What It Sounds Like: Remember Underoath’s They’re Only Chasing Safety, and how catchy it was for a “hardcore” record? Fit For A King is much harder without a doubt, but just as catchy and memorable. Growls and clean vocals are mixed with pummeling instrumentation that makes this one of the best releases from Solid State Records in recent years.
I’ll pay my price
Just please don’t let me miss
My peace of mind
I’ll even die for this
God ease my soul
And don’t let me forget
That there is nothing forcing me to a bitter end.
It’s beyond refreshing to listen to the fantastic new record by Fit For A King. I’m tired of the same old metalcore acts. The same breakdowns. The same formulas. The same song structures slightly recycled and rehashed into another track to try to get to the thirty-minute finish line. What many bands don’t seem to understand is that for ninety-five percent of the population, no matter how hard of music that you play, people want a certain sense of melody and sensibility. In others words: pop music. I certainly fall into this category. I like some extreme metal to make my head hurt from time to time, but on average, you need some melody, and not a constant guns-blazing assault of dropped D tuning and double bass monsters…the whole time. Like most things in life, you need some balance. You need to give and take. You need a wonderful word that will greatly improve your life at work, your relationship with your wife, your friends, your family, and yes, your hardcore band if you so happen to be in one. That word? Compromise.
Some people (and bands!) run from that word like wildfire. “Compromise? No way! I’m my own person – I want to be ME!”
Have fun on your lonely island with the other non-movers. Fit For A King understand the balance that is needed to make a hardcore record work. They understand how to appeal to as wide of an audience as possible without losing the title of what they are at heart: a hardcore band.
The quick intro track Creation leads us right into the blazing Warpath, a lesson in heaviness with some eerie synths in the background to kick things off right, letting us know this band means business. Nothing sounds phoned in – you can hear the passion in Ryan Kirby’s growls and the sincerity in the memorable, clean-vocal chorus. Oh this record is highly produced, make no mistake about it. For all its heaviness, it’s cleaned up like a wedding band the second before its placed on a spouses’ finger for the first time. Every kick, every guitar tone, every crash of a cymbal is moved perfectly into place. There’s not the slightest hint of garage production – this is top notch – as I’m sure they wanted it to be.
Most of these tracks follow in the similar vein of heavy, snarled verses and split-time screaming bridges, only to nestle in between a chorus that has every making of a melodic pop song, only with crushing guitars in the background. A huge complaint, and easily the most difficult thing about making a hardcore record, is that with such a defined style, songs can run together way too easily. While it’s not possible (for me anyway) to explain through simple words, we run into that much less here than one would come to expect. While the verses certainly could melt together much easier than the various choruses, Fit For A King delivers differentiation much better than many of their peers, plain and simple.
Halfway through the record, we do get a shining star by the name of Skin & Bones, which turns into an almost worship session. I have zero complaints – it’s a wonderful addition.
The lyrics are, in my mind, undeniably Christian. They’re not mind-blowing by any stretch (this ain’t no As Cities Burn), but again, better than the standard fare for sure when dealing with the stereotypical topics of fighting against the temptations of a world that isn’t meant to be your final resting place.
Solid State should get a gold star on their homework for this one. If you’re into heavy music, this isn’t to be missed.
If you had to listen to two tracks: Broken Fame / The Resistance