My bud Mike Hufnagel, formerly of the bands Murder League All-Stars and Warhorse, recently emailed me because has a new project that he’s unleashed. The name of the band is Oraculum, and the taste that I just got from them was a brutal one. Brutal in the sense that the guitar work made me feel like I got slapped in the face a few times followed with an uppercut to the jaw. Here’s my question, though. This is the second band in two weeks where the bands were instrumental, which means no singer! What’s happened to the singers here in Jersey? Are they that few and far between? Anyway, big difference between last week’s featured band and Oraculum this week. These guys are full-blown metal with no B.S. You can hear it on the songs “The Fortelling” and “Serpents.” There’s no turning back once you start listening.

According to the band’s bio, Oraculum are an instrumental metal group hailing from the Northern and Central Jersey region. The lead guitar-driven sound of Oraculum was originally the vision of founding guitarist Mike Hufnagel, who as I mentioned earlier, spent some time with Murder League All-Stars and Warhorse. After Mike began writing the music for this new project, he teamed up with some other North Jersey Notes alumni, Darkness Descends drummer Zaki Ali, who played a major role in the writing process with Mike. Zaki would tap his Darkness Descends brother and bassist Chuck Gowen to help out with this new project, and Chuck would soon join the project that would become Oraculum full-time. The lineup for their debut EP was complete and The Foretelling will be released Dec. 13 with an EP release party at Dingbatz in Clifton. With the speed and technicality and melody and hooks that go on for days, Oraculum’s brand of instrumental metal ranks up there with the likes of Steve Bello and Angel Vivaldi on this Jersey music scene.

Oraculum are already working on new material for their second CD with guitarist Julian Cifuentes, who joined the band shortly after production of The Foretelling. Those of you who love technical guitar work and instrumental metal will love Oraculum! Check them out now at



One band that I haven’t seen in quite some time comes out of my hometown of Saddle Brook, NJ. They call themselves Hollywood Kills, and they raised their ugly head for the first time in a very long time last week on Thanksgiving Eve. They performed at the only Bennigan’s in the area in Saddle Brook, hooking fans in with an acoustic set followed by a full electric set. Hollywood Kills features my bud Russell Kelley, who also owns Handsome Devil Tattoo Company in our hometown, which I plan on visiting for a future Inked Out issue. For more on Hollywood Kills, visit

My old bud Brian Mackey recently released his latest opus right before the holiday season. It’s called Broken Heartstrings, and it took two years to create due to Brian’s personal losses and private experiences, which help fuel the songs on Broken Heartstrings. The CD has compared his songwriting and vocals to legends like Bob Dylan and Lou Reed on songs like “America” and “Captain Of The Moon,” but then songs like “Desire” have been compared to the likes of R.E.M. Broken Heartstrings is available now on iTunes and wherever CDs are sold. For more info on Brian Mackey, visit

And finally, some news from my bros in Audio Empire. Yes, them again! The boys are looking for funding to release their first full-length CD and they’re looking to their fans for help! They’ve created a GoFundMe page,, where fans can donate money and receive some personalized band merch in return. If you love Audio Empire, now’s your chance to get some cool gear from them and help them out with their new CD. Don’t forget to catch Audio Empire live this Friday night (12/5) at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ with Red Dragon Cartel featuring the legendary Jake E. Lee and Lipstick Magazine. For more info, log onto

That’s all for now! If your band is from North Jersey, and you want some exposure, send your press kits to Arts Weekly, c/o Tim Louie P.O. Box 1140, Little Falls, NJ 07424, or you can email me at, where you can also let me know where you’re performing next!


Just remember….We’re all in the same boat, so every little bit of exposure counts!

Tim Louie is the Author of S**t Happens.

NJN Concert Calendar:

12/4—Lieder—Northern Soul, Hoboken, NJ

12/5—Red Dragon Cartel/Audio Empire/Lipstick Magazine—Mexicali Live, Teaneck, NJ

12/5—Dead Fish Handshake/Crewman Number Six—Maxwell’s Tavern, Hoboken, NJ

12/6—Brand of Julez/ANAKA—The Knitting Factory, Brooklyn, NY

12/6—Ghosts of Eden—Arlene’s Grocery, NYC

12/5—Ted Poley/Rock Kandy—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

12/10—Otan Vargas—Mulcahy’s, Wantagh, NY

12/10—Samarian—Arlene’s Grocery, NYC

12/11—CHARETTA/Eric from Face The King/Ghosts of Eden/Otan Vargas/REVEL 9/Statue of Anne/Srotakin IV—Lovecraft Bar NYC, NYC

12/12—Big City Rebels 6/Santa Cruz/Sweet Cyanide/Station/Nasty Habit/Wicked—The Studio at Webster Hall, NYC

12/12—Horizon Edge/From Below/Fear Report/Srotakin IV—Fontana’s Bar, NYC

12/12—Otan Vargas/Ascending From Ashes/Hidden Cabins/David Marin/NettyRose/Mystic Haze—Tenth Street Live, Kenilworth, NJ

12/13—Oraculum/Angel Vivaldi/Gyre/Ascending From Ashes/Canopy Veil/As Glory Fades/Eels Of Love/Localide—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

12/13—Killcode/John Corabi—Revolution Bar and Music Hall, Amityville, NY

12/13—Lords of Mercy/White Tiger—Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ

12/19—Ropetree/Buckcherry—Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ

12/19—That Metal Show’s Holiday Bash featuring Psychoprism/Madysin Hatter/Gathering After Ashes/Stereo Outlaws—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

12/20—Marc Rizzo and the Corrupters—The Blue Room, Secaucus, NJ

12/20—Lieder—The Clash Bar, Clifton, NJ

12/21—Agnostic Front/HUGE/Negative Traction/Negative Sky/Mass Punishment—The Brighton Bar, Long Branch, NJ

12/27—Battlecross/Wretched/War Of Ages/Julius Seizure/Monument Of A Memory—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

12/27—Syka/Andrew W.K.—GameChanger World, Howell, NJ

12/29—Lower The Veil/Clutch—Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ

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