TesseracT’s ‘PORTALS’ Deserves Its Own Spot Among This Year’s Top New Live Recordings

Courtesy: KScope Records

The COVID-19 pandemic put a serious hit on the music industry in 2020.  It caused the industry to completely shut down all live music.  Now this year, live music is back, but is still continuing to take a hit as a result of the pandemic.  Thankfully, a lot of bands made the best of a bad situation last year, launching a series of livestream events to make up for revenues lost from those live cancellations.  One of the many bands that went the livestream route was the progressive metal band TesseracT.  The band held a one-of-a-kind livestream even dubbed, PORTALS Dec. 12.  Now Friday, audiences can own that livestream performance to enjoy any time when it is released through KScope Records.  The recording is a standout edition to this year’s field of new live recordings.  The recording’s success is due in part to the its set list, which will be discussed shortly.  The band’s performance thereof builds on the appeal established by the set list.  It will be discussed a little later.  The recording’s production rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, they make PORTALS one of the best of this year’s new live recordings, as well as one of the year’s best new live CD and BD/DVD offerings.

TesseracT’s forthcoming presentation of its 2020 PORTALS livestream event is only the second live recording that the band has ever released.  While only the band’s second-ever live recording, it is an impressive offering.  Its success comes in part through its featured set list.  The set list spans 14 songs and all four of the band’s albums, as well as one of its three EPs.  It lifts liberally from all four albums, too, with the band’s debut 2011 album One getting two nods.  The band’s sophomore album, Altered State (2013) is represented with three songs.  Polaris (2015) gets four nods while Sonder (2018) sees five songs featured in this set list.  The band’s debut record, its 2010 EP, Concealing Fate even gets one nod here with the song, ‘Tourniquet.’  The short and simple of the set list is that the band reaches all the way back to its beginnings with this set list.  Yes, the band’s other two EPs – Perspective (2012) and Errai (2016) are omitted here, but that is a minor omission.  Considering that the band offered audiences such a rich selection of content from its catalog is sure to appeal to audiences new and old alike.  It gives audiences plenty of reason in itself to keep audiences engaged and entertained and is just a portion of what makes the recording so appealing.  The band’s performance of that expansive set list builds on the appeal ensured through the set list.

The band’s performance of the noted set list is impressive in itself.  Considering that the band, like so many others in 2020, held its performance without an in-person audience, the performance still brought out the best in the band.  Front man Daniel Tompkins’ subtle presence alongside his band mates is so powerful in its own right in its simplicity.  The control that he exhibits throughout the concert is amazing in itself.  Speaking of the other band members, they – Alec Kahney (guitar), Jay Postones (drums), James Monteith (guitar), and Amos Williams (bass) – exhibit their own control throughout the performance.  The group’s performance of ‘Nocturne’ serves well to support that statement.  The tight, sharp guitar riffs, equally precise time keeping, and rich bass line build the atmosphere here alongside Tompkins’ vocals.  It shows the full attention to detail that each musician paid to his respective performance both by itself and alongside those of his band mates.  The precision is evident not only there, but also in the likes of ‘Juno.’  That song’s riffs cut through so sharply and precisely alongside the bass line and Tompkins’ vocals.  Postones’ ability to keep time here, even with so much going on even in his own part, is impressive in its own right.  Those moments when the band comes together in the choruses creates such a powerful wall of sound approach that still has its own control.  It creates such a strong impact, too, showing again the importance of the band’s performance.  Between this performance, that of ‘Nocturne’ and so many others throughout the concert, the band gives its all even though its audiences were on the other side of a computer screen.  It made the best of a bad situation and put on a full performance that is as strong as the performance in the band’s debut live recording, Odyssey/Scala (2015) and that of any other band of its ilk.  That overall performance, together with the recording’s set list, makes even clearer the power of the presentation in whole.  The collective is just a part of what makes the recording appealing.  The concert’s production puts its own positive touch to the presentation.

The production that went into PORTALS is impressive to say the very least.  Audiences get the best seat in the house throughout.  There is a lot going on in each song in terms of the arrangements.  They go from soft to loud and back again with so much in-between in each work.  That means that so much attention had to be paid to the audio mix in each song.  Considering that the band was performing without an audience, this was especially important to address because it meant there was no one else present to soak up the sound.  Clearly the fullest attention was paid to this detail.  That is because with so much going on, no one member of the band overpowers his band mates.  Every heavy, crunching riff is audible alongside every hard hit against the drums and cymbals.  The low-end from the bass works with the drums and guitars to enrich every song in its own right, really giving each composition a certain appealing edge, too.  Even the vocals work so well alongside the instrumentations throughout.  Audiences who own a home theater system will especially catch it all and really appreciate the whole. 

On a related now, the camera work also plays into the production.  The cuts from one camera to the next are expertly timed.  They help enhance the experience just as much as the audio production.  The quality of those shots is of the highest quality, too.  It makes the lasers and the lighting add their own unique richness to the video presentation.  When the expert production in the video is paired with that of the recording’s audio mix, the whole makes the recording’s aesthetic value just as positive as its content.  When that content is considered along with the recording’s production, the whole shows fully why PORTALS is such an impressive new live offering from TesseracT.

TesseracT’s forthcoming presentation of its 2020 livestream event, PORTALS is another impressive live offering from the band.  That is even with the recording being only the second live offering from the band.  The recording’s success is due in part to its set list.  The expansive set list all four of the band’s albums and one of its three total EPs.  In other words, it presents audiences with a rich representation of the band’s catalog.  The band’s performance of the noted set list adds to the recording’s appeal because the band takes the concert just as seriously as it would a live, in-person concert, as is evident.  Each performer puts his best foot forward in each song, the whole group showing throughout the concert that it wanted to give its audiences an experience that would be just as special and memorable as that offered through its in-person shows.  The recording’s production works with the noted overall content to round out its most important elements.  It brings everything full circle, making the concert experience that much more enjoyable.  That is due to the balance in the audio mix and in the video.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the recording’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the recording one of the best of this year’s field of new live offerings.  PORTALS is scheduled for release Friday through KScope Records.

More information on TesseracT’s upcoming home release of its PORTALS concert is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:




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2 thoughts on “TesseracT’s ‘PORTALS’ Deserves Its Own Spot Among This Year’s Top New Live Recordings

  1. Pingback: TesseracT Debuts Live ‘Concealing Fate Pt. 1’ Clip | philspicks

  2. Pingback: TesseracT Debuts Live ‘Concealing Fate Pt. 1’ Clip

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