Decibel premiered the first single, “Pulse Controller,” from Kevin Hufnagel‘s latest solo album, Messages to the Past, in April. In the accompanying Q&A, the Gorguts guitarist explained that Messages to the Past was his way of paying tribute to the guitarists who influenced him as a musician. That list is predictably varied—in addition to Gorguts, Hufnagel plays with tech wizards Dysrhythmia, plus Vaura, Sabbath Assembly and has an extensive solo career.
While Messages to the Past is obviusly rooted in the stylings of Jake E. Lee, Randy Rhoads, Fates Warning and their contemporaries, the album is far from one-sided.
“One of my first reasons for picking up a guitar was George Lynch. His explosive, raw playing and outside note choices really made my ears perk up,” Hufnagel tells Decibel. “Though Dokken was thought of as a rather poppy band in the world of metal, his riffs and solos always had a contrarian and eerily sinister vibe to them. Last year I was listening to an isolated, guitars-only version of his song ‘Mr. Scary’ on YouTube and thought: ‘Wouldn’t it be rad if there were more songs that sounded like this?’
“Another would be the work of Fates Warning guitarist Jim Matheos. His ability to craft melodic, soulful leads, while letting the right notes breathe, made me a more mature player. Not to mention all the use of creative harmonization, rich chord voicings, and textural clean/acoustic guitar layers found in his music… All of which create a moody lushness I often aimed for on my album.
‘For some of the acoustic pieces on Messages… I reconnected with my love for the Passion, Grace and Fire album by John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola and Paco de Lucía. You can hear that in particular on the song ‘Inner Unseen.’ Also the acoustic stylings of guitarists like Ralph Towner and Michael Hedges served as inspiration.
Additional shout-outs to Jake E. Lee, Andy LaRocque/Pete Blakk, Marty Friedman/Jason Becker, Chris DeGarmo/Michael Wilton… I could go on forever here.”