It’s been two and a half years and British Progressive Metal icons TESSERACT are back with a brand new full length album and have managed to keep the same line up for it. Sonder is the band’s fourth full length effort and second with current label Kscope. TESSERACT has always been known for changing up and expanding their sound with each release but Sonder just feels like thirty six minutes of Polaris outtakes, there really is no true expansion or change to their sound. The album feels a bit rushed and is the shortest one of their career. Now that’s not to say that Sonder is a bad album, because it’s not, but it does have room for improvement
“Luminary” starts off the record with a powerful and distorted bass and drum combination before vocalist Daniel Tompkins lays down his melodic swooning vocals, setting the pace for the album. The band picks up the heaviness a bit with “King” which clocks in at just under seven minutes, making it the second longest track on the disc. While it is a predominantly mellow and soft song there are some wonderful growls interlaced within that add just enough oomph to it. The record slows down with “Orbital” which is basically a two minute interlude that leads straight into bass heavy “Juno”. This feels like it could easily have been a bonus track on 2013’s Altered State.
Sonder then transitions into the longest and weirdest tracks of the album “Beneath My Skin” and “Mirror Image”. Clocking in at a combined 11:21 the tunes are full of drum fills from Jay Postones for the first four minutes before finally turning into a legitimate song. A goes and turns into a vocal and guitar interlude which switches back into parts that don’t feel like they belong here and are more filler than anything. “Smile” is easily the catchiest and probably the heaviest song and brings the band back to their roots. Daniel finally shows off his heavy screams which helped make the group as big of an attraction as they are.
Overall this album just feels forced and isn’t really progressing the band’s career. It serves as a great starter disc for new fans who aren’t familiar with their product but adds nothing in terms of musical progression.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Smile”, “The Arrow”, “Juno”
-BRIAN “TORCH” IDELL