REVIEW: Fit For A King – ‘Slave To Nothing’

fit for a king

Artist: Fit For A King
Album: Slave To Nothing
Genre: Metalcore
Label: Solid State Records

If any band had the year of their lives in 2013, the honor would most likely go to Texan metalcore outfit, Fit For A King. After laying claim to the most successful debut in Solid State Records history via the sonic yin and yang of Creation/Destruction, the group proceeded to hop on tour after tour while being granted the ability to re-record their independently released full-length of yesteryear, Descendants. Rather than dedicate 2014 to more touring in support of both releases, though, the band instead entered the studio with the intention of recording their second Solid State effort, Slave To Nothing.

Some sort of maturation was expected when Slave To Nothing was announced, but if the band had remained in the realm of catering towards mosh-ready breakdowns with a few added flairs, no complaints would likely be warranted as Fit For A King absolutely dominated the niche in previous works. Rather than take a few steps forward, it appears a few massive leaps have occurred in virtually every aspect.

Where Creation/Destruction felt like a highly concentrated exposé on anger and honesty, Slave To Nothing is an expansive piece of work featuring more nuanced introspection alongside the exploration of varying shades of humanity’s lowest lows through well-developed audible structures. Breakdowns and djent-esque guitar chugging can still be found peppered throughout their newest work for added effect, sure, but the band now relies on genuinely interesting chord progressions to drive their work (ex. “Break Away”). Furthermore, the addition of bass guitarist/clean vocalist Ryan O’Leary allows the band to utilize more melodic material throughout tracks rather than simply choruses, thus resulting in an intriguing dynamic as he trades verses with frontman Ryan Kirby. At times, O’Leary is even given the freedom to lead entire tracks (take the album’s resident quasi-ballad, “Selfish Eyes,” for example) behind the mic alongside major portions on multiple occasions, and these steps outside the band’s expected vocal utilization result in what is easily their most exciting work.

Bringing the conversation back to Kirby, his vocals carried much of the band’s previous work with an absolutely menacing nature through the utilization of a couple identifiable ranges, so his expansion in range is one of the year’s most pleasant surprises. Hearing him enter a range low enough to fit in comfortably with The Acacia Strain during the same track where they would be best fit for a beatdown-hardcore band speaks volumes of not only his evolution as a vocalist, but is representative of the band’s experimentation on Slave To Nothing as a whole. Rather than Kirby being the main focus of Fit For A King’s music, the aforementioned change in instrumentals has allowed him to experiment further as guitar-work and drumming fit not only for a more technical brand of metalcore, but hints of classic and melodic metal techniques, calls for a greater sense of vocal depth.

As a whole, the expansive atmosphere of Slave To Nothing from a production aspect wraps up the record in an ultimately satisfying fashion as it allows the band’s far-reaching sound and dark tones to flourish. Not only in terms of evolution, but as a stand-alone record, Slave To Nothing is Fit For A King’s defining work alongside one of the most crucial metal releases of 2014.

SCORE: 9/10
Review written by Michael Giegerich (Follow him on Twitter)

Mike Giegerich

Mike Giegerich is a freelance journalist with an affinity for the hip-hop scene. His top-five favorite records of all time are Future's last five releases. Feel free to blow up his mentions on Twitter.
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