TesseracT – “Sonder” (Kscope)
From playing to massive crowds in India to making history as the first band to play on top of an igloo village in the Arctic Circle, it’s pretty clear that there’s something extraordinary to British prog / djent band TesseracT. Even the title of this 4th album is something deep, drawn from the profound writings of John Koenig, the band aren’t exactly inaccessible in their works, being a crowd pleaser time and again such that they will be headlining one of Download Festival’s stages this year! Undoubtedly the incredible music they perform has much to do with this, so blissful its often ethereal in its ambience, yet always ready at a turn to inject power and energetic vigour into the listening experience. The overall effect is almost trance like with en mass crowds drawing tranquillity and harmony, while soaking up the radiating luminescence of TesseracT’s musical brilliance like the warming rays of the morning sun itself. “Sonder” is the band’s 4th album and sees original vocalist Daniel Tompkins continue – in quite remarkable style I might add – across the 8 tracks making up the just over 30 minute release. Short as it may seem, the complexity of the music and the intellectual composing prowess behind the material mean it is no less of experience as what we’ve previously heard from the band, if anything now concentrated and streamlined for maximum effect! The soulfulness of Tompkins throughout is incredible, adding to the ambience on ‘The Arrow’ and even when the guitars of Alec Kahney and James Monteith come crashing in, remains unending in its tranquil brilliance, although on ‘Smile’ he powers in his own highs to rise above the djent grind. On ‘Beneath My Skin’ the contrast between the heavy darkness and lighter ambience mixes prog and djent to perfection, kept alive through the background technical breaks from the guitar and dexterous percussion of Jay Postones, while on the slower ‘Juno’, it’s the pulsating bass of Amos Williams that slaps in funkiness while switching to distortion level heaviness as Tompkins glides across it all with his angelic highs. Excelling beyond the already superior material was ‘King’, probably the album’s heaviest track with all the instruments crashing in like massive up and down waves while Tompkins almost robotic voice equally injects exotic wailings and the odd scream to really bring the energy of the song home. A stupefying performance in a band already synonymous with excellence.