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Metal and Hardcore in 2014: Council of Steel, Blood & Bone

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Gorguts' guitarists Luc Lemay (left) and Kevin Hufnagel (right). Lemay photo by Eric Geoffroy.

Gorguts’ Luc Lemay and Kevin Hufnagel
Formed by vocalist/guitarist Luc Lemay in 1989, Quebec technical death metal outfit Gorguts has had its share of ups and downs—so many, in fact, that it would be depressing if not for the inspiring denouement: From ’90 to ’93, the band’s incredibly complex rhythms and raging solos were distributed by esteemed metal label Roadrunner Records. But then they were dropped, went through multiple hiatuses, and had several lineup changes—including the untimely deaths of two members. When Lemay finally reassembled Gorguts with the help of guitarist Kevin Hufnagel and released 2013’s Colored Sands (12 years after the band’s previous studio effort), the album received laudatory praise from around the globe for its mind-boggling brutality, virtuosity, and compositional diversity—including Lemay’s classical string-quartet piece, “The Battle of Chamdo.”

“I’m very happy to belong to this era of metal.”
—Gorguts’ Luc Lemay

Thoughts on the State of Metal/Hardcore in 2014:
Luc Lemay: I think the scene is super creative and very much alive. It’s tough to keep up with all the releases, but the quality of composition, production, and musicianship is great. I’m very happy to belong to this era of metal.
Kevin Hufnagel: It’s the most exciting it’s been since the early ’90s. Bands like Deathspell Omega, Blut Aus Nord, and Portal are prime examples of artists pushing metal into some totally refreshing and creative realms again.

Best Album of the Last Year:
Lemay: There are a few records I really liked—Steven Wilson’s The Raven That Refused to Sing, Ulcerate’s Vermis, Katatonia’s Dethroned & Uncrowned, Cult of Luna’s Vertikal, Carcass’ Surgical Steel….
Hufnagel: Kayo Dot’s Hubardo.

Luc Lemay’s Gear

Guitars
1990s Ibanez S-series 7-string with Bare Knuckle Aftermath humbucker
Two custom Marc Chicoine 6-strings

Amps
Matrix Amplification GT1000FX
Mesa/Boogie 4x12 cabinet

Effects
Line 6 POD HD500

Strings and Picks
DR strings (.013–.056)
Jim Dunlop .88 mm Tortex picks

Kevin Hufnagel’s Gear

Guitars
Gibson SG

Amps
Peavey 5150

Effects
Sanford & Sonny Bluebeard Fuzz/Distortion
Boss DD-7 digital delay

Strings and Picks
DR Strings Tite-Fit JZ-12 strings (.012–.052)
Jim Dunlop Jazz III picks

Best Metal or Hardcore Album of All Time:
Lemay: I’ll say Scream Bloody Gore by Death, because that record made me decide to play death metal.
Hufnagel: Voivod’s Dimension Hatross.

Most Underrated Metal or Hardcore Guitarist:
Lemay: Christian Bouche (aka Hasjarl) from Deathspell Omega for his creativity, style of playing, and style of writing—just pure evil.
Hufnagel: Currently, I’d say Vindsval from Blut Aus Nord. I love his totally unorthodox approach and balance of melodic and dissonant playing.

Metal or Hardcore Cliché That Must Die:
Lemay:
Talking to the crowd with a death-metal voice that’s as guttural as possible so no one can understand. I mean, I get that it’s a show, but I don’t like this type of interaction with the crowd. Once the song starts, everything is possible—it’s all about composition—but when the time to introduce a song comes … real voice, please.
Hufnagel: Breakdowns.

Metal or Hardcore Tradition That Must Not Die:
Lemay: I hate the fact that metal is often snubbed in other musical circles, and that metal musicians—or any kind of extreme music artists—are seen as no-talent players.
Hufnagel: Guitar Solos.

People Who Don’t “Get” Metal and Hardcore These Days Should ….:
Lemay:
Open their mind to this type of art! Metal is one of the boldest and most creative forms of music. Of course it has its clichés, but if you pass by that stuff, a whole world of expression and creativity will open up to you.
Hufnagel: Dig a little deeper into the underground, where most of the best music is being made—or just go listen to something else.

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