TESSERACT – “Sonder” (2018)

Written by Jadranka Balaš

Progressive Metal
Kscope (2018)

TesseracT making TesseracT music, without need to fit into any genre. They created an album with so much depth, passion and quality.

To review the band you love can be very hard and ungrateful, first of all, because everyone expects objectivity. If you have ever tried, you know that this is practically impossible, and therefore it is signed by the author’s name and surname and not categorized as “collective opinion”. Saying this, I can only add that TESSERACT is a band I adore and that the release of each of their new albums is my New Year’s Eve.

I can understand why some do not like them and some other love them, but if you did not hear of this band then you spent the previous decade and a half living under a stone or something. TesseracT is one of the leading bands of today’s metal scene, especially prog/djent movements, and this is not a subjective opinion of the author of this review but rather the facts. 15 years and four studio albums are serious numbers band’s career and I believe that all fans wonder where TesseracT and “Sonder” are standing now ?!

What catches the eye first is that “Sonder” takes just little over 36 minutes, which is very atypical for progressive releases. This not only points to the maturity and ability of the band to say everything that should be said in such a short time in a very effective way  but also that TesseracT very well understand the “illness of the modern age” and that the attention of today’s average listener often doesn’t last even this much. However, what’s the most important is that “Sonder” offers a bunch of pearls in its 36 minutes, no filers, every song is there not to fill the time but its purpose – bring pure joy.

On the fourth album, the band also went one step further thematically. Sonder means understanding that every passer you meet has a life that is as complex as yours, has its own thoughts, problems, and feelings, or how Tompkins explained: “A conceptual exploration of the deep and devouring feeling of insignificance.” These sentiments are definitely not unknown to the band, but this time they did it even more subtle. A theme perfectly complemented with music that balances between catharsis and beautiful tranquility.

What definitely will not pass unnoticed, especially when compared to the album “Polaris” is that “Sonder” is a much heavier record. This is primarily contributed to the return of harsh vocals to which they returned for the first time since the album “One”. I believe that every fan welcomed this with the same enthusiasm as I did when the single “King” came out. Talking about vocals, I can’t help but mention that Daniel Tompkins provided the performance of a lifetime in this release. An emotional roller coaster he’s taking you is not from this world. From the amazing clean vocals to the rage, disdain and power that he throws in your face with just two words like “bow down” on the “King”, the ease of transition from one fashion to another are incredible, almost magical.

The recognizable TesseracT poly-rhythms dominate already in the first song “Luminary”, the big, furious intro quickly turns into a melodious journey and continues in the already mentioned “King”, which is one of the strongest tracks on the album. From the atmospheric “Orbital”, the classical TesseracT moments on “Juno”, more mellow and slower “Beneath My Skin” and “Mirror Image” to probably the most aggressive “Smile” TesseracT offered on this album a little bit of everything in unity called Sonder ” in a brilliant, their own way.

In the end, the conclusion is very simple – “Sonder” is without a doubt the most mature band release so far. The sound of a band that feels great by doing what they do, without needing to prove it, they have already done it. TesseracT making TesseracT music, without the need to fit into any genre. They created an album with so much depth, passion, and quality. “Sonder” is really “must” for all those interested to know in which direction progressive moves nowadays and what kind of beauty can come from it.

Written by Jadranka Balaš


01. Luminary
02. King
03. Orbital
04. Juno
05. Beneath My Skin
06. Mirror Image
07. Smile
08. The Arrow


TesseracT making TesseracT music, without need to fit into any genre. They created an album with so much depth, passion and quality.