Tesseract's War Of Being is a progressive metal masterpiece and a frontrunner for album of the year

Tesseract took five years to release the follow-up to Sonder. It was more than worth the wait.

Tesseract in 2023
(Image: © Press)

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

If you had a baby on the day that Tesseract released their last album, that child would now be starting primary school. Five years and one global pandemic separate War Of Being from Sonder but, according to the band, the dry spell was a blessing. As well as recording the Portals livestream and upgrading their stage show, the UK prog metal luminaries got the time to fine-tune the biggest release of their lives.

Tesseract’s fifth album makes their comeback in the most monumental manner. When it was unveiled, the band also announced a seven-month world tour and released the 11-minute-long title track as a single. The song War Of Being is a career- consolidating opus, pulling from the screaming djent and atmospheric prog of 2011 debut One, as well as the mature melodies of their later career. The rest of the album feels similarly all- encompassing, given it’s a staggering, hour-long concept piece.

Natural Disaster opens War Of Being in excitingly rampant form. Flaunting the persistent roars of singer Dan Tompkins, it’s the nastiest the band have sounded since One, with that bedrock of seven-string djent riffing keeping everything heavy, even during a melodically sung hook. On the other hand, Tender lives up to its title; over a four- minute runtime, with a succinctness that echoes the 36-minute Sonder album, its guitar notes flutter towards a post- rock crescendo. Finale Sacrifice stretches that evolutionary tone to its fullest extent, weaving between beauty and heaviness for more than double the time. 

In that way, War Of Being couldn’t have hit a more appropriate end. It’s
a comprehensive masterpiece that summarises every emotional frequency and style of songwriting that Tesseract have touched since they emerged. Instantly, it’s affirmed itself as this band’s quintessential release – not to mention a frontrunner for metal album of the year.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.