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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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