh (keyboards/orchestrations), Jordan Bethany (vocals), and Mac Christensen (drums).

In September 2011, an instrumental version of One was digitally released and in October 2011, both the original and the instrumental versions were released on vinyl as a double LP. [9]

During early 2012, Tesseract worked on an acoustic EP inspired by the radio acoustic session they played in Brooklyn, New York a year before. This came to be known as Perspective, which was released on 25 May 2012. [10]

<i>Perspective</i> (EP) 2012 EP by Tesseract

Perspective is the second EP by British progressive metal band Tesseract, released on 21 May 2012. The EP is not a metal record, instead it consists of new renditions of four songs from One: a newly edited version of "Eden" called "Eden 2.0" and acoustic versions of the songs "Perfection," "April," and "Origin." It also includes a cover of Jeff Buckley's "Dream Brother". It is the band's first and only release with vocalist Elliot Coleman, who left the band in June 2012, mere weeks after the release of Perspective.

Altered State (2012–2014)

On 12 June 2012 Tesseract announced that Coleman had amicably left the band. [11] On 7 September 2012 the band announced that they had found their yet-unnamed new vocalist and would release the single, "Nocturne", on 12 October. [12] A series of shows in Europe was also announced, including a performance at Euroblast Festival. [13] [14] It was later revealed that the new singer was Ashe O'Hara. [15] [16] Tesseract issued a short statement about the new vocalist on their website. [17]

On 28 February 2013 the band unveiled a release date for Altered State alongside a full track listing of the album. The album is a 51-minute continuous piece divided into four large sections (Of Matter, Of Mind, Of Reality, Of Energy), each of which contains several tracks. On 30 April "Singularity" was aired on BBC Radio 1's Rock show, [18] and was later released on their SoundCloud account. [19]

During a phone interview with Metal Injection, Williams stated that the band would be going on tour in the United States during the summer of 2013 and touring Europe in late 2013.

Altered State was streamed in its entirety on 12 May 2013 on Century Media's official YouTube channel, [20] two weeks before its 27 May release.

Odyssey/Scala and Polaris (2014–2016)

On 27 June 2014, it was announced that Tesseract had parted ways with vocalist Ashe O'Hara, and that Dan Tompkins would be rejoining the band as vocalist, leaving Skyharbor. [21] On 18 May 2015, Tesseract released Odyssey/Scala, their first live DVD and album compilation.

Shortly after Daniel Tompkins reunited with the band, writing and recording for a third studio album began. The band made frequent updates on social media depicting the members tracking multiple instruments in studio. On 10 July 2015 Tesseract's official Facebook page released a video teaser for the new album titled Polaris . They also released album art and set a release date for 18 September 2015. A full album stream was uploaded to YouTube by Kscope Music on 15 September 2015. In November 2015, the band toured in support of the new album with opening bands including The Contortionist, ERRA, and Skyharbor.

Sonder (2017–present)

Writing for Sonder was done throughout 2017. The band released the promo single, "Smile", on 23 June 2017. Several band members, including Acle Kahney and Amos Williams, acknowledged that the single was not a complete final mix, and it would be further refined before its release on Sonder. According to Amos on Kscope's website, "We have a solid idea of where we would like to take this track on the next album, as it is in no way finished." [22] Tesseract's fourth studio album, Sonder, was announced on 8 February 2018. The lead single, "Luminary", was also released on February 8, and a second single, "King", was released on 16 March. The full album was released on 20 April 2018. [23]

Musical style

Tesseract play a specific style of progressive metal that often features polyrhythmic riffs, odd time signatures, and several atmospheric layers. The band have stated that they do not compose their music with specific polyrhythms in mind, but play what they feel fits the groove. They also include a mid-range distorted guitar tone and melodic clean passages, heavily influenced by ambient music. [24] [25] [26] The band typically plays in the style of the subgenre djent, pioneered by Meshuggah and SikTh. The vocal style of the band has seen a considerable shift. On One, Daniel Tompkins employed a mixture of clean and harsh vocals, with an emphasis on long, drawn out notes. However, Ashe O'Hara's performances on Altered State dropped the harsh vocals entirely, in favour of a more melodic style with an emphasis on strong melodic "hooks". In an interview with Metalspree, Ashe stated, "[R]ight now, being ourselves is to have purely melodic vocals. With ‘One’ they felt they had to have harsh vocals in order to be accepted by the community. But, they’ve never really wanted to be that type of band". [27]

