Fredericton prog-metal act release long-awaited full-length debut.
After five years of writing, performing and occasionally sharing an impressive track or two, Tactus have finally released their first full-length album. Bending Light follows a number of singles and EPs released over the past few years, and sees the band resurfacing after an extensive writing and recording hibernation.
“We’ve all been involved in other musical projects over the years but none of us have ever released a work of this size,” said vocalist Jason McKnight. “We’re all very proud of what we’ve been able to achieve thus far with Tactus but the idea of a full-length, high quality release has always been a collective dream for all of us. We had a mountain of material that everyone believed in and the support from our fan base, we owe them everything. We felt that it was time to push ourselves to produce something that was more ambitious than our previous efforts. Bending Light forced us to grow as musicians and song writers, myself especially.”
Tactus’ brand of metal follows a progressive path, blending complicated phrasing and intense rhythms with masterful dexterity and musical prowess – all delivered with amazing precision. To create Bending Light, the band didn’t simply hammer out ideas until something ‘clicked’. All ten of the albums tracks were first plotted out using music software, composing fully orchestrated scores before developing a live band interpretation. According to McKnight, this process helps the band push the limits of their own abilities as individual musicians and as a creative unit.
“Tactus is a very technical band when you look at our composition style,” he said. “All of our pre-production is done in Guitar Pro and without it, it would be impossible for us to organize our songs the way we do. Some things are worked out collectively at rehearsals but there’s so much going on at any given time that we would never be able to keep track of it all. This also allows us to write music that exceeds our skills as performers which in turn forces us to improve in order to track it and play it live.”
This process, used by many of today’s top prog-metal outfits, is as important for tracking vocals as it is to the wealth of melodic and rhythmic structures that make up each track on Bending Light.
“While writing the vocal melodies in Colossus and King of the Sky, some notes came out that I would never have thought that I could sing,” said McKnight. “While recording the vocals for Bending Light I was also teaching myself how to use new voices and tones and how to extend my range. This is also part of the reason that vocal tracking took months to complete. As a result you can hear me hitting notes that are well beyond anything that I would have ever even attempted if they weren’t already written into the song.”
Bending Light was engineered by Adrian Barnes, guitarist and vocalist for the group. McKnight credits the album’s tight delivery and polished sound in part to having an ‘in-house’ engineer willing to take the time to get things right, while also making the whole recording process much more affordable than working in a by-the-hour studio.
“This worked out really well for us because he [Adrian] is a perfectionist and we were able to take our time to polish the songs and really do them justice,” said McKnight. “The band’s old singer Rodney, who is also a musical genius, also played a big part in the vocal writing and editing. What really brought this album to life however was the mixing and mastering work of Jamie King. That guy is an absolute magician. He has been involved with some of the bands that we draw influence from and thanks to our Indigogo supporters we were able to get him on board for this project. Jamie really brought Bending Light to that next level quality that we were looking for.”
Now that the new album is out, hopefully the band will take the stage sometime in the near future. While they may be one of the most musically adventurous metal bands come out of the province in recent years, live performances by the group are a rarity.
“Unfortunately we’re a very busy bunch of guys with families and careers,” said McKnight. “Bending Light has kept us extremely busy for the last two years and so most of everyone’s free time has been committed to that. The disappearance of venues on the East Coast doesn’t do us any favors either and it’s very sad to see stages that I’ve grown to love playing on and watching my friends on fall away. We promise we’re working on bringing this new album to a live setting though.”