Dallas metallers Fit For A King have been impressively prolific throughout their career. Ever since their debut album ‘Descendants’ dropped back in 2011, they’ve virtually been working without a break. ‘Dark Skies’ marks the band’s fifth album in seven years.
Fit For A King contain a lot of aspects of what one would expect from contemporary metalcore, but it’s nice to hear a band of this ilk bring a key component of why people listen to metal in the first place – it’s actually heavy.
‘Backbreaker’ is a rager that begins with the most menacing, in-your-face soundscape imaginable, and, just when you suspect that a nice chorus is going to come in, it actually carries on with its unrelenting heaviness. You want to scream “BACKBREAKER!” along with the band, and, if this has been timed correctly, there’s a scream lasting 24 seconds to end the track. Fair play. ‘Shattered Glass’ also has two powerful breakdowns.
They’re quite good at the choruses too, namely in ‘The Price Of Agony’. Ryan Kirby‘s powerful screams and the band’s ear for melody both keep us strapped in.
‘When Everything Means Nothing’ makes further use of the band’s melodic side, but not without their guttural screams and crushing riffs, of course. The use of samples and electronics in this song actually pays off well, and it’s nice to hear this technique done well. Here we were thinking it had all… gone a bit stale. Some bands should take note from this; it is possible to incorporate elements of other styles of music without having an identity crisis.
With closer ‘Oblivion’, you feel like the band are throwing everything that they can at this song, with lots of depth shown. You really feel that with the blast-beat assisted section near the end of the song. It’s almost like the entire album is a build-up to that moment alone.
Now for some… constructive criticism. The start of ‘Youth | Division’ features a zeitgeist-y chipmunk vocal. A scream may partially mask it, but it’s still audible. Let’s not beat around the bush, this sound should be casted out of music altogether.
‘Tower Of Pain’ is a little too much in the confines of modern metalcore to truly stand out, despite showing plenty of technicality. ‘Anthem Of The Undefeated’ contains many archetypal macho-metal tropes. Yet, overall, the positives heavily outweigh the very minor negatives.
You pretty much know what you’ll get with Fit For A King, but ‘Dark Skies’ is certainly the sign of a band that haven’t forgotten that the word ‘metalcore’ contains ‘metal’.