Skill of a Gypsy King v. Power of the Bronze Bomber

By Vito Basile

Deontay Wilder (42-0-1) is statistically the greatest knockout artist ever in boxing’s heavyweight division with an 98% KO rate. The other 2% of the time, his opponent survived being in the squared circle with the Bronze Bomber. The two men that were lucky enough to get out while remaining conscious (although, I’m not sure if Fury knew where he was in that 12th round after the knockdown) were Bermane Stiverne and of course, the Gypsy King himself, Tyson Fury (29-0-1).

Until the first fight between Fury and Wilder, his only other real test was in Ortiz v Wilder 1, where Ortiz was leading the entire fight until Wilder put him away in the 10th with a right hand. Wilder is very unorthodox for a boxer; he doesn’t follow the “traditional” style of boxing, and he fights every fight like you just stepped on his Jordans in the bar or you said something disrespectful to his girlfriend. Stylistically, no one can match him as a sparring partner. Not only does the man have a brick for a right hand, but he’s proven that he’s got a chin. We saw this in the first bout with Fury when he was hit with some nice combinations that probably would’ve hurt most other fighters, but Wilder is just a wild man (pun intended). I’m already looking forward to Wilder v Fury III because I know this fight is going to be epic.

It may sound like I’m drinking the Wilder Kool-Aid, and I might be just a little, but it’s hard not to like a guy who’s so lethal with one punch that the fight can end at any time. I think Fury will come out very similar to his last fight, but I expect him to push the pace a little more and be aggressive earlier in the fight and not leave any doubt in the judges’ minds. I also believe Fury, being more aggressive, will make himself more vulnerable, and when you leave spots for a guy like Wilder, you’re going to bed a little early. Look for Wilder to throw that right a lot more this fight; he tasted blood in the first matchup and it’s going to be kind of hard not to go for that kill shot early on, which may gas him quickly, allowing Fury to take rounds with the use of his technical skill.

My Pick: Wilder finishes Fury by KO, sometime after the 5th round

Fury v. Wilder 2 – Keys to a Wilder Victory

by Vito Basile

Now that my keys to victory are out of the way for Tyson Fury, I want to focus on the champ, Deontay Wilder, and his keys to victory. In the first fight, Wilder looked so composed for a guy who’s never really fought in such a high-profile fight like the one against Fury. Sure, I get the point that for Wilder, every fight is huge, especially as the Main Event on the card, but none of the fighters that Wilder has fought hold water to the caliber of fighter Fury is. In their first bout, Wilder had a game plan, he followed it closely, and it played very well for him to the point that he was able to remain undefeated and retain his title due to the split decision.

Almost certainly, though, fans felt like they were ripped off because of the draw, especially the Fury fans. At the end of the fight, I got the sense that Wilder felt like he didn’t do enough to really win convincingly, but instead “stole” the victory away from Fury. It was evident when Bruce Buffer announced the fight was a split decision; Wilder smiled and knew that he caught a break (although I scored it 115-111 in favor of Fury) and his undefeated recorded still was intact. I think if Wilder wants to win convincingly and leave zero doubt in the minds of boxing fans that he won the first fight, there are five keys to a victory for him on Saturday:

Use the jab: As I mentioned in regard to Fury using the jab to set up his other punches, I’m saying the same for Wilder. Wilder is very dangerous when he can use his jab to set up that big powerful right hand. The jab should be his best friend on Saturday. He needs to throw it for what it’s intended: a set up punch.

Change levels: In the first fight, Wilder came out throwing jabs and other punches to the body. I thought that was a great game plan, and it could be very useful in this fight. He should show Fury different eye levels, meaning go high then low, and throw that right hand to the head and body. He needs to work Fury’s body, and neutralize the speed and movement that makes him so effective. If he can make Fury drop his hands, Wilder can drop his powerful right hand and put him down if the moment comes.

Be more aggressive and pick your shots: In the first half of the first bout, Wilder was aggressive, which is why I thought he won (besides the 9th and 12th knockdowns). He should stay on Fury, keep him honest, and follow up a combo with another combo. He needs to be aggressive, but not get too aggressive, because that’s when he starts to get sloppy. Wilder surprised me by not getting too aggressive and trying to finish the fight quickly. He picked his shots in the first half of the last fight, and it help him steal rounds from a good technical fighter.

