The evening of February 4, 2016, involved me going to the Institute venue in Birmingham to see prog-metal favorites TesseracT, fresh off the back of the release of their third studio album Polaris. Performing alongside the headliners TesseracT were opening act Nordic Giants and support band The Contortionist, resulting in a night of progressive rock and metal.
Opening act Nordic Giants took to the stage first, and performed their solely instrumental music alongside a set of videos which the audience watched in conjunction with the songs being performed by the owl-headdress adorned post-rock duo. Being at the venue for this set was quite a unique experience as I had no knowledge of Nordic Giants before seeing them, but as the set gradually moved from start to finish I realized that what I was witnessing was not to my taste. For those who can appreciate the spectacle of Nordic Giants, I’m sure it is something to be enjoyed but I found myself easily distracted throughout.
As mentioned previously, the support act for the evening was The Contortionist, who delivered a surprisingly refreshing hybrid of expected progressive elements along with plenty of heavy deathcore sections which created a welcome alternative, and allowed the band to jump back and forth from one impressive musical style to the other. The light show was another notable spectacle for the set, with the entire room being illuminated by strobe lighting which bounced off the ceiling creating quite an interesting atmosphere for those in attendance. In terms of the setlist, The Contortionist performed various tracks from across their four-album discography, featuring songs such as “Thrive”, “Flourish”, “Primal Detective” and “Primordial Sound”, amongst others. In general, The Contortionist performed an interesting set which was complimented by the excellent light show spectacle.
The final band to perform on the night was headliners TesseracT, who put on the most impressive set of the evening by a quite considerable distance, which is a decent accolade considering the quality of The Contortionist’s performance. Just like the previous band, TesseracT’s music was accompanied by a spectacular light show. Their setlist was also impressive, with a 14-song setlist overall featuring tracks such as opening song “Phoenix” being performed alongside other songs such as “Survival”, “Dystopia”, “Hexes”, and the dual “Of Matter” and “Concealing Fate” trilogies all featured in the set. The crowd, while not a traditionally heavy metal audience, was also won over by TesseracT’s performance, as seen all around the room.
To conclude, TesseracT performed an admirable set alongside support acts Nordic Giants and The Contortionist, even if post-rock and progressive metal isn’t my go to taste in music.