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Haken's Charlie Griffiths announces Tiktaalika – "the world’s first palaeontology-based progressive metal album!"

Charlie Griffiths from Haken on a beach
(Image credit: Press)

Haken guitarist Charlie Griffiths will release his debut solo album Tiktaalika on June 17 via InsideOut, and the London-based musician describes it as “the world’s first palaeontology-based progressive metal album”. Check out lead single Arctic Cemetery below – it includes a guest appearance from Between The Buried And Me vocalist Tommy Rogers.

"“Arctic Cemetery is palaeontology meets progressive metal. A fossil dig, through a melodic tech-metal landscape. I am incredibly lucky to have BTBAM’s Tommy Rogers on vocals and Darby Todd [Martin Barre, Devin Townsend] on drums. They are both consummate pros and elevated the song far beyond my expectations. 

"This was one of the first songs that came to life for the album and once I had the line, ‘Dead and buried, laying in an arctic cemetery’ the idea blossomed. The song reflects upon the notion that modern humans can identify locations of graveyards, hundreds of millions of years old and find remnants of our ancestors and ask, what can this extinct creature teach us? I find that notion incredibly awe inspiring and humbling.”

The guitarist has been with Haken since 2008, and to change things up from his work with them, Griffiths opted to use six-string guitars on the record as opposed to the eight-stringers he usually uses with that band. “My classic thrash side really came out,” he adds, “as well as lot of Cynic [and] tech metal influences. There’s also a song that sounds like King Crimson meets Gentle Giant, but heavier.”

Of the curious title, he explains: “It’s inspired by a prehistoric creature called a Tiktaalik,” Griffiths tells Prog. “You could describe it as a missing link species between fish and tetrapods, and one of the first creatures to crawl out of the water.”

The nine-track album also features ex-Textures frontman Daniël de Jongh and Serbian opera singer Vladimir Lalic (Organized Chaos).

“It was really fun to write all the music and lyrics without having to compromise,” Griffiths says, “and to find out what I would do on my own.”

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Tiktaalika tracklisting

1.     Prehistoric Prelude
2.     Arctic Cemetery
3.     Luminous Beings
4.     In Alluvium
5.     Dead in the Water
6.     Digging Deeper
7.     Tiktaalika
8.     Crawl Walk Run
9.     Under Polaris

artwork for Charlie Griffiths' solo album Tiktaalika

(Image credit: Press)
Natasha Scharf
Natasha Scharf

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.

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