Oraculum to Add VocalsDate: August 26, 2015
One of metals most recognizable features as a genre are the vocals. Whether its content wise, as in Viking Metal, or in the very style of the voices, vocals have always helped metal stand apart from other popular musical styles. Very commonly heard as a guttural scream, vocals are an important part in any metal band. But there are some bands that make a name for themselves without this key ingredient. Using complex and mesmerizing guitar riffs, instrumental bands find other ways to create melodies and movement within their songs. Without words, band members use their instruments to give the songs life and meaning. Coming straight out of New Jersey is Oraculum, a local instrumental band.
Oraculum began as a side project of the lead guitarist, Mike Hufnagel while he was playing full time for another band. “I was devoting most of my spare time to the writing process of my solo EP, which would in due time become Oraculum ‘The Foretelling.’” Continuing throughout 2013, Hufnagel focused on writing and arranging the music before beginning the production process in early 2014. Oraculum’s first EP, “The Foretelling” was released this past December.
Looking at Oraculum’s beginnings, Hufnagel ensures that becoming an instrumental band was always the plan from the start. “I really wanted to challenge myself as a player and writer, and I also felt that this was a good way to get the ball rolling.” As the lead guitarist, Hufnagel acts almost as the vocalist. It is with him and his guitar that the melody of each track is portrayed, his fast paced riffs piercing through to give Oraculum the only voice it needs.
Although vocals are one less thing to worry about, and writing can become more versatile because of that, instrumental bands face their own set of challenges. Musicianship must be on a high level, as all the focus is directed to the instruments. Band members must also work on blending their sounds together, without vocals to tie the knot. One of the biggest obstacles, as it is with all local bands, is building a fan base. Local bands are constantly seeking to build up their fans, especially in a scene where people don’t wander into metal shows anymore. Without having the draw of roaring screams and hard-hitting vocals, instrumental bands face twice the challenge.
Recently, Oraculum has been on the bill for local shows scattered throughout New Jersey, often playing with good friends and fellow band mates, Carnavarice Breath. Seeing them live is an experience, Hufnagel’s fingers moving so fast they almost become a blur as the rest of the band keeps the track flowing. Often times, Oraculum will have guest vocalists take the stage for a track or two, giving the audience the classic metal sound.
Currenlty Hufnagel is in the process of writing the next Oraculum EP, with hopes for release in Spring of 2016. “I’m planning to have vocals on the next EP, and am in the process of trying out vocalists to write with, track on the EP and eventually perform live with the band.” As the host of Street Patrol, I for one am excited to see how the band will evolve after taking on a vocalist. For any vocalists interested in trying out, email Mike Hufnagel at email@example.com.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this review are the opinions of the writer alone. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of WSOU, Seton Hall University, nor any of its affiliates.