Fit For A King – Dark Skies
Words: Egypt Ali
As a writer it is incredibly difficult to encapsulate extreme emotions. I can describe the feeling of loss, but it is near impossible to inflict those emotions or the resolution thereof on the listeners of that piece of work. Unless, of course, you’re Fit for a King.
Their new album Dark Skies album has lived up to every expectation and every emotion that the band tirelessly stitched in. The project itself is a journey that takes listeners from the depths of adversity and despair to the victory and hope that the band has found.
The opening track entitled “Engraved” provides an eerie start to the project. The atmospheric opening and eclectic vibe lure fans into a sense of expectation. As a listener I found myself just waiting for that drop to kick in. Once it did, the intensity never let up. Ryan Kirby’s opening scream of “Make me a memory” will set the tone for the overall take away from the record. The desire to be made something worth remembering becomes tangible in each of these songs. Seamlessly combining heavy guitar riffs and the iconic groove that Fit For a King is known for, Dark Skies pushed the band’s writing development to an entirely new level.
My favorite track on the record would have to be the second. “The Price of Agony” did a fantastic job on building on the suspense that “Engraved” created just one song before. The long intro allowed fans to get used to the pace, while preparing for the face-melting screams and blast beats that follow. The song’s message, however, would prove to be much deeper than the percussive punches that the track featured. The vaguely political message of the song seems to quite literally scream that “No one’s voice will speak for me,” making mention of the division that politics have caused between those who once called themselves friends. While not enflaming any particular side of any debate, or choosing a side, this song serves as a reminder that while rumors may fly and division may exist, destroying the madness is how we as humanity can come back as one. In a scene that thrives on unity, I think that this message deserves just as loud a delivery as Fit for a King gave it. Truly a gem of a track, and this was only the beginning.
It can also be said that this album has a song for just about everyone, including for the days when you just want to rage around and break something. “Backbreaker” is infectious in its tempo and emotion. It is impossible to hear this song and not, at the very least, rock with the beat. The fact that this song makes it impossible not to move is a feat in and of itself. The emotions of restlessness and resolution are also an odd combination to feel especially coming from a song. The only way that I can describe it would be similar to the feeling that one might have while listening to “Mr. Highway is Thinking about the End.” It is anticipation; it’s yearning; it’s that release when the breakdown finally does come. This song can be classified as the album’s release for all intents and purposes. And it is oh so satisfying.
Other highlights of this album include the passionately charged chorus of “When Everything Means Nothing.” I said before that this album forces listeners to feel something. I think that a common misconception with hard music is that this feeling is typically anger. This record proves how far that statement is from the truth. This song in particular has a range of passion and sorrow that culminates in the undying desire to get up and try again. “Tower of Pain” would also have to be a highlight for me because of its use of sound-scaping in the intro. It complemented the feel and texture of the overall track so well that the effect itself might have been included on the list of instruments used in its creation. Finally, “Depths of the Soul” provided a nice break for listeners who just experienced the emotional rollercoaster that is this record. The song itself almost felt introspective with its use of clean guitars and quiet vocals. It allowed me to process everything that I had just heard in order to prepare for the finale that was “Oblivion.”
Overall, I cannot complain about Fit For a King’s Dark Skies record. It provided everything that I expected one of their albums to have, but it also proved to me that the band itself is evolving and advancing in their writing. The way that the whole record wrapped around to finish the way that it started and how everything tied in together showed maturity in planning and in the intentionality of the writing process. As always the musicianship was on point, but more importantly I felt something. It was as though that album was the process of healing that some of the subject matter was dealing with. It is a promise, a plea, and an anthem.
Well done, guys.