More head and body movement: In the first match-up, Wilder stayed flat-footed a majority of the time, and I’m sure the first thing he was taught was to never stay flat-footed because a still target is an easier target than a moving one. Wilder needs to move around more, use more head movement, keep Fury from landing clean shots, and force him to make a mistake on which he can capitalize. This is usually difficult for power punchers like Wilder because they stay flat-footed to put force into their knockout punch. This is beneficial to Wilder if he just moves a little more and causes Fury to make mistakes, and it would really give Wilder an advantage. Guys like Fury love to counter punch, and there’s no better way to beat a counter puncher than with a counter punch.

Leave some in the tank for the later rounds: This can probably tie in to picking your shots, and I’m kind of contradicting myself a little because being aggressive and being more active does use energy. However, if it’s done correctly, you can be effective while also maintaining energy for the late rounds. Fury got stronger as the fight went on, and he’s a well-conditioned big man. The good news is that Wilder has already gone the distance with him once, so we know he can do it. It’s all about conservation of energy and knowing when to use energy and when not to.

Wilder already has the recipe to defeat Fury, but now he needs to clean up some areas of his game plan and put it into action. Wilder is very dangerous due to his ability to finish the fight with one punch. Fury lacks that ability, and we saw Wilder nearly put Fury away in the beginning of the 12th round. Wilder is a wild man (pun intended), and Fury, no matter his game plan, always has to account for the right hand that could finish the fight at any moment.

Fury v. Wilder 2 – Keys To a Fury Victory

by Vito Basile

December 1st, 2018 is the day that the heavyweight division in boxing was resurrected. Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury shook the boxing world in what was one of the best performances by two heavyweights since probably Klitschko v. Lewis, or any of the Klitschko brothers’ fights in the early 00s. On that night, judges scored the match a split decision draw; one had Fury winning 114-110, another had Wilder winning 115-111, and the third scored it a 113-113 draw. Re-watching the fight recently, I scored it 115-111 in favor of Wilder, but I felt that a few rounds could’ve gone either way, and could easily have changed the outcome of the fight. If it weren’t for two knockdowns by Wilder, I think the judges would have scored those rounds differently, and it might’ve been just enough to edge Wilder in the 9th and 12th rounds.

In that fight, I thought Wilder surprised most analysts. I feel like he won the majority of rounds against a very technical, and much quicker, opponent. Fury, meanwhile, looked very comfortable, with great head and body movement, and he had good control of the ring, even when he was backpedaling. With Fury v. Wilder 2 on Saturday, I’ve got five keys to victory for Fury:

Control the ring: Fury did a great job in the first fight with his ring awareness and keeping Wilder moving, preventing him from getting good angles and really landing his right hand (minus the 2 knockdowns). Fury needs to do the same thing he did in the first fight, and use his length to his advantage.

Pick up the pace: Fury is a very technical, methodical fighter, so I know saying this goes against what he does: the reason the first fight was so close was that Fury started very slow in the first half, allowing Wilder to be more aggressive and keeping him vulnerable. Fury needs to push the pace early on, avoid gassing himself out, and throw everything at Wilder to pressure him and force him to throw bad punches.

Head and body movement: This is where Fury shines and makes his opponent pay. He did an excellent job in the first fight of moving and not taking much damage from the power punches Wilder threw. The same needs to happen this fight; Fury must keep Wilder from connecting, and keep him to doing minimal damage.

Jab, jab, and more jab: Fury excelled in the first fight because he used his jab to keep his distance and set up combinations. The same thing needs to happen in this fight. He needs to establish the jab and follow it up with a hook, straight, etc. Wilder struggles against volume punchers.

Counter punching: This is something I don’t think Fury did a whole lot of in the first fight. He needs to utilize his quickness and his movement. If Fury can establish his jab, followed by his head and body movement, Wilder will have a hard time lining up his right hand, and this fight could be a lopsided affair.

If Fury can repeat the first fight and just tweak a few things, I think he can win without the controversy of a split decision, and allow the judges to determine close rounds. Fury is a great fighter who can win rounds without knockdowns, although he has enough power to put a fighter away, and he can fall back on his endurance and late round effectiveness. For his size, he’s a well-conditioned heavyweight that can wear down Wilder, much as he did in the first match-up. Fury is one of the best heavyweights in boxing, and this will be a great fight, likely setting up a third bout.

