Charlie Griffiths, guitarist with British progressive metal heavyweights Haken, is set to release his debut solo album ‘Tiktaalika’ on the 17th June 2022 via InsideOutMusic. With musical roots still firmly in the progressive realm, Charlie draws from his love of old-school 80s thrash, 90s tech-metal and alternative rock. Running the gamut from melodic to avant-garde to straight-up heavy, you might say Tiktaalika bridges the gap between King Crimson and King Diamond!
Today sees the launch of the third single from the album, ‘Luminous Beings’, featuring ex-Textures vocalist Danïel De Jongh. Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/GwE5cgci33U
Charlie comments: “The most proggy track on the album; I think of it as Gentle Giant meets Cynic, with a blend of big odd time riffs and technical, detailed guitar parts and jazz harmony. Lyrically this is a love letter to the amazing planet and natural world we find ourselves in and also reflects on that intangible ‘force’ which drives us and inspires us to keep moving forward, despite the many obstacles we’re all dealt. But as someone once said, ‘life finds a way!’. I’d long been a fan of Danïel De Jongh’s vocal work with Textures and I was incredibly lucky to have him lend his awesome, soulful voice to this track and bringing it to life. Underpinning it all is Drummer Darby Todd (Martin Barre, Devin Townsend), who delivered the perfect blend of power, world class groove and fusion chops to the track.”
The albums first single ‘Arctic Cemetery’ includes guest vocals from Tommy Rogers of Between the Buried & Me. Watch the video now here: https://youtu.be/nOcJ6ND8Bwk
Check out the video for the instrumental title track here: https://youtu.be/Sr7X2RNc4DA
The album includes stunning artwork from Dan Goldsworthy, and will be available as a Ltd CD Edition, Gatefold 180g 2LP+CD & as Digital Album. Pre-order now here: https://charliegriffiths.lnk.to/Tiktaalika
The full track-listing is as follows:
1. Prehistoric Prelude
2. Arctic Cemetery
3. Luminous Beings
4. In Alluvium
5. Dead in the Water
6. Digging Deeper
8. Crawl Walk Run
9. Under Polaris
This concept album was 375 million years in the making, with the 9 tracks drawing inspiration from themes of geological time, fossilisation, transformation and humanity’s connections with each other and the planet we inhabit. The Griffiths-penned lyrics are given voice by some of the best vocalists in the business: Tommy Rogers (Between the Buried And Me), Danïel De Jongh (Textures), Vladimir Lalić (Organised Chaos) and Neil Purdy (Luna’s Call).
As well as handling guitar duties, Charlie also takes care of bass, keyboards and on one track, makes his debut lead vocal performance. Of the creative process Charlie explains, “I picked up the 6 string guitar again, which ironically has become the more unusual option for me, after 10 or so years writing with an 8-string guitar for Haken. It definitely sent me into a different creative headspace, with riff after riff seemingly falling out of the guitar. I naturally began forming those riffs into song structures, while simultaneously writing vocal melodies and building the lyrical concept. It was a great form of escapism from my usual environment and I had a lot of fun doing it”.
The album also features a host of guest musicians: Drummer Darby Todd (Martin Barre, Frost, Devin Townsend), Keyboard wizard Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) and Saxophonist Rob Townsend (Steve Hackett). “All of the guest musicians took the songs to another level” Charlie explains, “I had everything written and demoed, so the guys could quickly learn the parts, but I gave free rein for them to bring their personality to the party. Darby’s drumming style, is so beautifully improvised and more jazz-fusion influenced, when paired with my riffs, it resulted in something unexpected. It blows my mind that the synth solo Jordan played was the very first take! Capturing that spirit of spontaneity within a structured piece is always very special”.
The album was mixed by Adam ‘Nolly’ Getgood and mastered by Ermin Hamidovic.
CHARLIE GRIFFITHS online: