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Griffiths, Charlie: Tiktaalika

Haken guitarist Charlie Griffith has just released his first solo album for InsideOut Music, titled Tiktaalika and it's a concept album that deals with the history of our world and how we take care of it, with music that draws from Charlie's love of '80s thrash, progressive metal, and '70s prog. He's also assembled a cast of guests who help him out here on Tiktaalika, including vocalists Tommy Rogers (Between the Buried And Me), Danïel De Jongh (Textures), Vladimir Lalić (Organised Chaos) and Neil Purdy (Luna’s Call), as well as musicians such as Darby Todd (Martin Barre, Frost, Devin Townsend), Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), and Rob Townsend (Steve Hackett).

It's pretty evident from "Arctic Cemetery" that Charlie isn't afraid to take things here into more extreme territory than his main band, and with the addition of vocals by Rogers, you'd swear this was a new BTBAM song, the riffs crushing and the arrangement quite complex. "Luminous Beings" takes things into more Devin Townsend styled territory, as does "In Alluvium", while "Dead in the Water" brings to mind King Crimson, Dream Theater, Strapping Young Lad, and King Diamond, all in one neat little package. After the dreamy, atmospheric prog of "Digging Deeper", things go off into Red/Larks Tongues in Aspic era King Crimson territory on the title track, with big, jagged riffing saddling up next to blazing lead work and intricate drum patterns for one of the albums easy highlights. Fans of complex thrash ala Testament or Megadeth, check out the face-melting "Crawl Walk Run", another highlight here that includes harsh and clean vocals, jackhammer drummer, and a non-stop assault of wild riffing and shredding solos.

In summary, Tiktaalika is a highly enjoyable progressive metal release from Charlie Griffiths, and I like how he was not afraid to go into some areas here that might not be instantly accessible to the everyday Haken fan. In addition to being part of the great guitar duo in Haken, he's now shown his stellar songwriting skills as well as being a bona fide guitar hero. Job well done!

The artwork on the album is by Dan Goldsworthy...who did a great job getting that Roger Dean feel.

Track Listing
1. Prehistoric Prelude 02:14
2. Arctic Cemetery 06:06
3. Luminous Beings 05:57
4. In Alluvium 08:13
5. Dead in the Water 08:45
6. Digging Deeper 04:31
7. Tiktaalika 08:34
8. Crawl Walk Run 5:06
9. Under Polaris 03:06

Added: July 31st 2022
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: More Information
Hits: 415
Language: english

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