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TesseracT - Sonder Award winner

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 22 April 2018, 11:35 AM

If you’ve been asleep for the past decade, you might have missed one of the newer sub-genres of Metal that comes together in a Prog/Core/Djent mash. It’s one of the more unusual but certainly exciting sounds in the industry today. It requires impeccable timing skills and often unconventional chord progressions. The Vocal style can vary from clean to harsh, and often contain both. The word “Djent” can be a trigger for some. The heavy rhythmic style is something that you either love, or do not care for. Cue UK based Progressive/Groove Metal band TESSERACT. The band formed in 2007 and have offered fans some diversity in their previous releases. “Sonder” is their newest, released April 20, 2018, and contains eight tracks.

“Luminary” is a short, three-minute opening track that punches you in the jaw at first with dominating, heavy tones, and then seduces you with airy and harmonic clean vocals. “King” is twice the length and was one of the first songs released in advance of the album. It has an aggressive bite with subdued vocals and ambient passages that cover you in warmth. It can evoke a range of emotions…from pure rage and hatred to melancholy contentedness. Ominous piano notes take the track to completion. “Orbital” is a transitional piece of sorts…a short two minutes of expansive atmosphere…like you are floating in space and soaking in the beauty of the colors of distant galaxies.

“Juno” is a hard hitter out of the gates. A dexterous rhythm and melodic tones ensue. The chorus is elongated to really put a stamp on the sound. Swimming at times in an array of meters, Postones’ percussion impressively holds it all together. The melodies are very accessible here, hanging in front of you in an almost tactile manner. “Beneath my Skin” covers a wide array of techniques. Pensive and ambient at times, it doesn’t take much for its alluring charms to win you over. But there are also weighted passages that slam into you from all sides. It’s a unique listen in that regard. Segueing gently into “Mirror Image,” it presents as innocuous and affable, with placid melodies and calming tones, but with an inherent sadness that can be felt in your heart. It can be reflective of why some people don’t want to look into the mirror, because it has a way of opening a window to the darker parts of your soul, fears and insecurities.

“Smile” was originally released in the summer of 2017. It’s a slow-moving track with an opening crushing groove that attacks and retreats. There’s a lot of expression in Tompkin’s vocals in this song for sure. Anger and despair interlock in a battle that is a draw in the end. The groove is catchy and addictive. Segueing into the closing track, “The Arrow,” its dreamy but bulky sound is full into your senses. Tompkins called the concept album “Sonder” as “exploring a deep and devouring sense of insignificance.” The music is very reflective of this realization. The landscapes painted on the album are lush and fertile in their despair and despondence. Subdued and solemn, it’s poignant and stirring sound was moving in ways that I haven’t felt on an album in a while.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Luminary
2. King
3. Orbital
4. Juno
5. Beneath my Skin
6. Mirror Image
7. Smile
8. The Arrow
Acle Kahney – Guitar
James Monteith – Guitar
Jay Postones – Drums
Daniel Tompkins – Vocals
Amos Williams – Bass
Record Label: kscope records


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