It feels easy to take a band like TesseracT for granted. They’ve been mainstays of the British metal scene for some time, they’ve only been getting bigger and bigger since their inception, and, as far as British graduates from the tech metal/djent boom go, they’re certainly the name that falls easiest off the lips.
Here they are with their fourth studio album, ‘Sonder’. They’ve always had a strong grasp of melody and atmosphere, yet it’s been brought to the fore very strongly here. ‘Luminary’ has vocalist Daniel Tompkins‘ seductive tenor on show, with the electronic elements bought in very subtly, and a swirling chorus.
‘King’ has more showings of this, with a more harsher vocal delivery in places. With more emphasis on the relatively tender sounding sections, it’s possible that TesseracT can truly stand on their own. Along with bands such as Monuments, there are strong pop sensibilities to the vocal delivery, but it never feels out of place. In fact, it compliments the music very strongly here.
‘Orbital’ further showcases the band’s melodic side. Sonically, this song isn’t a million miles away from what Arcane Roots veered towards on ‘Melancholia Hymns’. For ‘Juno’, there’s everything on show; popping bass, melody, and heaviness are all here in setting. Tompkins‘ impressive range particularly shines through, and the track builds into an almighty beast at the end.
‘Smile’ is one of the strongest cuts on here, with more strength in the hooks game, and the groove-laden drumming of Jay Postones deserves a shout-out. It very cleverly segues into ‘The Arrow’, which carries everything on very well in spite of it technically being a different song.
Sometimes you do wonder if there could be a little more heaviness on show, but when TesseracT are this good at what they do, there’s no need to change it up a great deal. Arguably, when the screamed sections are used sparingly, they’re arguably even more powerful, such as the crushing ending of ‘Beneath My Skin’. The grasp of light and shade is strong, yet everything flows together seamlessly.
This record may only be 36 minutes long, but TesseracT have clearly valued quality over quantity for this offering. ‘Sonder’ certainly doesn’t outstay its welcome, and it’s a firm reminder as to why TesseracT are a jewel in the progressive metal crown.