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
Alongside the likes of Textures and TesseracT, Monuments were one of the driving forces of djent during the movements’ initial explosion, back when it little more than an online community. In the following years, djent became huge news with bands such as TesseracT, Uneven Structure and Chimp Spanner taking the world by storm whilst Monuments were yet to release their debut album. Finally in 2012 Gnosis saw the light of day (with guest work from Chimp Spanner’s Paul Ortiz) with the band having a lot of ground and momentum to recover, but a set of songs that rightfully put them in the top crop of such acts.
Two years on and the band have a new album in The Amanuensis (Century Media), a new vocalist in ex-Periphery vocalist Chris Barreto, and, as a result, somewhat of an evolution to their palette. Chris’ vocals vastly improve on Matt Rose’s, with a range, diversity and bravery akin to Mike Patton. The typical transition between soaring singing and growls are present and done to a top level while elsewhere there are hints at his experimentation. ‘Saga City’ for example begins with a near gospel like soulful vocal passage before the song erupts.
The rest of the band seems rejuvenated by the new presence at front. As brilliant as Gnosis was, it did prove fairly straightforward with a more limited vocalist (well, as straightforward as a prog metal band can be), but here they are beginning to feel unshackled. Musically there is no huge departure from before, songs still have that recognisable tone and are founded on massive melodic passages and chugging riffs, but a wealth of ideas is beginning to creep through. Final track ‘Samsara’ brings the whole album concept full circle with a lyrical repetition of opener ‘I, The Creator’, a chanted incantation over a moody folky back drop.
The Amanuensis offers some of the bands most memorable and best songs such as ‘I, The Creator’ and ‘Garden Of Sankhara’ and the only niggle here is the thought of how much further they could take their sound now they have a vocalist with a huge dynamic and near seamless delivery. The Amanuensis is a bar-setter for djent, and still it only hints at the possibilities of what these guys can offer.