Review Summary: Shattering Glass into Oblivion
When a metalcore band’s fifth album rolls around, one can only assume that all creativity has fizzled and the heaviness has lost its grit. However, that is not the case here. Fit For a King’s Dark Skies
shows the band at their most creative, their heaviest, and their most melodic moments of their entire career. Taking the unique attributes of their previous releases, Fit For a King’s fifth effort improves upon their already great sound, creating an album of both innovation of their style and nostalgia of their past. In every way, this album is an absolute step forward for the band, utilizing each aspect of their music to the max. Mixing earth-shaking heaviness with soaring melodies, Dark Skies
is full of juxtaposition of almost hopeful happiness against brutal darkness.
Continuing with the brutality of Deathgrip
, Bobby Lynge creates intense chugging grooves mixed with Slave to Nothing
-esque riffing (i.e. Hooked) supported by Tuck’s bass lines following suit. As always, the breakdowns are beyond heavy, including some of their fiercest to date scattered throughout “Tower of Pain” and “Shattered Glass.” What truly tops off the heaviness of the album (musically speaking) is Jared Easterling’s impressive drum performance. Although the drumming can fall into the predictable metalcore methods, the sheer speed and intensity, with hints of snare bombs and blast beats, of said drumming only enhances the already furious attacks of heaviness throughout the album. Tying together each and every instrument is the vocal tag team of Ryan and Tuck. Following their previous record, both Ryan and Tuck share responsibility of vocals, with Ryan being the obvious superiority in harsh vocals. With obvious improvements of high screams and polishing on the low growls, Dark Skies
shows some of the band’s best vocals. Yet, despite the prevalent heaviness of the metalcore band, it’s not the only blatant stand out on the record.
In spite of the fact that this is probably the band’s heaviest album to date, it also happens to be their most melodic yet. In songs like “Price of Agony” and “Oblivion,” the choruses are filled with harmonies of melodic guitar rhythms and simple, driving drum beats hinted with electronic tinge to give an almost atmospheric feel. Accompanying the melodic sound is a surprising improvement of clean vocals. From what it sounds like, Ryan takes over the chorus cleans amazingly well, along with Tuck as support, showing once again how this album shows the band’s absolute dominance in its vocal performance this time around. With soaring vocals gliding through the melodies of the guitar, Dark Skies
definitely has its fair share of melodic moments.
Heavy? Check. Melodic? Check. But what about creativity? Although some of the creativity isn’t obvious, the subtleties of the band’s creativity are found throughout the album. Most of the songs contain a guitar melody of either a solo or note picking that enhances the performance with the creative mesh of the heavy, chugging guitar mixed with the eerie, ever-present strings in the background. Along with this, some of the band’s best solos make an appearance including a borderline shred in “Anthem of the Dead.” Following the creativity of Bobby, Jared’s grooves on drums are actually quite creative at times. Despite being a metalcore drummer, Jared takes influence from other genres such as thrash, punk-esque, and even just straight-up metal, creating beats of speed and diversity, which is often lacking in the genre.
Combining all of these elements of heaviness, creativity, and melody, the result is Dark Skies
, an album of sheer improvement for the band in their already stunning career. Much like I felt with Deathgrip
, I’m not sure how Fit For a King can top this album. There is definitely room for improvement (as suggested by my rating), but for now, we get to appreciate an album worthy of head-banging and singing along to at the top of your lungs at the same time.