The Contortionist, Skyharbor, Erra
Wed, December 2, 2015
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pmTrees
This event is all ageshttp://www.treesdallas.com/event/994519/
What TesseracT has achieved with Polaris, released by their new UK label home Kscope, is nothing short of total liberation in an otherwise rigid genre. Many progressive metal bands will claim creative independence but in fact adhere to the same "rules" as anyone else. Much the way Tool, Deftones, and Radiohead created signature atmospheric fingerprints while reinvigorating their sound with each new album's broadened horizons, TesseracT's evolution is one of perpetual motion. The journey is itself the destination and the albums are the vehicles.
Unburdened by genre restrictions, emboldened by an embrace of melody, dynamics and singular focus, TesseracT delivers a bold statement of purpose with Polaris. TesseracT founder Acle Kahney (lead guitar), longtime collaborators Jay Postones (drums), Amos Williams (bass, backing vocals), and James Monteith (guitar), and returning vocalist Daniel Tompkins (whose first show back was on the mainstage at the U.K.'s Sonisphere) have honed in on the most exciting elements of their now trademarked sound. Dense, destructive, reconstructive, and forward-thinking, Polaris delivers on the promises made with the fierce One and the even more progressive Altered State.
Storytelling with both lyricism and musicianship, TesseracT's compositions are dense with meaning and urgent with something to say, literally and figuratively. The straightforward and boldly accessible "Seven Names" is alternately poetic, while the Alice in Wonderland like "Utopia" is almost melodramatic and theatrical. "Hexes" will appeal to those weaned on Classic Rock, even as Tompkins' enrapturing tones interplay with the Jeff Buckley style croon of critically acclaimed guest vocalist Martin Grech. "Cages" is among the band's most progressive songs, a musical attack on creative expectations even as the lyrics (like "Messenger") deconstruct social conditioning.
The diverse array of spacious warmth, controlled chaos, and earnest atmosphere on display in TesseracT's music hints at an ambitious future more in line with legendary cultural mile-markers like Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis, and Porcupine Tree. Made in England just like their modern likeminded descendants in TesseracT, these are bands that blazed a trail for newcomers endeavoring to establish a formidable body of work.
The band's two full-length albums and as many EPs established the U.K. act among the creative leadership of a subgenre flourishing beneath the shadow of the mighty Meshuggah; a progressive metal subset pushed forward evolutionarily by TesseracT and their contemporaries in bands like Periphery, Animals As Leaders,and Textures.
Radiohead's OK Computer, Metallica's Master of Puppets, Iron Maiden's The Number of the Beast, U2's War, Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run, The Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness – these are records that took the idea of the "difficult third album" and smashed it to bits, etching a crucial and timeless moment in stone for each respective artist. While TesseracT have no pretentions about what history may or may not decide about their contributions, they are in one-hundred percent control of their creative trajectory and cement a bold identity with their own album three, POLARIS.
TesseracT has arrived at the highly coveted destination of true creative freedom through bold artistic risk-taking, which has resulted in a loyal audience who are not only comfortable with being challenged by each successive release, but demand to be. A new TesseracT recording is a gift to unwrap, a puzzle to solve, an adventure that beckons.
On Clairvoyant, the band’s distinctive fingerprints remain, even as their atmospheric flourishes broaden to encompass ever-richer textures and mine the beauty of simplicity.
For the entirety of their career, The Contortionist has proven capable of being been equally at home on tour with Deftones, Periphery, or Between The Buried And Me, thanks to their dynamic combination of metal’s blunt precision with the adventurous spirit of prog-rock
heroes like Rush and King Crimson. The Contortionist integrates seemingly disparate worlds to create their own sound, with a focus on tone, vibe, color, and atmosphere.
The band’s first two records, Exoplanet (2010) and Intrinsic (2012), are monstrously heavy,though no less ambitious than their newer and more expansive creative declarations. The character of The Contortionist’s sound expanded greatly with Language, the 2014 monolithic album that introduced the band’s current lineup of vocalist Michael Lessard, keyboardist Eric Guenther, and bassist Jordan Eberhardt alongside co-founding members Cameron Maynard (guitar) and brothers Robby Baca (guitar) and Joey Baca (drums). In it’s
5/5 review, Substream praised the album as being akin to “a journey through a dream state.” Prog Metal Zone was similarly kind, awarding the album 10/10 and remarking on its propulsive drum rhythms, ambient keyboards, fusion, and “astonishingly inventive flight(s) of
Clairvoyant, which reunited the band with producer Jamie King (Between The Buried And Me, Through The Eyes Of The Dead), takes the best elements of The Contortionist’s past and reshapes them as the band follows their individual creative muses toward the future.
The Contortionist ultimately prove to have as much in common with the psychedelic experimentation of later Opeth or Tool and even the textured melodicism of Sigur Ros as they do technical heavy music, but they’ve never sacrificed urgent impact. Critics and fans
admire their intelligent approach to the crushing riffs of tech-metal, which becomes more vibrant with elements of ambitious post rock and jazzy / fusion-infused virtuosity. Even when angular riffs, odd time signatures, and devastating breakdowns give way to hypnotic,ethereal, and trancelike musical meditations, The Contortionist are never lacking in total power.
In whatever The Contortionist endeavors to do, there will always be a great amount of thought, attention to detail, and shared love of musicality. They have committed to never surrender to the path of least resistance, always challenging themselves and their audience.
This is art for art’s sake. The Contortionist ease through the doors of perception with grace where possible and smash through the boundaries with absolute force when necessary.
-John Whitmore / The Circle Pit
From a file on a computer sitting in New Delhi, to a full-fledged touring band with members from around the world formed over the internet – Skyharbor have defied convention every step of the way. The debut album 'Blinding White Noise' was released worldwide in 2012 to critical acclaim, and earned the band a dedicated fan following across the globe. Since then, Skyharbor have been performing regularly around the world and making waves with their distinctive brand of sweeping, ethereal prog-rock, fronted by Daniel Tompkins' powerful and emotional storytelling vocal style. Having played at some of the biggest festival stages in the world barely 20 shows into their career, Skyharbor continue to grow rapidly as a group and musical entity as they prepare to launch their second album 'Guiding Lights' in November 2014.
Their album Augment was released on Tragic Hero Records and maintains their technical ability, while presenting songs with the potential to embrace a broader audience. The word "Augment" means to enhance or grow, which is what the band believes they have achieved on the album. "It's a very appropriate title based on everything we are trying to accomplish and all the growth we have gone through since our last record," says guitarist Jesse Cash. "Nothing is taken away or watered down, only improved upon, and if anything, we accentuated all the parts that people wanted to hear more of this time around."
Following the release of Augment was their debut EP "Moments of Clarity." The band made necessary changes to assist their stylistic growth and progressive musical talents. Newly signed to Sumerian Records, ERRA hit the road with musical influences Born of Osiris in late 2014 playing for thousands of people across North America. Their first confirmed tour in 2015 is with metal phenomenon, August Burns Red. In Spring 2015, ERRA will be taking their talents to another level as they go to record their first studio album with Sumerian Records.
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