Charlie Griffiths, guitarist with British progressive metal heavyweights Haken, is pleased to announce his debut solo album Tiktaalika for release on June 17th, 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!
The album features an impressive roster of guests, and the albums first single Arctic Cemetery includes guest vocals from Tommy Rogers of Between The Buried & Me.
Charlie Griffiths comments: «Arctic Cemetery is paleontology 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 album includes stunning artwork from Dan Goldsworthy, and will be available as a Ltd CD Edition, Gatefold 180g 2LP+CD & as Digital Album.
The full track-listing is as follows:
5.Dead in the Water
8.Crawl Walk Run
This concept album was 375 million years in the making, with the 9 tracks drawing inspiration from themes of geological time, fossilization, 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 Griffiths 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».
Charlie comments: «When I first heard of a Tiktaalik, I remember thinking it was a pretty metal word and it’s always been in the back of my mind to do something with Tiktaalika. The natural rhythm of the word is actually the inspiration for the opening riff of the tune. When applied to the guitar it has a cool King Crimson vibe, which is both quirky and groovy. After that initial seed, the song soon evolved into an epic arrangement in which I humbly tip my hat to some of my most formative guitarists like Andy LaRocque, Kirk Hammett, Dave Mustaine and Dimebag Darrell to name but a few! Once again drummer Darby Todd (Martin Barre, Devin Townsend) delivered some incredible drumming and I think Adam ‘Nolly’ Getgood’s mixing really shines on this track».
The album was mixed by Adam Nolly Getgood and mastered by Ermin Hamidovic.