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Emerging local band takes new approach to heavy metal music

A passion for music is something that can’t be taught. In the case of four college students who decided to form a band, sifting and weaving their way through the music world is their chance to share this passion with others.

“We all have something that we love to do outside of school and the band, those things set us apart and make us who we are. At the end of the day though, our common interest in music brings us together,” Brad Bell, guitarist, said.

Xavier Edwards, Bell, Sam Hiller and Benny Barto have been devoting their hearts to music ever since forming an unnamed heavy metal band in February 2016.

“I had played in a couple of bands in early high school, and was hoping to join one when I got to college, so I jumped at the chance,” Hiller, guitarist, said.

A Facebook announcement that was looking for musicians to start a music group brought the members together. Each of them added their own talent and spin on heavy metal music to the table.

“We decided on metal music because it seems to be the most interesting for us to play. Just about any group of kids can pick up an acoustic guitar and start an indie group,” Edwards, vocalist, said.

The musicians came to Maine from all different backgrounds, each member bringing something from home to the group. When applying to the University of Maine from Ledyard, Conn., Hermon, Maine, Burlington, Vt. and Avon, Conn., the musicians couldn’t imagine that they would become friends, classmates or better yet, bandmates.

Learning to balance schoolwork with their passion for music, each member of the band has learned to find his own rhythm.

“School comes first. We do the band if we can, which we can most of the time, but we struggle to find places to practice, which is a big barrier for us. We are always on the lookout for new chances and opportunities to share our music, and we love when people reach out with venue options, places to practice, and feedback that can only help the group,” Barto, percussionist, said. “I personally never stop listening, singing, or playing music in some way, even if we aren’t practicing that day.”

First and second-year UMaine students Edwards, Bell, Hiller, and Barto have their own interests that make them unique. This includes BMX (bicycle motocross) riding, making jewelry and working on cars and machinery, as well as devoting hours of their day to listening, reading and thinking about music.

Still searching for that perfect name, the band has been seeking inspiration from their role models.

“The name is going to come to us soon enough, we just can’t force it,” Hiller said.

With inspiration from heavy metal music icons like Guns N’ Roses, Lamb of God, Slipknot, Korn, and Shinedown, the band creates their own style and sound, while remaining in the heavy metal genre.

With a mindset to spread their music around the campus and the surrounding Orono and Bangor areas, the band is open to any support and friendly faces to help them on their journey. With each day, their hopes for the future get bigger and their excitement grows stronger.

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