Cloaked in Tradition: One on One with Kelsey Wilson of Blade Killer
Written by Matt Drummond
“It’s about the energy that you put out there, especially for heavy metal fans. Music is such a sentimental part of us. You buy a record or you find a record that you’ve been looking for, for so long and when you get it, it’s something you love and cherish. Music for us, is something without gimmicks, we’re playing it, because we want to play it. We’re playing from the heart. It’s a band that every member loves,” says Kelsey Wilson.
When you hear something like that from a band, what you have is a determined band fueled by passion. Passion is something that’s either there, or it’s not. Passion isn’t a quality that can be instilled in a band. It’s not something that comes on album number three, and it’s not something anyone should try to understand. When you truly love something, don’t try to figure out why, just let it burn and know it’s a part of who you are. Blade Killer is band flush with passion; what they’re doing radiates with love and bleeds out with an overwhelming show of respect for the roots of metal.
Formed in 2012, Blade Killer was born in the motherland of traditional heavy metal, Los Angeles, California. The Sunset Strip has been nothing short of historic, introducing bands like Guns ‘N Roses, Van Halen and Motley Crue. Crediting Iron Maiden and Judas Priest as their major influences, Blade Killer is rejuvenating a style that has almost been forgotten. The band’s goal seems simple: it’s to lead fans of this style back into the slaughter, and a slaughter it shall be.
Having an opportunity to sit down with bassist Kelsey Wilson I was able to get a better picture of what Blade Killer’s all about, and it was quite impressive. Aside from Wilson, the band consists of musicians with years of experience under their belts: Jay Vasquez (guitar), John Rubio (guitar), Carlos Gutierrez (vocals), and Kelsey Wilson (bass).
Opening up our conversation, I asked Kelsey how they came to the conclusion that Blade Killer was the band they wanted to focus on.
“I was previously in death metal bands or thrash bands. Carlos, and our first drummer, Andrew, were wanting to do a heavy metal band and Carlos hit me up. At that moment, I wasn’t in any bands, and Carlos asked if I’d be interested playing in a metal band. I was stoked. It was exactly what I had been wanting to do. My goal has always been not to just join a band, but build one from the ground up, and these guys had the same idea. I had known Carlos for years, but I didn’t know Jay beforehand. I met Jay when he tried out and then we got John, that’s how it started,” says Wilson, adding, “we’re not just a band, we all hang out together.”
As most metal fans know, there really isn’t a plethora of new bands coming out with a Priest style. The vast majority of new bands focus on a metalcore or whatever core sound is popular at the time. Personally, I love that a band like Blade Killer has formed. Understanding that their sound is unconventional for today’s audience, I asked Kelsey what made them focus on such a traditional sound:
“Basically, it’s just what we really love. We’re obviously all huge fans of Iron Maiden, early Priest, all that old-school metal. Ya know, that simple, raw style. Nobody was really doing that at the time, not that we were looking to do something no one else was doing. It was just that we loved that style of music, and wanted to recreate it. We wanted to do it on our own and see what we could come up with.”
In 2014, Blade Killer released their first, four track EP and with that release it became apparent that what they came up with was a high voltage inferno of pain. Once you listen to the song, ‘On the Attack,’ you’ll know the Blade Killer’s coming! With that in mind, I asked what the band thought about their first EP, and I also inquired about the band’s new album, which is in its final stages.
“We’re all really proud of the EP, it’s simple, and it’s us. The new album is us kind of transforming into the next realm of Blade Killer. It’s dynamic and it’s us getting tighter as musicians. Yeah, we were just really proud of the EP, we still are.”
Blade Killer hopes to have their first full length album out this spring and also hope to embark on a dominant US tour to melt some faces. Something I write about a lot, and one of the most important qualities I look for in bands, is a love for the music. Kelsey and the other members of Blade Killer definitely have that love and it shines bright. Blade Killer doesn’t sound like Slipknot, Killswitch, or anyone else today. They sound like classic Judas Priest and that’s the easiest way for me to describe them. This is a band chopping down the overgrown vegetation that covers the path of classic metal. They have a vision and they back it up with raw execution. If you dig old school metal then heed my words – Blade Killer is coming and it is ingenious.