Gorillaz Change Things Up With New Audiovisual Series, “Song Machine”

by Jared Moser

Gorillaz, a band that has remained a mystery for almost 22 years, present their new project, Song Machine. Created by British musician Damon Albarn and cartoon artist Jamie Hewlett, Gorillaz are a virtual band of four animated characters: 2-D (vocals), Murdoc Niccals (bass), Noodle (guitar), and Russel Hobbs (drums). These four animated musicians make up the band’s faces and story-telling element through altered interviews, music videos, and virtual concert experiences. Since their self-titled debut dropped in 2001, Albarn has released many other hits under the name Gorillaz. Albums such as Demon Days in 2005 and Plastic Beach in 2010, reached sixth and second on the U.S. Billboard Hot 200.

Following the underwhelming release of their sixth record The Now Now in 2018, Gorillaz bring us a new project titled Song Machine. In an unorthodox way of releasing new music, Albarn plans to release individual audiovisual episodes consisting of a new song with a music video of sorts, implementing real video with the animated characters weaving in and out of reality. With one episode out already, and an entire season planned out, it’s exciting to see this creative way of releasing music.

Episode one, “Momentary Bliss,” featuring Slowthai and Slaves, is a single that packs more than enough Gorillaz feels into about four minutes. It begins with a smooth, melodic guitar riff, weaving in and out of the spaced out drums and gentle vocals from Albarn. It has a soothing “vibe” feel that sounds amazing, but it sadly gets cut off, and slowly transitions into a tuba-like keyboard and synth section. Slowthai, a British rapper who found his fame in 2019, raps over the ever-building chorus, which gets busier and more crowded as the song grows. When the song hits its climax, everything builds, from the keyboard, guitar, and drums to the vocals and background vocals.

As energetic as it is, nothing is leading the charge in this section of the song. Many things are lost and washed out due to the congested chorus. The drums have potential because of how punchy and crash heavy they are, but they’re buried under two or three layers of synths and guitar. This build happens once more, only to fade out into a beautiful section identical to the introduction, only this outro implements melodic piano behind the guitar, drums, and vocals.

“Momentary Bliss” isn’t flawless, but it’s enjoyable, and I would go back and listen to it on my own. Though the middle section isn’t my favorite, due to its congested chorus and length, the beginning and end carry the song for me. The rap section isn’t bad, but it could have been used in a much more impactful way. It seemed as though it’s written as a bridge section rather than the body of the song. If the intro and outro could have been the heart of the song, it would have been spectacular.

Overall, “Momentary Bliss” has production that’s decent, it’s never flat, and all the different elements of the song have depth, hearing distant background vocals and sound effects from the other fictional characters. I’m curious to hear whether this is a taste of what the rest of Song Machine will sound and feel like, or if every episode will house something special.

Check out the video for “Momentary Bliss” here (NSFW: language):

Green Day’s Father of All…What, Exactly?

by Jared Moser

Dropped on February 7th, Father of All… is Green Day’s thirteenth studio album. Originating in California, the world-famous pop-punk band follows their 2016 album, Revolution Radio, which hit number one on the Billboard Hot 200, with this ten song record.

While seemingly lacking musical direction with their ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, and ¡Tré! albums in 2012, Green Day got back on track with a pretty solid album in 2016, carried by hit tracks such as “Bang Bang,” “Revolution Radio,” and “Still Breathing.” Fast forward four years, and Green day has given us Father of All…. Unfortunately, I don’t even know what this is.

With ten songs, the album somehow only clocks in at a little over 26 minutes. The album kicks off with a track that gives off a false sense of hope for the album. “Father of All…” is a powerful and fun way to introduce the album with quick and creative drums, and distant alternative indie rock vocals. It’s a pretty average Green Day song, though; by no means should it be the best song on any album. To put it lightly, the fun stops there.

The rest of the record is boring, repetitive, and lacks creativity. The only standouts are “Oh Yeah!,” “Stab You In The Heart,” and “Junkies on a High.” Honestly, I wouldn’t even go back to listen to these; they’re so mediocre that they stand out against the rest of the bland nothingness of the rest of the album. Billy Joel Armstrong’s vocal patterns are repetitive and boring, Mike Dirnt’s bass is non-existent, and Tré Cool’s drums are the same spiritless beat every song. The album has no message, no drive, and saddest of all, no Green Day flare that we know and love.

