Progressive metal is an interesting beast. While a lot of the metal genre prides itself on heaviness, brutality, and speed, prog likes to use advanced songwriting and tight-knit musicianship in order to create unique and interesting music. One of the best newer bands in the genre is TesseracT, whose 4th full length album, titled “Sonder” came out on Friday. The album only lasts about 35 minutes, the music within that time frame is well-written, unique, and contains a lot of variation without losing its focus. “Luminary” is the opening track, and it’s a short one. The opening is fairly heavy before it softening and introducing the clean vocals that populate this album. This song also features some jazz influence, giving it a vibe that doesn’t often come from metal. Next is “King”, which has a tone that is noticeably darker than the opening track. Everything on this album is top notch, the writing, clean and infrequent harsh vocals, the guitar work, all of it is great. Up next is “Orbital”, which acts as sort of an interlude, only featuring some soft ambiance and some clean vocals.
This leads into “Juno” which is overall probably the heaviest song on the album. This song has a very strong backbone and very tight writing. The second half does soften up a bit, and the melody here is really well-done. Up next is the longest song on the album, “Beneath My Skin/Mirror Image”. This around 11-minute epic is the band showcasing prog metal at its best, and use this room to fill the run time with interesting material and more. The writing is great, and every musician is obviously bringing their best when it comes to this song. The song never gets boring for its run time, and demonstrates why this band and sub-genre are very underrated. “Smile” is the next song, and has a heavy opening that features a nice lead guitar. This song feels like the band is trying to emulate a machine, and each instrument is all of its mechanical parts all working together to create the music you’re hearing. The album ends on “The Arrow”, which is another shorter track. This is an overall softer track, although it isn’t soft for the entire run time. While this song doesn’t feel like the usual big epics that normally end albums, it’s still a good way to end the album.
This is a great album, the one complaint I have is that it feels like the band could’ve taken some of the shorter tracks and turned them into bigger ones, although that basically boils down to me saying I wish this was longer, because the material on here is very solid. While this style probably isn’t for everyone, this album isn’t very long, and is definitely worth the time.
Overall Score: 9.0/10
Review by Sam Hookom