Bloodline guitarist Kris Wong leaving his mark on Berklee and metal music

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Eastchester, N.Y. is a quiet, suburban town known for its schools, its family-friendly atmosphere and their golf courses. So it may be surprising that one of the impressive recent graduates of Eastchester High School is a music student – studying heavy metal.

Kris Wong is a junior at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. where he is studying and working on perfecting his craft of guitar playing, a hobby he picked up around the age of 12 after learning the violin.

“The violin is so black and white, and as a kid you’re given this music and you play it exactly as it’s written,” Wong said. “I didn’t want to do that, I wanted to write songs. I felt guitar was the purest form of expression.”

Now at Berklee, Wong has studied guitar under some prominent figures in the music industry, and the experience has been “a dream come true.” At school, he has run into John Petrucci from Dream Theater and legendary bassist Victor Wooten, and has also helped form a progressive metal band, Juno Descent. Continue reading

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Track of the Day – “Kerosene” by Baroness

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of The Metal Archives.

One of my favorite things about the metal genre is the diversity you can find among all of the bands. The reason there are so many subgenres is because there are so many styles of metal. It’s what makes the genre unique and fantastic.

Sludge metal is one of those niche subgenres that I sometimes check out, featuring heavy distortion and the atmospheric presence of doom metal’s slower tempos with the fusion of shouted vocals and sometimes faster tempos of punk music.

While I do love heavy, extreme metal, I do like my fair share of clean vocal bands. One of those bands is Baroness, a band from Savannah Georgia that fuses sludge and progressive metal. The band’s super artistic album covers give an idea of the type of music you’ll listen to. Continue reading

WSOU Presents concert series continues this fall

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of Rob Longo.

Following a successful series of concerts in the spring, Seton Hall’s radio station WSOU will be presenting an additional eight concerts over the next three months, with most taking place at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ.

The student-run station has hosted a lot of shows, presenting 23 in 2015 as well as a successful series of Killswitch Engage concerts to promote the band’s new album last spring. WSOU gets to work with some really big names as well, having previously presented Lamb of God and Anthrax and hosting concerts with Parkway Drive and Meshuggah on Oct. 7 and Nov. 5, respectively.

“For the shows what we do is set up a promotional table,” said Megan Stolarz, WSOU’s Promo Director. “We have a wheel there that we bring to student events but instead of recruiting new members, we interact people with already listen to us or try to get new people to check us out. We give out things like keychains and T-shirts that help get the name out.” Continue reading

Track of the Day – “In Aeternum” by Fleshgod Apocalypse

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of metalinjection.net

Death metal and all of its subgenres have quickly become one of my favorite areas of metal music to listen to. The diversity in the bands and their sounds make it one of the most exciting genres to explore and find new music. One of my favorite bands that I’ve found is Italian symphonic death metal group Fleshgod Apocalypse.

There are other symphonic and melodic death metal bands out there, but none that do it quite like Fleshgod Apocalypse do. With a sound heavily inspired by classical music, the blend of pounding drums, growled vocals coupled with an orchestral backing and opera vocals make it one of the most unique experiences in metal, perhaps in all of music.

King is the fourth full-length album from the Italian band, and arguably their best, well-composed release to date. Their last album, Labyrinth, was criticized for its problems with the editing and mixing, with many of the sounds blending together and nothing standing out. Continue reading

Track of the Day – “Runes to my Memory” by Amon Amarth

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of Revolver Magazine.

By reading the name of the blog, you can probably tell that I’m a massive fan of the Swedish melodic death band Amon Amarth. They were my first foray into the heavier spectrum of metal music and I’ve been listening to them constantly ever since.

Amon Amarth, the Sindarin name of Mount Doom in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional Middle-earth, emerged in 1992 following the breakup of grindcore band “Scum.” After the band broke up in 1991, lead vocalist Johan Hegg convinced the original members to reunite. Hegg took over on vocals along with a few other new members, and the band released their first demo in 1993, adopting a death metal sound. Their first released demo was The Arrival of the Fimbul Winter and 1,000 copies were issued.

The band’s initial few demos attracted fans with their unique sound and combination of Norse themes and brutal, yet melodic sounding music. Amon Amarth’s first album, Once Sent from the Golden Hall, was a perfect example of this sound, with tracks like “Victorious March” and “The Dragon’s Flight Across the Waves” becoming fan favorites. Continue reading

Track of the Day – “Empty Words” by Death

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of metal-archives.com

It took me a while to get into the heavier end of the metal genre, and I didn’t touch death metal for a little while. Amon Amarth was the first form of death metal I started listening too, and from that point on it’s been countless hours exploring the genre and the many talented bands in it.

But it wasn’t until a few months ago that I realized where the name of the genre came from. There are many bands that have helped define a genre, but very few that have had their name given to that genre which they helped to create.

Death was a heavy metal band from Florida formed in 1983 by vocalist and guitarist Chuck Schuldiner. When talking about some of the biggest influences in heavy metal, the Big Four gets thrown out there a lot; Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax. But Death is right up there as one of the most influential bands in heavy metal, and clearly the pioneers of death metal and seemingly the first foray into creating extreme metal. Continue reading

Track of the Day – “Pride in Prejudice” by Slayer

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of Slayer.net

Unlike most people, my first introduction to Slayer was not the Reign in Blood album from 1986. The first song I ever heard by them was “Raining Blood” quickly followed by “Angel of Death.” I love that album to pieces, but it wasn’t the first one I heard.

The first Slayer album I’ve ever listened to in full was 2015’s Repentless, the 12th studio album from the legendary thrash metal gods. It was the first album in six years for Slayer and the first one since the death of guitarist and founding member Jeff Hanneman in 2013.

Repentless was met with mixed reviews, with some longtime fans saying that Slayer had lost their touch and the music wasn’t the same without Hanneman, who wrote a lot of the music for the band. But maybe it’s because this was my first Slayer album, but this is one of my most played albums over the last year or so. Continue reading

Ghost announces events in NYC and LA; Popestar tour begins tomorrow

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of rollingstone.com

 

Swedish metal band Ghost already made headlines this week when they released a new song, “Square Hammer,” which will be on their Popestar EP, scheduled to come out tomorrow on September 16.

Today, they announced that they would be holding “costal rituals” in two separate special events, one in New York and one in Los Angeles. Their Facebook post said that the attendees’ “reward will be generous.” Continue reading

Track of the Day – “Lost in the Static” by After the Burial

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of altpress.com

I had a lot of choices for the first ever Track of the Day on my new blog. I could have went with a classic, my favorite band, or what’s on the radio the most at the moment. It was tempting to start things off with some Metallica or Slayer, but I went in a different direction.

I first heard of After the Burial on Sirius XM’s Liquid Metal station (Channel 40). I flip between that and Octane (Channel 37) in the car but the dial is usually on Liquid Metal. Ever since the Dig Deep album was released back in February, it’s received a lot of praise and airtime on rock and metal radio, especially over the summer.

Being relatively new to the metal genre, this was my first exposure to the band. After the Burial is a progressive metal band that mixes in some djent and metalcore sounds for a unique and awesome blend of music. I’ve grown really attached to progressive metal, death metal and bands that blend the two genres, so After the Burial’s sound is right up my alley. Continue reading