To make matters even worse, the record ends with the worst song on the album. “Graffitia” has the same unoriginal guitar riffs, and same beginner drum beat the entire song. The only reason it’s worse than the previous song on the record, “Take the Money and Crawl,” is because it’s a minute and nine seconds longer.

I do have to keep in mind, though, that if I was listening to this album and it was made by a no-name band, it actually wouldn’t be that bad. But, to know that this album was made by Green Day, a band with an absolute beast of a discography, world-wide respect, and a previous record that was really enjoyable, is just saddening. I hold Green Day to such a high standard that when they put out something this mediocre, it’s going to seem so much worse than it might actually be.

Father of All… sounds like everything that people disliked about punk bands in the 90s that Green Day didn’t do. The only rewarding characteristics I can get from listening to this are the experimental flare that “Father of All…” and “Junkies on High” bring to the album, which I appreciate. I’m giving Father of All… a 3/10, and I hope Green Day can come out with something more worth listening to in the future.

WONC’s Open House Celebrates New Era

You may have read that our studio was recently upgraded with new, digital equipment. On February 11th, we celebrated with an open house for NCC students, alumni, faculty and staff.

We opened our doors to the campus community, and welcomed a number of guests throughout the day. Many alumni came to visit the station, and shared their memories of working at WONC.

As we head into a new era at WONC, we’ll keep playing the best Pure Rock on the radio!

The Daily Herald also came by our open house. You can read their article here!

Show Spotlight: Midgard and Beyond

A brand new show is coming to FM89! Midgard and Beyond will take you on a musical journey every Friday night from 8 to 10. Just in time for the show’s arrival, we’ve received a transmission from the host, Loremaster Peefnor:

Salutations, mortals of Earth. I am Loremaster Peefnor, and I come baring excellent news! Your typically drab Friday nights are about to be enlightened like never before.

I type to you now from the Nexus of Infinity, a distant place far beyond your reality. Here, I am able to observe all the realms, including your own. I have gathered many tales of brave heroes, mighty battles, and sorrowful sights. Their conduit of deliverance is METAL, and only the finest I can get my hands on.

The keepers of rock most pure at FM89 have allowed me to hijack your station’s feed from 8 to 10 p.m. every Friday night so that I may share from my ever-expanding library. Expect an emphasis on progressive, power, and symphonic metal from across the seas. Later in the show, from 9 to 10 p.m., I shall tell you a story from a different world, all while I weave its parts together with tangentially related METAL.

My word count grows thin and my fingers weary. Keep well, mortals of Earth, until next time.

Tune in every Friday night from 8 to 10 for Midgard and Beyond!

Show Spotlight: Sakura Sunset

A brand new show is coming to FM89! Hosted by Matthew Lundeen, Sakura Sunset is a two-hour celebration of the best of Japanese rock. Tune in every Thursday night from 6 to 8 to hear tracks from artists you simply won’t hear on any other station this corner of the world. There are plenty of segments spotlighting artists and tons of songs that any savvy anime fan will recognize.

Matthew feels it’s important that this music is celebrated, and he wants others to enjoy it as much as he does. He says, “Watching anime introduced me to a slew of bands from Japan across all kinds of genres. I grew to really appreciate how much music can move you without completely understanding the words. This show is a product of that; it gives me an opportunity to expose the audience to music they normally might not hear.” Tune in every Thursday night from 6 to 8, and hear what you’ve been missing!

Review: “Dominion” by Hammerfall

by Nick Keseric

I recently reviewed Dragonforce’s newest album, Extreme Power Metal, and my thoughts on Hammerfall’s newest album, Dominion, are eerily similar. I would both critique and commend both bands as one thing: consistent. Hammerfall’s early albums were amazing, and at the time were very fresh. As they went on, Hammerfall got better and better…until they peaked, and then kept on at the same level, fluctuating a bit every album.

Barring 2011’s Infected, most of Hammerfall can be described as “templar metal” – lyrically, there’s a low fantasy vibe to most of their music. Musically, Hammerfall stands somewhere between full-on power metal and classic heavy metal, and that’s very evident on Dominion.

