Album Review: Between the Buried and Me – “Automata II”

BTBAM - automata II

Despite my everlasting love for Colors, it’s hard to say Between the Buried and Me aren’t writing the best music of their careers right now.  After the theatrical sci-fi pomp of Coma Ecliptic the band crafted a masterful return to their heavier roots in the two-part Automata, developed as a single album before being split into two halves (for easier consumption?) with Automata I beginning the narrative of a man journeying through his own dreams, which are being broadcast to the world as cheap entertainment.  How does it end?  Four months later we finally find out with the stellar Automata II, which supplies the back half of the concept with some of the most dynamic, engaging and downright killer music the band has ever produced.   Continue reading

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

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

The Nine Circles Audio Thing: Amorphis was May 2018’s Album of the Month!

We’re well into a new month, so that means we’re back with another chat about our favorite album from the old month! For this May-2018-edition of “old-month,” that album is Amorphis‘ spellbinding new set, Queen of Time. (Or, as one Chris Voss, might refer to it, Queen of Bee.)

Whatever you call it, it’s the Finnish legends’ thirteenth album to date, and we here at the blog were all pretty taken with it. (This time out, “we here at the blog” translates to: Dan, Corey, Chris, Vince, Hera and Mark. Josh S. wanted to be here, too, but Google Hangouts had other ideas and wouldn’t let him in. SO MUCH FOR NOT BEING EVIL, AMIRITE?)

Anyway, we all got together this past Sunday to discuss the album and are thrilled to be bringing that conversation to you now. Jump on in and take a listen!

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Album Review: Grayceon – “IV”

Grayceon - IV

When it comes to the “progressive” label, the music that is labeled as such usually doesn’t fit what the listener’s concept of progressive is. The label is a subjective one, as sometimes, music that is considered to be progressive doesn’t fall under that label. Because of progressive metal’s tendency to feature technical complexity, lengthy instrumental passages, and various foreign influences like an uncommon instrument – in this case, the cello – the label can become broad and confusing. Thus, with Grayceon‘s IV being labeled as a progressive metal album, I decided to dive in and see whether the label actually fits. Continue reading