Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Catching up with Kevin Hufnagel

Few people can match the prolific output of Kevin Hufnagel. In addition to his solo work, the guitar maestro is also a member of  Sabbath Assembly, Vaura, Dysrhythmia and Gorguts. With recent releases by Gorguts and Sabbath Assembly astounding and confounding, and an upcoming Dysrhythmia album scheduled for 2016, it seemed like a good time to catch up with the man. Kevin was kind enough to fill me in over e-mail.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Hate Eternal, Vital Remains, Black Fast, Inanimate Existence @ Saint Vitus

Pure death metal shows have become a rarity for me - what with living in a clueless theocracy and all. And so even with Deathfest looming, I couldn't turn down a whole night full of the heaviest of heavy metals.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Obsessed, Karma To Burn, and The Atomic Bitchwax @ Saint Vitus Bar

Apparently if you're a bald guy of a certain build and you stand in front of a club with your hands in your pockets, people will just assume you're the doorman. If there was some advantage to kids warily pulling out their IDs for me and punks-turned-yuppies condescendingly telling me they're "on the list", I'd have some fun with this newfound knowledge; alas, all I gained was sympathy for the people who have to to this for real. (Fun fact: a lot of door men in NYC are actually off-duty cops. Antagonize them at your own peril.)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Dylan Carlson, Stephen Brodsky, and Kevin Hufnagel @ Saint Vitus

A trio of guitarists playing solo sets was an unlikely choice for my first show back in NY, but the guitarists in question - Earth's Dylan Carlson, Cave In's Stephen Brodsky, and Gorguts' Kevin Hufnagel - are as metal as all get out. Plus, a night where a group of musicians stripped their musical identities down to the bare essentials was appealing to me since I believe that art should be separated from artifice, and that too many metalheads confuse the presentation with the actual music. And hell, now that all my friends are responsible adults with wives and kids, what else could I do on a Sunday night except hang out with all the other aging heshers unmoored by family obligations?

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A (half) Month of Sundays

I booked my flight to NY for Friday the 13th. I tried not to let the date bother me, but the weeks leading up to the trip were plagued with bad luck - my bank account was put on hold, my iPod died, and my computer has been shutting down suddenly and without warning. So I was preparing for more of the same.

My flight arrived at Newark Int'l in the middle of a rain storm, and the overcast sky seemed like an ominous sign; but almost immediately after leaving Malaysia and setting foot on US soil, things took a turn for the better. Along with the usual stern demeanor and no-nonsense questions, the immigration officer wished me a happy birthday; and when I arrived in Queens, a huge rainbow stretched over the city. [Ronnie James Dio, patron saint of gypsy heshers, and friend to Wizards everywhere: I see you up there.]

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Bandcamp Pick - Abnormality, VHS, Fister/TEETH, Nucleus

There are few things I've been looking forward to as much as the sophomore album by MA's Abnormality - and thankfully it doesn't disappoint. Their first release for Metal Blade, Mechanisms of Omniscience is transcendent - a showcase of brutality, technicality and riffcraft that will drive fans of Suffocation, Cryptopsy and Origin into a frenzy. The next big thing in American death metal. [$9.99]

I was also eager to see where DoC friends TEETH would go from their commendable debut. On this new split EP from Broken Limbs, the band continue down the path of making death metal as unsettling and dischordant as possible. That makes them an interesting foil for Fister, whose own sludgy contribution comes with a dose of melody that makes it almost uplifting. A trilogy that raises you up only to drag you back down screaming. [ $3]

Grab some Jolt Cola and load up on karo syrup for the first full-length by DoC friends VHS. As per its title, Screaming Mad Gore is horror-themed thrashing death metal, strongly indebted to early Death but with a punk-like commitment to fun and brevity. More gleeful mayhem than a Troma marathon. [$8 CAD]

Sci-fi death metal gets a labyrinthine update courtesy of Colorado's Nucleus. Sentient is the Voivod/Immolation mash up you never knew you needed, combining the jagged rhythms of the former with the lurching riffs of the latter. A bright light on the prog/death horizon. [$6]