On December 12th, British progressive metallers TesseracT gave the world to Portals: A Cinematic Live Experience. A pre-recorded performance where any issues and/or imperfections have been removed and edited out resulting in a polished and squeaky-clean performance. While this mean we’re not being treated to a live performance here, it is TesseracT as they’re meant to be experienced. Anyone who has ever seen them live can attest to the visual wonder that is their performance.
It’s not just about the music though as at irregular intervals, we’re treated to short movie-like clips that have a simulated and unnatural science-fiction feel about them. The narrative that is being told through these clips will barely resonate though. There is the feeling of a missed opportunity here. Yes, these clips make it feel more cinematic, but serve to be little more than a distraction overall.
Who cares though, right? No-one is tuning into Portals to watch a movie. We’re all here to hear some class progressive metal from one of the best bands at it these days.
Similar to their live shows in front of a crowd, TesseracT take the minimalist approach to what is on stage. The visuals of their sparse surroundings and their choice to all wear black makes it feel cold and empty. Which is where the lights come in. Now if there is a band who know how to use lights to enhance their musical performance and to help tell a tale, it is TesseracT. On Portals: A Cinematic Live Experience, that is no different. Especially as certain parts of the show are given their own specific hue to match the feel.
Focusing on 2013’s Altered State album to begin with, the three-part epic that is Of Matter (Proxy, Retrospect and Resist) sets the scene wonderfully. However, it’s a monumental King from 2018’s Sonder that will get you sitting up a little straighter in the chair. It might sound incredibly polished to the ears but if you’ve ever seen them live, you can’t help but be transported to that moment again here.
Heading right back to the start and their debut album, One/debut EP Concealing Fate. TesseracT treat us to the first three parts of that track; Part 1: Acceptance, Part 2: Deception and Part 3: The Impossible.
It’s here you might notice that as tight and sophisticated TesseracT are, they don’t exactly look to be having fun. Now, that’s par for the course really, but it would have been nice to see them crack a smile on occasion. Their stony -faced expressions has a habit of reminding you that you are watching a pre-recorded performance.
A minor complaint, but we’re quite big on the whole ‘look like you’re enjoying yourself on stage and that infectiousness will spread’.
Choosing to now focus on Polaris and Sonder, we get treated to some of TesseracT’s best modern work with Tourniquet, Beneath My Skin, Mirror Image, Orbital, Juno, Cages, Dystopia and Phoenix. A massive segment of the set that most will find themselves agape through the sheer progressive wonder TesseracT spill out.
It’s back to Altered State for Of Mind – Nocturne, and Of Energy – Singularity and Embers with Eden from One in between. Before Seven Names off Polaris wraps up the experience. An experience that is certainly a showcase of just how smooth and classy TesseracT can be. The whole ‘cinematic experience’ might be over-egging the pudding as it where but visually and sonically, you can’t say it isn’t a delicacy.
Want to watch the show but missed the stream? Fear not! It is available on demand here. As well as merch bundles and more!
TesseracT's Portals: A Cinematic Live Experience (12/12/20)
The Final Score - 8/10