TesseracT – Polaris

TESSERACT_RingMaster Review

Lost in the beauty and technical magnetism of Polaris, a trio of thoughts leap forward to lead the increasing enjoyment and personal plaudits brewing up for the album. Firstly this is without doubt a typical TesseracT proposition, but not in any way one dosed with predictability or repetitious emulation of past triumphs. Their third full-length has the bands unmistakable presence and imagination, their renowned craft and riveting bold adventure, all colluding to create a brand new journey of creative evolution leading to expansive yet fiercely intimate discoveries.

Secondly like the creation of a painting, each track within Polaris plays like a layer upon layer; each individually standing alone but uniting to cast a rich and fully immersive landscape of emotive and provocative sonic incitement. They are textures to a whole which can be explored singularly or as one fluid movement across a record which just fascinates and transfixes at every turn.

The final leading thought is that everything seems right with the world as the returning voice of singer Daniel Tompkins caresses and roars in ears. As impressive and thickly important to past successes that previous vocalists Elliot Coleman or Ashe O’Hara were, something is complete with Tompkins sharing his vocal and emotional heart within the ever stirring sounds of the band.

Polaris cover_RingMaster Review       Released by the band’s new label Kscope, Polaris opens with Dystopia, it emerging through dank shadows with a tight spiral of riffs and atmospheric chills. Soon a swing grips the guitars of Acle Kahney and James Monteith, riffs and grooves enlivened with energy and a swagger as Tompkins walks their lure with his assured and distinctive tones. Pretty soon everything catches aflame, the guitars becoming openly fiery, vocals impassioned, and the bass of Amos Williams, well that just turns out the most delicious steely growl. With the dynamic beats of Jay Postones as skilfully impacting as ever, the track shows the band is on striking creative form individually and as one, and building yet another new drama of sound and imagination to get greedy over.

Of course one song does not dictate the way an album goes but its suggestiveness is quickly backed by Hexes and Survival after that, the next pair swiftly pushing on the emerging and immersion exploration within the album. The first of these two initially creates a celestial melodic sigh, its lingering elegance casting a radiance which keys and vocals share as the spatial depths of the track come into view. Its poetic glow just thickens around the subsequent vocal unions of Tompkins and Williams, remaining a rich hue as the track continually simmers and boils with intensity and emotion the further into its controlled yet tempestuous body is stretches. The track is hypnotic, seductive, and portentous; a stunning captivation matched by its successor which also opens on an absorbing calm but much sooner exudes a feistier blaze of emotion. Like a fire it smoulders and blazes, licks at the senses and crackles with aggression, and like a mass of flames totally bewitches the senses as they stare at its seamlessly volatile beauty.

Tourniquet spreads harmonic radiation next, keys and vocals an intensive caress against the mouth-watering rhythmic bait and prowess of Postones. They keep their mesmeric grip even as the guitars wind up their technical endeavour and intensity, parting only once the full technical and inventive theatre of Utopia takes over. A maze of styles and flavours cored by another entrapment of ardour sparking bass enterprise, the next song simply engrosses with its dramatic tenacity in sound and ideation, and indeed vocal strength where again Tompkins and Williams are riveting in their part within the superb creative emprise.

With a more reserved but no less impacting presence, the following Phoenix lives up to the suggestiveness of its name. Melodies leap like flames throughout, springing from a subdued canvas to soar, as the vocals, across the rich sonic sky of the encounter. Ears and emotions are full and basking before Messenger takes over with its spiny grooves and jagged riffs aligned to classically sultry keys and a melodic character which just oozes elegance, even when embraced by the more rugged elements of the track. Both songs drag ears and imagination deeper into their diversely textured depths, and like all songs and subsequently the album as a whole, reveal new twists, nuances, and creative revelations with each and very listen.

The immersive ambience bringing Cages to the fore is instantly compelling but once the song slips into something melodically and evocatively ‘comfortable’ it becomes truly spellbinding. Bass and drums flirt with rapacious tenacity whilst the guitars and keys impose their tempting with gaseous prowess, invading every pore for the richest pleasure. The song epitomises the album; every element and slither of inventiveness familiarly TesseracT but nurtured within a band taking their songwriting and imagination into new realms of experimentation and personal exploration.

