Black Metal a Mode of Creative Expression for Young Songwriter

Brett Hunt Makes Himself Heard Through Solo Project ‘Adrex’
By MONIQUE M. DEMOPOULOS | May 29, 2019

Stafford Township — Adrex began as an idea in the mind of a 12-year-old Brett Hunt. Now, just three years later, it is the sobriquet of an emerging one-man black metal ensemble.

A student of the Performing Arts Academy of Lakehurst, Hunt is quickly cultivating his style and proficiency as a musician on the Jersey Shore. At age 15, the Stafford Township resident has already performed at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park and other shore point venues. Hunt majors in audio engineering with hopes of transforming his passion for music production and performance into a viable career.

Hunt, who also enjoys drawing and photography, said his songwriting style often channels visual inspiration into music.

“Adrex means absolutely nothing,” he said. “I designed the name around an image for an album when I was 12.”

After a few years of musical training, Hunt spent this winter composing that album, Bitter Night. The muse came to him through a photograph he took in January. “It was the first snow of 2019, and I just got this feeling to go outside and take a picture. That picture became my album cover.”

Bitter Night is a 33-minute album consisting of six songs, including “Weeping River of Tears,” which Hunt feels exemplifies his best and most creative writing and production work. “It’s a story about Massachusetts,” he said. “I wrote the lyrics in school to the picture in my mind.”

Hunt grew up listening to classic rock with his father, Todd Hunt, who is known for his sweet shops, Shore Good Donuts, with locations in Ship Bottom and Manahawkin. Brett was especially inspired by Guns N’ Roses. Over time, his interest evolved into the dark and atmospheric sound of black metal, an intense subgenre of heavy metal, characterized by quick tempos, heavy distortion, and an emphasis on morbidity. These days, Hunt said, he is heavily influenced by the music of Darkthrone and Entombed. He also draws major inspiration from Burzum, another one-man band.

Black metal performances commonly make use of imagery, such as theatrics, wardrobe and symbolic props. Hunt, with his visual process and allegorical style, has found his niche there.

The artist credits his family with supporting him wholeheartedly, despite the dark theme of his music.

“Adrex is an image,” Brett reiterated. “It’s what I believe, not what I do. I write about life, death and God. I also write about darkness and evil. Even if (my family) doesn’t support the style of music, I know they 100 percent support me in everything I do.”

Resources, such as recording equipment, can be scarce for young artists. This was hardly an obstacle for the endeavoring Hunt, who recorded the entire album using only his iPhone 7. His process generally begins with recording a rhythm track. Then he lays down the drums, guitar, bass and, finally, vocals.

Although Brett enjoys performing with other musicians, he has devoted time to developing his multiple talents and found his creative identity through this solo project. With regard to collaborating, Brett expressed that it can be difficult to work with others because of inherent disagreements. “It depends on who you choose to work with. Disagreements can make the band better or worse.” This summer, he hopes to get to work on a “very long demo” for his band, Angel Shredder, a collaborative project with friend Tyler King.

Although Hunt has been busy, he has no intentions of slowing production anytime soon. Adrex can now be heard on nearly every available streaming platform, including iTunes, Spotify and YouTube. Hunt also expects to release another Adrex original two-song demo, Cathedral, this summer.

— Monique M. Demopoulos

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