The Path

An Album By

Fit for a King

Review by

Fit for a King 2020

Listen now

Even in the thick of global music reform, hard-hitting breakdown giants Fit For a King has managed to stretch their roots even deeper into the ground and refine their corner of heavy music with the band’s latest record, The Path. The sixth full-length from FFAK showcases all of what makes this Texas band one of the most consistent forces in the ever-popular metalcore scene. That consistency is etched into their production and musicianship from album to album, creating a double-edged sword of predictability and excellence that yields a conflated review to their latest release.

As to be expected, every track is laden with meticulous detail, from the songwriting to the instrumentation to the studio quality to the production. And behind a wealth of Ryan Kirby’s also ever-popular lyricism, listeners don’t have to work hard to know what FFAK is still about, painting the truth with undeniable quality and all the fervor they’re known for.

The question remains: Has Fit for a King made strides in the arena they’re targeting? For me, it depends on where you’re looking…

Looking at the monstrous growth in Ryan Kirby’s vocals (with Ryan “Tuck” O’Leary’s assist), there’s not much to challenge. Kirby’s ripping vocals are as solid as ever, steering the ship at every turn from the album’s intro, “The Taste of Hate,” to its closer, “Vendetta.” The stacks-on-stacks of harsh vocals in “Annihilation” and “God of Fire” undoubtedly give the album an extra dose of weight – not to mention the gritty melodies and arching harmonies that really make a handful of these songs stick. Largely due to their focus on harmonies and range, the more rock-driven tracks “Locked in My Head” and “Louder Voice” are anchors that demonstrate how much this band can really scale their sound.

The instrumentals and production of the album also boast a ton of skill, but there are some imaginative safeguards that inevitably come with honing a sound as much as FFAK has over the last decade. The title track has a basic pop song structure and a few others that even have a classic metal feel that moves back in time rather than progressing to a new sonic landscape.

True to who they are, though, this album is the next breath in the life of FFAK’s story. While the focus and themes may change with each album cycle, the band is rock solid in their identity. The core of what the band is about has always been clear, and the core of this release still reaches that audience they’ve had since their inception – which they do successfully with harmonic guitar solos, crushing drum fills, and breakdowns that beg for a pit.

As a whole, The Path is polished, refined, and heavy in all the ways that count, and their growth suggests that they’re paying attention. They’re listening to the world and to their fans and they’re striving to understand what piece of reality we need to explore next. With the chorus of the title track, “We’ll find the path out of hell,” the band pays tribute to the harsh reality of choosing to live as a victor, not a victim, choosing to move forward with the biting wind in your face and finding the path out of pain, which is what it truly takes to live.

Fit for a King will always have a place in metalcore. A well-deserved place. Have they done what it takes to reach beyond their bread and butter with their latest record? Maybe that’s the wrong question. Maybe we should be asking if they’ve done what it takes to live up to the name they’ve built for themselves. To that, my answer is: Absolutely.

Band photo by Aaron Marsh

Features

Heaven's Metal: An Oral History of the Genesis of Christian Metal

Heaven's Metal

When rock emerged from blues and 'heavy metal' began to surface, faith-based metal acts also rose to start their own journeys. Initially shunned by both believers and non-believers, they were fighting for their spot at the table, ultimately building a legacy that would go on to change the genre forever. HM presents an oral history of the beginning of Christian metal music, featuring Guardian, Tourniquet, Holy Soldier, Whitecross, and, of course, Stryper.

By

Full Feature
Atreyu- 2021

Atreyu's Baptism

At their core, Atreyu is a hard rock band with metal riffs and pop choruses. Now, after more than 20 years, the band has stepped boldly into their next chapter with a change in lineup and an album that proves the lifeblood of Atreyu is stronger than ever.

By

Photo by Ashley Osborn

Full Feature
Imperial Triumphant - 2021

Alphaville’s Metal Renaissance

With influences that span Miles Davis and Stravinsky to Geddy Lee and Les Claypool, jazz metal force Imperial Triumphant is the epitome of genre-bending. HM contributing writer Andrew Voigt spoke with the band about their unique style, the massive bass presence in their music, and the rise and fall of civilization.

By

Photo by Alex Krauss

Full Feature
All Features