Fit For A King – Dark Skies


Album

Dark Skies

Label

Solid State Records

Year

2018

For Fans Of

Wage War, Gideon, Miss May I.

Summary

Monstrous, moving metalcore.

Rating

85 / 100

Y’know, I really quite enjoyed the previous Fit For A King record, ‘Deathgrip‘. So much so that I was super curious to hear what this Texas Christian metalcore outfit had created this time around with their recently released LP, ‘Dark Skies‘. After hearing and embracing each new single that arrived from this new chapter, I became even more excited to experience the rest of it and find the full context of these new songs and the American band’s hard-hitting yet positive musical messages. All up, I was fulfilled and then some!

Album opener ‘Engraved‘ begins life out with some softer, ambient guitars in a solid little intro that slowly, but surely, builds up to be something massive. The song’s chorus is also quite interesting, with strong rhythmic changes and a very passionate vocal performance from bassist/clean vocalist Ryan “Tuck” O’Leary. The instrumentals take a bit of a step back during the song’s second verse, allowing Ryan’s harsher vocals to shine through even more than they already do. His back-and-forth with screamer Ryan Kirby across this entire album is as well-written and as harmonious as ever in terms of their delivery and chemistry.

The incendiary ‘The Price Of Agony‘ gets very aggressive very quickly. Not only do the heavier vocals kick in right away and go right for the throat, but the rest of the metalcore instrumentation maintains that energetic pace as well. It’s a ball-breaking ride but a fun one at that! ‘Backbreaker‘ is also similar in that regard, with guitar riffs and drum patterns that hit hard right from the start and a huge emphasis on the screaming too. Something else that became really notable to me here was how well the higher and lower screams are layered and double-tracked at various points, adding even more emphasis to Ryan’s already solid, pitched scream style.

Elsewhere, while the name sounds a little cheesy, ‘Anthem Of The Defeated‘ leans more towards the hardcore side of ‘post-hardcore’. It’s very chaotic (especially from an instrumental standpoint), and it’s easily one of the heaviest and darkest songs on the entire record, not to mention the shortest. However, this cut also felt somewhat repetitive – monotonous even – and I sadly just couldn’t get into it when compared to others like ‘Engraved‘ and ‘The Price Of Agony‘.

Fit For A King, 2018.

Now we get to my personal favourite song – ‘When Everything Means Nothing‘. It’s much more melodic in comparison to the majority of this record’s sound, but that’s no bad thing – the band have taken real care here. The pre-chorus is such a great example of that; delivering some of the best melodies of the album, and building up to a huge chorus. Via the lyrics, the band also tackles mental health topics, one prime example being found in that incredible pre-chorus: “I try to smile, try to fight, just say I’m okay, but every day feels like a hurricane.” This is an easy standout for the record, where the album is both sorrwful but hopeful too.

Youth | Division‘ is up next and though it sounds like a typical post-hardcore song structure-wise, it’s still a solid track regardless and injects one of the best choruses the band’s ever done into this album’s already flowing veins. The two tracks that follow are more reminiscent of the record’s first half while also displaying higher aggression levels than where the record had just recently trekked. ‘Shattered Glass‘ is another lyrical standout for me, with these helpless, yearning lines such as “you’re searching for light, but all you know is burning”. That often in our processes of soul-seeking and purpose-finding, we can just burn out. A grim thought of defeat, really.

On lighter topics, ‘Tower Of Pain‘ takes the cake for this record’s heaviest single, as well as another hardcore, mosh-leaning song that’s the most brutal moment of the record’s lifespan. Contrasting all of this, though, is ‘Debts Of The Soul‘ (a discussion of sin, it seems) that starts out more melodious, but grows heavier before becoming emotionally palpable when that breakdown drops. Trust me, you’ll know it when it happens.

The album finally closes out on such a powerful note with ‘Oblivion‘. This last piece of the puzzle really intrigued me from the moment I first heard it, and I’ve been hooked on it ever since. Oblivion‘ is not only a seismic closer but just a monumental song in general; shown through a few different aspects. For one, the lyrics speak from the perspective of someone who seems to be reaching out to God, admitting their mistakes and then asking for forgiveness. The vocal executions here really get these pleading emotions across and tell this story coherently throughout the entire song; right from those aggressive, violent verses down to the more melodic, soaring choruses. Yet it all works so well in tandem to achieve the scope of the track.

Conclusion

As you can tell, I absolutely loved this new Fit For A King record. It brought quite a bit of variety more than the band’s other works, which makes it stand out even more. Especially in the current metalcore scene, I feel. The band brought so many solid, memorable moments throughout all ten of these tracks; providing some incredible performances and a near-perfect mix of aggressive and melodic elements too. Metalcore fan, a Fit For A King fan, or just a lover of heavy music, you gotta check this one out!

Tracklisting

1. Engraved

2. The Price Of Agony

3. Backbreaker

4. Anthem Of The Defeated

5. When Everything Means Nothing

6. Youth | Division

7. Shattered Glass

8. Tower Of Pain

9. Debts Of The Soul

10. Oblivion

‘Dark Skies’ is out now!

3 Responses to “Fit For A King – Dark Skies”

    • Alex Sievers Alex Sievers

      It’s almost like different writers have different styles & approaches in their reviews & how they discuss music. What a concept.

    • golden_youth

      @SheridanOne – 100% agree, a great review, better than the usual on here.

      After a decent listen, I’m really digging this album. Shattered Glass and Backbreaker are the standouts.

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