Album Review: TESSERACT Sonder
TesseracT has been one of those bands that keep building upon their musicianship with each new release. Rather than produce a general or numbing djent rhythm, their song structure encompasses a variety of rhythms, melodies, and tones. These numerous combinations allow TesseracT to present remarkable blends of music that are as heavy as they are peaceful. On their fourth studio album Sonder—out this week on Kscope—the band offers fans their best work.
First off, vocalist Daniel Tompkins takes center stage with his breathtaking range. His singing is his best quality, while each burst of screaming makes for an explosive left hook to each track. To amplify the weight of Tompkins' voice, the instrumental component of the band offer an outstanding display of craftsmanship. Drummer Jay Postones plays heavy flows that pace each track, with Amos Williams introducing relaxing or booming rhythms of bass to complete the low-end. Guitarists Acle Kahney and James Monteith present magnificent transitions in their mesmerizing tones. At times all-out brutal, to soothing, to funky. Their work will catch listeners by surprise.
“Luminary” opens on a thick djent rhythm with crashing drums. However, the track shifts into a delicate section with clean singing, the instrumentation scaling back on tempo. From there, the material maintains a happy balance between those laid back sections and more hectic beatdowns. The soothing verses, along with the boisterous chorus, create a pop element to the material that is super catchy. The song has a melancholy vibe to it, with the opening verse stating, “You could raise the dead/ With those terribly troublesome eyes/ Maybe you’ll always be bad/ Maybe you’ll always be the same.”
“King” has the band following through on that dense djent rhythm, the guitar taking moments to whirl into higher pitches. The drum work flutters about the rhythm, the bass offering a more playful element to the structure. There are periods where the band ease up on the frenetic delivery, creating a comforting rest that builds the adrenaline for the hammering instrumentation.
How many of you immediately thought “Sonder” was actually a real word? It’s actually a made-up term created by writer John Koeing, and as Tompkins puts it, “['Sonder'] is a name given to the seemingly ineffable emotions we experience when realizing that each of us is simultaneously living vivid and complex lives.” TesseracT embodies this philosophy throughout Sonder, keeping their instrumentals, vocals, and lyrics expanding. Each song provides its own meditative quality, displaying intricate shifts in style. Such moments can be when the band goes from a general rhythm to entering a flourishing of note/chord progressions. These intricate elements are engaging, as the material is always weaving in something new to spice up the flow.
“Orbital” casts an elegant atmosphere in its gentle touches of twinkling tones. The instrumentals present a beautiful air to them, as the vocals add an enchanting somber side to the work. Volume increases for a brief period, making for an exciting tease as to what will come next. “Mirror Image” progresses in a similar fashion, keeping the instrumental component of the material at a minimal presence at first. But rather than completely stick to this, the bass and drums come in shortly, the guitars picking up in tempo. The track changes things up in speed when playing with these two sides, with things only getting heavier towards the end.
“The Arrow” ends on a melancholy note, opening on the lyrics, “You wasted so much damned time on it/ You wasted half your damned life/ Now watch it fall to damned pieces, pieces.” Instrumentally, the track uses a mix of thunderous bass and striking drums, along with minimal bright guitar notes. This latter element flickers throughout the progression, casting the material in a dreamy haze.
Sonder is a superb record that TesseracT can take much pride in. Its constant ability to maneuver in technicality and provide captivating song structure is to be applauded. Sonder is a true testament to the hard work TesseracT bring into each new release and an album that only promises that they’ll climb even higher.