The album opens up with “Never Forgive, Never Forget,” something that sounds a lot like it belongs on 2009’s No Sacrifice, No Victory. The slow opening that quickly builds up energy really brings you into the album, and the rest of the song keeps up that high energy.

Following up Never Forgive is “Dominion,” the titular song. Both “Dominion” and “Testify” are a bit slower than some of the other songs on the album, but more than make up for it by being powerful. Both Joacim Cans’ vocals and the backing vocals sting hard in these tracks, and both Oscar Dronjak’s guitar work and the drum work of David Wallin on these songs hit just as hard.

“(We Make) Sweden Rock” is one of those “metal songs that glorify metal,” as well as being an anthem for the band, and it works well for that, though it brings up an issue I have with the album. The album, lyrically, skirts the usual “templar metal” themes of the band, and “(We Make) Sweden Rock” brings me out of that immersion the band brought me into. Even worse is when it’s followed by “Second to One,” It’s almost obligatory for Hammerfall to include a ballad-style song on their albums, and while “Second to One” is good, it serves to bring the album a bit away from their usual themes. “Scars of a Generation” and “Dead by Dawn” sort of bring it back, but it’s not until “Bloodline” that the album really feels like “templar metal” again.

“Bloodline” would have worked well as a title track for the album just as well as “Dominion” would have; for that matter, with the intro track “Battleworn” in front of it, it would also worked very well as an opening track. “Bloodline” certainly feels a lot more “power” than “heavy” by Hammerfall standards, and its follow-up, “Chain of Command,” stays with this theme. A lot of the tracks between “Testify” and “Bloodline” feel kind of in the middle. Finally, we end with “And Yet I Smile,” a sort of metal-ballad that ends the album really well.

All in all, Dominion is a good palette of what Hammerfall has to offer: some powerful songs at the front and more melodic yet still hard hitting hits at the end. It’s still not the band at its height, but it is the band doing what it does well.

Dominion gets 3.5 out of 5 stars. It’s a bit run-of-the-mill for Hammerfall at this point, but they still made a good album that fans will enjoy.

If you’re interested, you can listen to Dominion on Spotify here.

I also recommend checking out Napalm Record’s Dominion Track by Track on Youtube, for a little bit of context into the songs on the album by lead singer Joacim Cans.

Taking a Look at Radio Production with WONC’s Production Director

by Nick Keseric

If you listen to WONC for a bit, you might hear various pre-produced things that we play. We have a plethora of promos for various shows we have, public service announcements for various causes, and between every few songs, we play short audio clips known as “sweepers.” All of our material is produced by students here at WONC, but one student in particular is tasked with producing material – the Production Director.

If you listened in on the week of Halloween or on Thanksgiving, you might have heard some of our Production Director’s work. We’re also planning on releasing some new material for the upcoming holiday season. In light of that, I sat down with our current Production Director, Bryce, to talk about the art of producing material for the station.

Bryce is all about creating a picture with audio. Using vivid imagery to conjure some scene in the mind of the listener is where a lot of his best work lies. Bryce mentioned that for this Halloween, he “tried practicing with a binaural thing, experimenting with stereo sound trying to better convey a story of sorts.” Sound effects are very crucial for what Bryce does when he tries to “establish some sort of audioscape.” Because radio is a purely audio medium, producers need to use vivid sound effects and voices that immediately let the listener imagine what’s going on.

Production of material at the station is done by our Production Director, but we do have professional voice actors who provide voices for our work. This isn’t just so that we sound good; it gives our students a chance to work with and direct professional talent. In Bryce’s experience, a lot of the time they would “direct themselves,” and they’d be “really spot on or would take the material and put [their] own twist on it,” but there were times Bryce had to give them slight directions.

For Bryce, audio production is an “excellent creative output.” Despite being a lot of work, he finds audio production to be very rewarding. A lot of planning and pre-production goes into creating rather short clips of audio, but for Bryce, it’s a welcome change of pace from the other stuff he has to do as a college student. Prior to getting into audio production, Bryce worked a lot with video production as a creative out.

Getting into audio production, and becoming good at it, involved just producing a lot of stuff. Experimenting – like how Bryce experimented with stereo audio for Halloween – is the key to getting better.