In his interview with Metal Injection, Amos Williams stated that the decision to drop harsh vocals entirely from future material was an unconscious collective decision by the band and this made the search for a new vocalist extremely hard. His explanation was that many vocalists with an entirely clean style do not want to live the "metal" lifestyle of regular touring, or do not enjoy metal music enough to want to take part in a band with Tesseract's style. While Altered State did not feature any harsh vocals whatsoever, the return of Daniel Tompkins to the band for the album, Polaris, reintroduced the audience to harsh vocals through subtle background growls on the songs "Messenger" and "Cages". Although the vocals on their 2018 release, Sonder, remained mostly clean and melodic, the songs "King" and "Smile" featured prominent growls for the first time since the album, One.

Throughout their career, the band have produced, mixed, and mastered all of their material themselves. Williams is a qualified audio engineer and Acle Kahney has carried out production, mixing, and mastering work for several other progressive metal bands under the name 4D Sounds. [28]

Amos Williams stated in an interview [29] that Tesseract's music is relatively reliant on the bass in comparison to other metal bands: He states that "[The bass] is always on its own little shelf" in the music and that during the production process "We left a lot of room for there to be sub and actual bass stuff going on".

Awards and nominations

YearNominee / workAwardResult
2011One Golden Gods Award for Best New Band Nominated
2012One Progressive Music Award for New Blood Won
2013Altered State Progressive Music Award for Album of the Year Nominated

Band members


Tesseract (band)


Studio albums

TitleAlbum detailsPeak chart positions
Altered State
  • Released: 27 May 2013
  • Label: Century Media
  • Released: 18 September 2015
  • Label: Kscope
  • Released: 20 April 2018
  • Label: Kscope

Extended plays

Live albums




Tours and festivals

Related Research Articles

Sikth are a British progressive metal band from Watford, Hertfordshire, England, formed in 1999. They are considered to have been a key influence on the development of djent alongside Meshuggah..

Xerath were a British heavy metal band from Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK. The band formed in 2007, and gained international recognition after the release of their debut album I (One) via Candlelight Records in 2009, a record label they stuck with throughout their existence.

Fellsilent were a British heavy metal band from Milton Keynes. They possessed a technical, polyrhythmic style similar to bands such as Meshuggah and Sikth. The band also focused on some melodic elements. They released their debut album, The Hidden Words, in 2008 which gained immediate popularity among metal fans. Touring with other British bands such as Enter Shikari and Exit Ten helped them to gain further popularity. In 2008, Fellsilent signed to US record label Sumerian Records.

Djent is a subgenre of progressive metal, named for an onomatopoeia for the distinctive high-gain, distorted, palm-muted, low-pitch guitar sound.

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The Contortionist

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<i>Altered State</i> (Tesseract album) 2013 studio album by Tesseract

Altered State is the second studio album by British progressive metal band Tesseract, released on 27 May 2013 on Century Media Records.

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<i>Polaris</i> (Tesseract album) 2015 studio album by Tesseract

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Randy Slaugh is a Grammy-nominated and Juno award-winning string arranger, record producer and composer based in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is known for his orchestration work with Periphery, Architects, Devin Townsend, TesseracT, and Skyharbor, and as a member of the cross-continental music group White Moth Black Butterfly. In recent years, he has worked in film & TV music, and has secured placements on Netflix, CBS, NBC, Discovery Channel, ESPN, VH1, MTV, A&E, NFL, Bravo, Food Network and others.

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<i>Sonder</i> (album) 2018 studio album by Tesseract

Sonder is the fourth studio album by English progressive metal band, Tesseract. It was released on 20 April 2018 through Kscope, following Polaris (2015).


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