Profile: Ridiculously Talented String Warrior Kevin Hufnagel

kevin hufnagel
Kevin Hufnagel

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock for quite some time, the name Kevin Hufnagel should stir some excitement when heard. The man has been a guitar god for many bands — Dysrhythmia, Gorguts, Sabbath Assembly and Vaura just to name a few — for awhile now and those only scratch the surface of what he’s done and been involved with. Obviously, any mention of new work from Kevin is highly anticipated and his latest solo effort, Messages To the Past, is a love letter for us listeners and fans as to just how damn talented he is. Our very own Chris Voss recently offered up a full review, which you can read here so don’t miss that complete rundown and don’t miss his very enthusiastic answers to our Profile questions and some important news below. Don’t forget to hit the links and support Messages To the Past if you haven’t already done so. Trust me, you will not be disappointed. Continue reading

Initial Descent: June 24 – 30, 2018

kevin hufnagel
Kevin Hufnagel

I’m back. Miss me? Of course you didn’t because Chris killed it here on Initial Descent last week. Either way, I’m still picking sand out of…places. But anyway, you came here for new metal and that we have plenty of this week. See what I did there? Saved you from a dumb story about sand, proud and elated you must be.

Enough about that, let’s focus on music. By now Kevin Hufnagel is a household name to a much larger audience than just metal and on Messages To the Past he proves why as he effortlessly recalls guitar virtuosos, past and present, but furthermore offers up a fantastic album full of beautiful peaks and valleys. Cokegoat and Barren Heir bathe in sludge and doom on their split Sunshine / Tracing Light, Italy’s Nomura and Nulla+ leave a trail of bloody ears with their blackened hardcore / punk split impronte / lacrime and Converge drop an EP, Beautiful Ruin, on us out of nowhere — it is a good day indeed.

Good opening four but there’s much more. I’m a poet and didn’t know it…(drum roll). Anyway, grab a coffee or a cold one and stick around, the metal awaits. Continue reading

Album Review: Kevin Hufnagel – Messages to the Past

kevin hufnagel - messages to the past

Part of the allure of extreme metal is the challenge inherent in the execution.  Coming of age in heyday of the 80s guitar wizardry I was obsessed with the technical prowess of shredders like Vinnie Moore, Cacophony (Friedman and Becker), Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and – of course – his Swedish Harmonic Minor Majesty Yngwie J. Malmsteen. Kevin Hufnagel has in his many band configurations been leading the charge in creating and shaping music that rivals and at times surpasses the heroics of the previous era, but his instincts to ground that technicality in solid song craft has always been priority.  That ear for composition has never been more exposed in Messages to the Past, which acts as fond recall to the era of incredible instrumental albums while simultaneously exposing his influences and melodic sense in a beautifully layered set of songs.   Continue reading

Album Review: Sabbath Assembly – “Sabbath Assembly”

Sabbath Assembly - Sabbath Assembly

Since Sabbath Assembly‘s inception six years ago they have released four full-lengths with the purpose of performing the hymns of the Process Church of the Final Judgement. Each release has been marked by mixes of acoustic passages and gospel tinged instrumentation which is what makes this fifth album, Sabbath Assembly, such a departure. Along with shedding the Processian ideas and going with original material, the band leans heavily on traditional heavy metal to create a sound that, at times, sounds bigger than ever thought possible. Continue reading