Completed by the mouth-watering Seven Names, it is fair to say that Polaris is sensational and lives up to the hype already brewing around it on its first listen alone. The fact that it just gets more stunning and impressive with each additional play tells you why we believe that the new TesseracT album is the progressive/groove metal triumph of the year.

Polaris is out now via Kscope now across most online stores.

Pete RingMaster 25/09/2015

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Exxasens – Back To Earth

cover_RingMaster Review

Sheer captivation for ears and imagination, Back To Earth is as much a rich flight of suggestion as it is a sonic portrait. It offers a persistently evolving journey within its walls which leads every single involvement in that spatial adventure breeding new and different explorations within the imagination. The new album is the new offering from Spanish rock band Exxasens who weave a revolving kaleidoscope of post and space rock which equally draws on other potent flavours immersed in ambient majesty. There is an almost exhausting richness and density to the textures and creative hues crafted within the release and it is fair to say everything together leaves ears and imagination basking.

Exxasens was originally the solo project of Barcelona guitarist/programmer Jordi Ruiz (Playmotive, Kyba) who took the inspiration of space and “particularly those that have voyaged heroically into its heart of darkness” as the spark to his compositions and explorations. That theme has continued to be the incitement across each song crafted and proposition released, starting from debut album Polaris, released by ConSouling Sounds in 2008. Its successor Beyond The Universe the following year, again via the same label, awoke greater attention as Ruiz’s predominantly instrumental soundscapes continue to grow and expand as the realm they explored. Eleven Miles came next, released in 2011 on Aloud Music Ltd who also provided the vehicle for the critically acclaimed Satellites to be devoured through two years later. Since then Exxasens has grown to a quartet with bassist Cesc Cespedes, keyboardist Sergio Ledesma, and drummer Oriol Planells linking up with Ruiz, and now unveiling the eight track absorption that is Back To Earth.

From the sultrily alluring charm of Supernova, the album bewitches and involves the listener. The opener casts a smooth yet invigorated adventure through gentle and seductive spatial caresses edged by more volatile rhythmic agitation. Endearing melodies slip from the guitars like ripe fruit from a tree whilst the keys are more mist like with an equal potency on ears and thoughts. Their lures are aligned to dramatic rhythms which just intensify as the song’s atmosphere becomes increasingly fiery. It is a thrilling and enthralling take off for the album which My Hands Are Planets hones into its own energetically ethereal insight. As across most tracks there is a loneliness echoed by the sounds but one which simultaneously welcomes attention with a warm tempting; these reassuring colours and atmospherics portrayed through rousing melodies and evocative synth cast seducing.

Comparisons to the like of Mogwai and 65daysofdstatic have been lent the band previously and indeed towards Back To Earth, easy to understand why with the masterful entwining of sounds and elements within tracks like Hugeness and Oniria’s Interlude, though all tracks certainly spin their own identity with the first of this pair courting a more rugged and rocky scenery of textures and energy where extremes embroil in each other’s beauty, often with whirlpool like tenacity and appetite. Additionally enriched by a melodic choir like array of voices at one point, the track is superb, rousing the energies before its successor calms them back down with its radiant melodies and provocative stringed beauty. Its irresistible charm leads ears and emotions into the exhilarating multi-toned depths of Your Dreams Are My Dreams and another ever changing and compelling emprise of sound and suggestiveness.

Bright Side Of The Moon has a more exotic air as Porcupine Tree like flames incite within an increasingly mercurial atmosphere. It is a tempting which becomes more aggressively arousing and in turn intoxicating with every twisting groove and fiercely expressive sonic enticement before Saturn comes forward with new provocative exploits. With vocals for the only time on the album a prominent and highly agreeable proposal and texture, the track is as fascinating as it is electrifying, its Tool meets Voyager meets God Is An Astronaut an easy immersion.

Completed by its rhythmically galvanic, melodically spellbinding, and sonically searing title track, Back To Earth just takes you to other realms and new climates with fresh awareness of sound and in one’s own thoughts. Quite simply the album is glorious and Exxasens an incitement to real musical adventure all should partake in.

Back To Earth is available now via Aloud Music Ltd in Europe, the Ricco Label in Asia (Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia), and Rock-House in Russia.

Pete RingMaster 08/09/2015

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