Tesseract, those lovely purveyors of tech-rock riffs and massive vocal melodies that they are, have obviously been cooking this up for some time now. Errai is a bonus EP that comes with the newly released two-disc tour edition of last year’s Polaris, featuring four select songs off of the album reworked into something entirely different from their original states.
As if one needed a clearer indication of how good a vocalist Dan Tompkins is, the songs have been re-imagined based around the vocal melodies, rather than the instrumentations. Tompkins’ vocal melodies flawlessly carry the four tracks in a way that few vocalists would be able to do, and in a way that was perhaps needed when the driving force of the songs (the down turned, bouncy djent riffs and engine-like rhythm section) is changed into something much less punchy.
Errai is best enjoyed by listening to it alternately with the songs off the album. By hearing the tracks in their original presentation and then listening to them done in a different way, one not only gets an idea of the way the songs are composed, and receives a newfound appreciation for how good Tesseract are as songwriters. Not every band can rework their songs in such a way, but Tesseract’s scope for excellent melody and solid track composition mean that even songs like ‘Survival‘ work when you take the big djenty bounce of them.
For all this though, Errai is not essential listening. It’s a very nice thing to hear, and if you are a massive Tesseract fan you will no doubt get a lot of pleasure from hearing the songs reworked in this way. But it isn’t the whole of Polaris being redone, which is a shame but also understandable given how much work seems to have gone into just these four.