With 15 years under their belt, UK’s premier progressive metal masters TesseracT are at the top of their game. And it couldn’t be more evident with the release of their fourth album, Sonder. The self-produced effort (even the artwork was handled in-house by bassist Amos Williams) comes seemingly hot on the heels of their most recent release, 2015’s Polaris, an album which many, including myself, are still processing.
At a casual listen this is paint-by-numbers TesseracT. The signature guitar tone, the punchy bass lines, the soaring vocals, it’s all there. But if you dig a little deeper you find something more. You find a band that feel as though they’ve found their feet. They’ve taken all the elements from their back catalogue and seamlessly melded them into a beautiful sonic masterpiece.
Tracks like King (the albums longest, clocking in at just under 7 minutes) show a more aggressive side of TesseracT that seemed to be lacking on their last release whilst the short-yet-beautiful Orbital revisits the ethereal soundscapes explored on 2013’s Altered State and segues nicely into the bass-driven almost funk-like assault of Juno. Mirror Image begins the final descent, as previously released track Smile brings the journey to a head before simmering out with album closer The Arrow which pierces through the heavy veil submitted by the first half of the album
Sonder is noticeably shorter (37 minutes) than the previous 3 albums. This in no way is a bad thing though, as the band still manages to take you on a surreal roller coaster that leaves you breathless and stunned. The dipping and weaving accentuated greatly by the undeniable talent of vocalist Daniel Tompkins, whose self-described “extreme vocals” make an extremely welcome comeback on this album. His ongoing work to perfect his craft is a testament to the undying work ethic that keeps TesseracT at the forefront of modern metal music.
All in all, this album may not win the band any new fans, but will surely keep the devoted fan base that the quintet has established over the last 15 years happy. This is TesseracT at their very best and to make such a bold statement in such a short amount of time is no mean feat. I think it’s safe to say that TesseracT are here to stay.
TesseracT - King (from Sonder)
New Studio Album Sonder Coming April 20, 2018
Album Pre Orders Available Now!
Photo credits: Steve Brown