One of the torchbearers of the early 2010s djent scene, TesseracT, have returned with their fifth full-length album, War of Being. It has been more than half a decade since we’ve received a new full body of work from the Milton Keynes, UK-based prog metal outfit. Even then, at just 36 minutes, 2018’s Sonder featured a more streamlined version of the band. It only left listeners wanting more. If there’s anything that War of Being proves, it’s that TesseracT have been doing anything but resting. Clocking in at just over an hour in length, this record satisfies any craving for new music from this band that fans have.
From the first notes of opening track “Natural Disaster”, it’s clear TesseracT have returned to a sound more reminiscent of their debut full-length One. However, there’s more. The production sounds phenomenal. The Acle Kahney and James Monteith’s guitars are massive, Jay Postones’ drums are cannon-like, Amos Williams’ bass cuts through even more than before, and Daniel Tompkins’ vocals growl and soar with amazing dexterity. Tompkins also shows off his screaming chops on this album more than any since his return to the band in 2015. There’s a new ferocity to this band’s sound and it’s clear that these five ultra-talented musicians have an ear for immaculate sounding production.
Songs like “Natural Disaster” and “Sacrifice” hearken back to 2011’s debut One, while tracks such as “Echoes”, “The Grey”, and “Legion” makes a listener think of Altered State, Polaris, and Sonder at different points.
The title track “War of Being” is, without a shadow of a doubt, the centerpiece of this massive album, and deservedly so. It makes excellent use of every second of its 11-minute runtime. The band clearly knows what metal sounds like in 2023 and the opening riff showcases that perfectly. Tompkins shows off his low range screams towards the beginning of the song along with some extremely heavy chugs. Postones displays his double bass chops around the 2:50 mark, reminiscent of something Animals as Leaders would write. This track has every single element of the signature TesseracT sound.
“Sacrifice”, the nine-minute closer, is perfect as the final piece of music we hear from this album. The dissonant chords in the outro riff fit perfectly and add some flair to the track. Williams and Postones have one of their many showcase moments throughout the album on this track as well. The ending riff sounds like an ending and brings this epic album to a close beautifully.
Every single member of this band is at the absolute top of their game at every moment on War of Being. The album combines elements from all four previous TesseracT albums, but the focus is on returning to a sound reminiscent of One and expanding on the sound from Sonder. The other albums definitely peek their heads in from time to time, however. There is no bad track on this project. Every second of its runtime belongs and is used flawlessly. This album is sure to be a favorite of TesseracT fans and has the potential to bring in new fans as well. Hopefully it’s less than five years before we get new music from the Milton Keynes boys again because they are clearly firing on all cylinders.
“War of Being”, but honestly… all of them.