Over the years I got quite impressed by the way this British Progressive metal band has been developing. On one side TesseracT always honoured tribute to their inspiration; Dutch progressive metal band Textures. Using a similar djenty combination to express themselves and they even payed tribute to them by calling their previous album Polaris (2015, see review), after Textures debut album Polars. But on the other side TesseracT has chosen their own path and since the return of vocalist Daniel Tompkins, a balance between atmospheric, melodic parts and the aforementioned djenty parts has been found and perfected. For the record, besides vocalist Tompkins, the band consists of founder and guitarist Acle Kahney, second guitar player James Monteith, bass player Amos Williams and drummer Jamie Postones.
The combination of the djenty parts, atmospherical elements and hunches of modern rock can be found in Sonder's opening track Luminary. A surprisingly catchy tune that even holds some electronic parts. During the following; King melodic vocal parts are alternated with powerful growls and it's the groove during the heavier bits of this track that really do it for me. By the way, I really have to mention how Daniel Tompkin's vocals have grown to a very high level. The spheric, interlude style Orbital is close to instrumental and should be seen as the connection between the two faces that define TesseracT. Juno is an über catchy tune, where a heavy bass can be funky as well as progressive. This is one of those tracks that could open doors to a more moderate radio station and get them the recognition they deserve. Beneath My Skin brings, besides the well-known riffs, a dash of Muse and a splat of Riverside to the palette of musical styles that holds Sonder. Perhaps this again beautiful, though relatively smooth composition becomes my personal highlight of the album. Speaking of growth in vocal abilities, Mirror Image is a certain must to listen to Tompkins excels on this fine composition. Towards the end of the track, the overall sound, mainly the background guitars are drenched in some kind of effect. Nice, but a bit too much in my opinion. But no worries, Smile is here to serve you the fine combination of driven vocals, grooving drums and bass, powerful guitars, all in a wonderful bombastic composition. The Arrow closes the album, the last powerful outbreak, showing once more how to manoeuvre between sphere and power.
Sonder is, for me another step up for this fine band. The compositions are great and show a kind of natural growth or development. TesseracT brings you a very varied album and certainly cannot be blamed for re-chewing old material. Sonder is a very fresh, melodic and powerful album.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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