Ah, deja vu. I’ve been here before. Relatively smaller band in the scene, dropping their first “breakthrough release” – and it’s metalcore. Anyone who knows my reviews knows I’m a big advocate of “above average creativity.” In other words, breakdowns don’t impress me now. Fit For a King is a breakdown enthusiast’s bread and butter, and if that’s all you’re into that’s fine, because in that case you will love this record. The Tyler, TX group has made big waves recently in the scene, notably with the news that this new record Creation/Destruction sold more copies than any other band’s debut ever on Solid State Records. Considering the alumni of the label, that’s quite an impressive feat. That doesn’t really say much to me though, other than popularity.
Rather than harp on the obvious, and what people might expect me to say, I’ll go ahead and do the opposite for the length of the review. Yes, I do recognize that this record is generic as hell, but rather than beat that horse I’ll focus on the positives to be more fair. For starters, the guys in the FFAK camp know how to write a catchy song. Nearly all of the songs with the expected “singing chorus” tend to succeed in that department, mainly because of clean vocalist/bassist Aaron Kadura. The melodies are balanced well, and hit the mark with just the right aura the majority of the time (“Warpath,” “Broken Fame,” “The Resistance”). The production, albeit clunky at times, is solid for the most part and does what it needs to do: bass drops a’plenty, crunchy down-tuned guitars and glitchy vocal chops fill the record.
Now getting to the meat (and pretty much all) of the record – the breakdowns. Every song except for one (“Skin and Bones”) follows in that format, and the guitar/bass/drum work fails to be impressive even in the slightest. Basically you have three parts: the first is a verse filled with rhythm chugging and reverb-saturated high notes played by the lead guitar for the “dark” effect, then a more upbeat chorus to even the song out slightly, then of course the breakdown; and the other breakdown, and then the final breakdown in half time. I told myself I wouldn’t do any ranting but I had to throw that much in. There’s no use in complaining more than that about something that you can’t change. As mentioned earlier, if that’s what you came here for, you will love this record. It satisfies all of my cravings for metalcore when needed. Some standout tracks are definitely “Hollow King (Sound of the End),” “Identity” and “Destruction.”
FFAK is a niche band, meaning that they play music they enjoy (which is the goal of course), and there are people (including me) who enjoy it, which is also great. The only problem with this is the cap on success; once you’ve peaked in your market there is nowhere else for your band to go besides changing your sound completely, which is usually a problem. If it works for them, then let it be. As far as this record goes, for what it is, it’s an ass-kicking heavy record with super catchy choruses and colossal breakdowns. When you’re in the mood for it, simple is good.