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FIT FOR A KING ‘The Hell We Create’

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Solid State

Words by Erin Eddy

The Hell We Create is the seventh studio album by Texan band Fit For A King, and it is ten tonnes of unyielding, meaty metalcore delivered with intensity.

If there’s one thing I can really jive with, it’s music as a tool of catharsis when faced with the hardships of life, and this record is an absolute emotional journey. Vocalist Ryan Kirby has explained “it’s a reflection of the events that happened throughout the pandemic,” and states that “The Hell We Create is by far the deepest and most personal record we’ve ever written.”

Amid the pandemic, Kirby and his wife adopted two children that had been through no less than seventeen foster homes. This will have been a learning curve, and I’m going to presume the couple were thrown into the deep end of the parenting game, before also being faced with the challenge of home-schooling due to lockdowns. Then Kirby’s wife suffered a stroke that nearly claimed her life. You bet your ass, this album has some heavy and incredibly personal lyrical content.

The first track, also titled The Hell We Create, is quite possibly the best opener on an album I’ve heard all year. The atmospheric rhythm that begins the track is akin to a war drum, and subtle background “woah oh” chanting sets the tone, when some solid riffage enters the scene accompanied by a sprinkling of double kick, before a minute pregnant pause and then Kirby’s voice erupts with a vicious “this is the hell we create!” Chef’s kiss – Metalcore perfection!

The propulsive double kicks of this song are sending a clear message that Fit For A King are not interested in easing us into this, and from beginning to end, there is no mucking around on this record. The Hell We Create is a perfect blend of aggression with just the right amount of melodic vocal to encourage the listener to sing along.

Following on from an absolute banger of an introductory song, the second track is End (The Other Side), which details Kirby’s account of his wife’s near-death experience. This really hit me in the feels. The lyrics “will you stay with me, I can’t do this without you, I don’t think I’ll survive the other side” are hard to listen to without an outpouring of empathy for the darkness and despair Kirby must have been consumed by when being faced with potentially losing his person.

Kirby says “the experience not only showed me how unprepared I was to lose her, but also how unprepared I am to face death. I am fortunate to have not dealt with much death in my life, but I learned, in the end, that death comes for us all.”

I warned you. This entire record is a turbulent journey of emotions.

Falling Through The Sky further delves into the harrowing experience that Kirby endured when nearly losing his partner, this time tackling the prospect of what it could have meant to have had to continue on through life without her. “They say Heaven’s above and Hell is below, so why do they feel so close.”

Times Like This features guest vocals by Jonathan Vigil of The Ghost Inside. It feels like there’s a political message behind this song, I get the impression it’s a commentary on the upheaval that arose amongst people during the pandemic and the divisiveness of the subsequent mandates. You can feel the agitation in the words, the dissatisfaction with those in power that are supposed to be looking after our best interests, but almost certainly aren’t.

Reaper is a chilling narrative into the darkest reaches of Kirby’s mind, with the vocalist aggressively spitting his despair, anguish and desperation frantically as he growls “every day I’m on death row,
repeating over and over again, was I born just to die slow?”
This song is like a black cloud of morose
despondency with a heaviness to it that’s as much of the emotional kind as it is the musical kind.

And while we’re talking heavy, probably the heaviest track on the record is Eyes Roll Back. This one is simply relentless and includes an element of electronica which gives the track a little more of a contemporary vibe, too.

There’s an unmistakable element of anger in the closing song, What You Left Behind, as Kirby calls out the biological father of his adopted children and the abuse they were subjected to at that man’s hands. Each word Kirby growls, he spews forth venom.

Simply put, there is absolutely nothing I dislike about this album. Musically, it offers everything a metalcore fan would want; a frenzied tempo, chuggy riffs, melodic solos, propulsive drums, complex accents and descents, and dynamic vocals and delicious aggression. Lyrically, it is one compelling journey, an exceptional example of harnessing the power of music to overcome turmoil and put the hell hounds of trauma on a firm leash.

The Hell We Create is an extremely powerful album and, in my opinion, one of the best heavy releases to come out of 2022.

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