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

Initial Descent: May 20 – 26, 2018

uada-band-photo
Uada

I’ve been experimenting with some bottom shelf bourbons as of late. Most of which should just stay at the bottom but I have found a couple of real gems that will be occupying space in my cabinet until everyone else finds out about them and they quadruple in price. And no, I’ll not tell. Anyway, if experimenting with new things is something you do we have a treasure trove of new metal this week. Kicking this list off is Oregon’s melodic black metallers Uada with their second full length Cult of a Dying Sun and they’re still melodic, still crushing but with an extra pinch of experimentation. Next up is Witch Mountain with their first full length since acquiring a new vocalist and yes, she KILLS IT so check out Witch Mountain and see how good their bluesy doom really is. Moving along is Svalbard with their, vicious hardcore / black metall..ish sound and a very important message in regards to the times we live in, new album It’s Hard To Have Hope — not only is the music a kick to the face but the message is a kick in the pants to dust yourself off and fight the good fight. Last up in the opening slots is New Hampshire’s technical (NOT TECH) death metal band Unflesh with their debut Savior which is not just technical but melodic in all the right places AND it’s a ton of fun so hopefully these guys will get signed soon. There you have it, the opening four. But — you guessed it — we have much more in store so stick around. Cheers! Continue reading

Album Review: Svalbard – “It’s Hard to Have Hope”

svalbard it's hard to have hope

It’s hard to have hope.  In no time like the present do statements like this ring true.  On both a micro and macro level, it can seem at many times like the world is falling apart.  Music is something that should be a comfort to all, yet even scenes that are supposed to be welcoming to all those society pushes to the fringes are plagued by the same bigotry and gatekeeping that they are supposed to fight against.  When even this comfort is denied, optimism seems like an impossibility.  Enter Svalbard, and their new album It’s Hard to Have Hopethe soundtrack to you dusting yourself off and fighting the good and necessary fight for the future we all deserve. Continue reading