Christian metalcore band Fit for a King have transformed themselves off of their last record, Deathgrip and have gone further down this road with a new release, Dark Skies. From basic metalcore to a blend of metalcore, deathcore, and some hardcore elements. The band has been able to make the perfect combination of bone breaking breakdowns to sing-along choruses that will be stuck in your head all day.
Dark Skies is a relentless record that starts off with a bang. Engraved and The Price of Agony are your typical songs to expect from the quartet in the best way imaginable. Hooks that will grab you right away along with catchy choruses that will stick with you even if you forget the title of the song. Engraved has some of the most killer bass lines that mix well with the tone of the guitar work to make for some heavy breakdowns.
The band sticks to the metalcore genre except for a few tracks, Backbreaker and Anthem of the Defeated, a more deathcore sound. The two songs are by far some of the heaviest songs in the band’s career. Full of fast riffs, speedy drumming, and heavy bass to make for some skull crushing breakdowns.
Almost any song you decide to listen to, just about everything is single worthy. That makes sense since the band has released so many of the tracks as singles with more music videos to accompany those songs coming soon. The only weaker song of the ten tracks is Debts of the Soul. A song that starts off somber, but goes into a heavy direction that didn’t fit well with the rest of the album. A solid track, but felt unfitting with its second half.
The instrumentation for the band has never been the most impressive. Simple riffs and breakdowns, but the band have matured in this aspect. Jared Easterling (drummer), Bobby Lynge (guitar), and Ryan O’Leary (bass) have been able to make the music sound more distinguishable from other bands in the scene. The band’s earlier material sounded generic in some parts, but now stand out more than ever. Now we still get more of the typical metalcore or deathcore sound, but with one guitar player and quality mixing, the instruments have a cleaner sound.
Ryan Kirby gives some of the best vocal performances in his career. Kirby with developing his cleans and continuing to bring brutal screams helps bring balance to the band’s sound. His most impressive moment is an over twenty-second scream at the end of Backbreaker, it is a must listen.
The band manages to tackle the darkest parts of humanity in their lyrics along with vocals to bring these words to life. Kirby discusses how divided the world is politically in The Price of Agony with powerful lines, “Taught to hate anyone that dare stand in our way / Taught to fight the system that keeps this evil alive and feeds their greed.” One of the heaviest tracks, Backbreaker goes into Kirby’s challenges with social anxiety by screams of this pain, “When your mind is stuck in a cloudy haze / Pressure pushes its way inside / No room to move, nowhere to hide.” The emotional Oblivion is about a fan who confessed a story to the band about his wrongs to his loved ones and wanting forgiveness. The lyrics, “For so long, I can barely breathe / The grip of the guilt and the scars of my sins live on / They’re choking me,” echo this fan’s emotions.
With nine out of ten single-worthy songs that I would never dare skip, that is a solid listing of songs that can stand on their own. While being “single-worthy” is not the most important thing, it shows how far Fit for a King has come, and I can understand why they decided to make most of the album singles. While improvements could be made instrumentally regarding technicality, a heavy breakdown at the right moment can never be a bad thing. Kirby delves into some of his best lyrics to deliver emotion provoking songs that will pull your heart strings. Metalheads needing something with the right balance of brutal sounding screams and sing-along choruses should have no reason to pass this one up. Although the album had room for more variety, the record is full of high-quality material to headbang at any time.
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Image via Solid State Records/Fit for a King