Having toured the world and gained honours from nearly every corner of the metal world for his work with TesseracT and Skyharbor, you’d think that Daniel Tompkins might want to kick back and relax for a little bit.
Ever the intrepid creator and vocal coach, he has started producing his own solo material, and we witness this laid bare in his debut full-length, ‘Castles’.
Solemnly pacing the sidewalks, ‘Saved’ is gently introduced with organic pianos and distant echoes that give way to Tompkins‘ vocals, and a prominent procession of electronic drums with deeper essences of reverberating dance sounds, the combination of which is effective in delivering the sombre nature of the lyrics describing the circle of self-destructiveness.
Beginning with a similar sentiment, ‘Black The Sun’ initially retains the ominous instrumentation before launching into a full chorus of organic drums and distorted guitar chords that display the progressive elements available. The chorus is an emphatic and enthusiastic moment that is a great juxtaposition against the verses dark scenery.
Taking a retro turn, ‘Kiss’ rallies with rolling background synths and pounds of distant drums that slowly build in a menacing raucous sound before instantly silencing to let the chorus lines and layers of vocals to shine alone. Done in a progressive manner, the lyrics and synths combine to create an effective atmosphere of building ire that is quickly tempered.
Traversing like an old school trip-hop anthem, ‘Telegraph’ is a dark soundscape of organic drums and sombre deep bass lines that gently step along the canal side that never climaxes or reaches a dramatic crescendo like you’d normally expect.
While ‘Castles’ is undoubtedly an effective display of Daniel Tompkins‘ vocal talent, it feels like there’s a major gut punch of impact missing and the angelic overtones need a greater more drastic juxtaposition.