Ghost Cult recently chatted with TesseracT and Skyharbor singer Daniel Tomkins. Daniel released his debut solo album, Castles, on May 31st via the Kscope label. In candid chat he discusses exploring his Electronica and Pop music influences, the long process of working on solo music, the concept of Castles, choosing collaborators such as producer Dmitry Stepanov, Acle Kahney (TesseracT), Randy Slaugh (Periphery, Architects, Devin Townsend), and Paul Ortiz (Zeta, Chimpspanner), his very tenuous relationship with social media, and the loose plan for when to expect new TesseracT music. Continue reading
Well-known singer, Daniel Tompkins kicked down doors as the vocalist for progressive music scene bands like TesseracT and Skyharbor. He has a legion of fans and has managed to reinvent himself on every release in his career. In the background, he has been working on solo material what would eventually become his debut solo album. Finding common ground with Russian producer Dmitry Stepanov, Tompkins is ready to shatter fans expectations for what they have come to expect from him, revealing new levels of artistry only hinted at. Freed from the genre rules or really any expectations, Castles (Kscope) arrives free of conventions or any other weird airs most signers fall prey to when they create a solo album. Continue reading
Seeming to be a relatively unknown entity, Kansas based post-Metallers A Light Within has developed a small cult following over the course of two previous, strong releases. The closing piece of their linked trilogy, latest EP Epilogue (all self-released) takes all the foundations they built before and closes it with significant levels of improvement, and a new found production level (mixing courtesy of Acle Kahney of TesseracT fame) which shows a heightened ambition. Continue reading
The history of TesseracT is very disjointed and confusing in places, both sonically and in terms of personnel. With a continuous base of founder and guitarist Acle Kahney alongside Jay Postones, James Monteith and Amos Williams, the vocalist has changed more than Doctor Who, now with Daniel Tompkins returning after his initial stint on the band’s first full length One. Since his first tenure the band’s sound has changed from the, at the time cutting edge djent metal sound, to one that focused towards a more expansive arena while diminishing their metallic influences on follow up Altered State (both Century Media). Now with Polaris (Kscope/eOne) they are venturing even further down the rabbit hole.
The albums opening song will prove the most familiar and easing track for those who crave a return to the crunchy metal of One, with a prominent, chugging bassline throughout, it shows signs of an underlying trait of their sound that has been there since day one, but less so through a Meshuggah lens. Instead Polaris shows an increasingly mellow and even ambient sound with a dreamlike atmosphere, punctuated by increased tempo and thundering basslines, a prime example being the ever building ‘Hexes’.
Of course, many ears will be on what Tompkins brings to the table again, and even with him still firmly on the radar during his TesseracT absence with a host of other projects, his evolution since then is staggering. Completely void of the harsh vocals that powered One, Tompkins clean vocals soar to new heights here, and his time with Indian prog metallers Skyharbor has elevated him even further, hitting new, astonishing high notes and ever improved vocal lines show his flawless adaptability to the band’s changes.
It has often been challenging keeping up with the changes TesseracT undergo, but for every roadblock that hinders their path they always come out the other side stronger than ever; this line up feels definitive as Tompkins proves even with the significant steps the band have made forward, that he still fits like a glove. Polaris is yet another important and impressive leap forward by one of modern prog’s most important alumni.