TesseracT – Errai

7 Production
7 Composition
5 Mood
7 Instrumentation

Remakes, sequels and “re-imaginings” seem to be all the rage these days in the entertainment industry. It seems you can’t go to the cinema without seeing at least one sequel to some beloved movie from the 1980’s or 1990’s. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it helps introduce that particular movie universe to audiences who may have missed the original the first time around. Of course, the movie could miss the mark completely and leave one wondering “was all of this really necessary?”.

RELEASE DATE: 16 September 2016 LABEL: Kscope

The music industry is no different with many artists experimenting with re-mixes and re-imaginings of previous albums. One album I found that really stood on its own and was maybe even better than the original was Katatonia’s acoustic re-working of Dead End Kings, Dethroned and Uncrowned. That album worked well on so many levels due to its own unique sound and ability to stand on its own two feet when compared to the original source material. Sure, these were all the same songs and in the same order, but every song was a vastly different experience and it was like listening to a new album all over again.

TesseracT, one of the best bands in the business right now, have attempted their own re-imagining of their fantastic 2015 release Polaris, which I thought was one of the best releases of 2015. Errai sees four songs off of Polaris re-worked, eschewing the djent-grooves and pummelling drums for swelling synths and acoustic flourishes. It is very refreshing to hear TesseracT experimenting with things such as piano-driven passages and electronic drums. As always, Daniel Tompkins puts in an absolutely stunning performance, and his voice really benefits from the more stripped back and slower instrumentation going on around him with the nuances in his vocals being very pronounced. The vocal performance on “7 Names” is particularly spine-tingling, and is the strongest of the four songs on Errai, easily standing shoulder to shoulder with the original. “Survival” deserves a mention as well due to the wonderfully executed piano driving the entirety of the song

It is unfortunate though that Errai does not feel fully realised, and I think TesseracT may have missed a great opportunity here to try a full-length re-working of Polaris. Only 2 out of the 4 tracks really hit the mark, with “Cages” and “Tourniquet” feeling too similar to their Polaris counterparts and more like re-mixed bonus tracks at the end of an album. Do 4 tracks justify their very own release?  I don’t really think so, but it will be a nice addition to the upcoming double CD Touring Edition of Polaris that the band has planned for release. In the crazy world of sequels and re-makes, Errai is by no means a failure, and if even a few listeners discover the wonderful Polaris through Errai then I would say the EP has done its job.

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