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Trauma and tragedy transfer from one generation to the next. As difficult as it may be, we still possess the power to break the cycle and start anew. Fit For A King ponder the pain of these cycles and the possibility to end them on their seventh full-length offering, The Hell We Create [Solid State]. The Texas quintet—Ryan Kirby [vocals], Bobby Lynge [guitar], Daniel Gailey [guitar], Ryan “Tuck” O’Leary [bass], and Trey Celaya [drums]—explore this ebb and flow with a deft, yet delicate balance of sharp metallic intensity and soaring melodic energy.
Drawing on real-life experiences, the band members collectively rallied around Ryan and his family as they endured seemingly unending turbulence…
“The album is a reflection of the events that happened throughout the pandemic,” recalls Ryan. “In short, my wife and I adopted children and had to homeschool them. She almost died from a stroke. The Hell We Create is by far the deepest and most personal record we’ve ever written.”
In 2011, Fit For A King emerged out of Texas with a searing signature style rooted in metal and hardcore and uplifted by hypnotic hooks. Following the breakout LP Creation/Destruction , they earned four consecutive Top 5 debuts on both the Billboard Top Christian Albums Chart and the Top Hard Rock Albums Chart with Slave to Nothing , Deathgrip , Dark Skies , and The Path . The latter marked their first #1 on the Top Christian Albums Chart and Top 10 on the Billboard Top Album Sales Chart. Plus, the band collaborated with fellow heavy-hitters such as August Burns Red and We Came As Romans. They’ve generated nearly 312 million streams on a catalog highlighted by “The Price of Agony,” “When Everything Means Nothing,” “Breaking The Mirror,” and “Locked (In My Head),” to name a few. Of The Path, KERRANG! raved, “This is overall a sharper, bolder, more offering from a band who might just succeed in using it as a launch pad to bigger things,” and Rock Sound hailed it as “brilliant.”
Just before the pandemic shutdown, Ryan and his wife adopted her niece and nephew. Not long after, she suffered her stroke, and the frontman stared down darkness.
“The record talks about the hell these children went through because of their abusive family,” he notes. “They went to multiple shelters and seventeen different foster homes before we were able to start fostering and later adopt them. Since they’re family, we know their story deeply. Their hell is completely created by others—like their parents and the system. After my wife’s stroke, I was ultra-paranoid. I wasn’t eating. There were these mental health phases of creating hell for myself. I’ve learned Hell is passed down.”
In order to capture that sentiment, they reteamed with longtime producer WZRD BLD [Lil Wayne, Motionless In White, Highly Suspect], recording The Hell We Create over the course of six weeks in Los Angeles. Setting the stage for the next era, the band teased the record with “Reaper.”
Now, the single “End” kicks down the door with a barrage of rapid-fire riffing offset by squealing leads, pinch harmonics, and double bass. It crashes right into the instantly unshakable refrain, “Will you stay with me? I can’t do this without you.”
“It’s about my wife,” he says. “She had a 95% blockage in the jugular vein inside of her head caused by birth control. If one day passed, she would’ve died. It was the first time I was close to an unexpected death. I wasn’t mentally or physically ready to do this, because I had never dealt with it.”
Then, there’s “Falling Through The Sky.” It hinges on a hard-hitting harmonic groove as clean vocals echo. The momentum builds towards the observation, “They say Heaven’s above, and Hell is below, so why do they feel so close?”
“It was about me coping with the idea of losing her,” he goes on. “I grew up in church. I’m still a Christian. Everything made me realize how ill-equipped I was to deal with true tragedy even with all of the scripture I’d read. Once I looked the beast in the eye, it fell apart. I needed to use those tools to deal with these demons instead of ignoring them.”
Ryan and Jonathan Vigil of The Ghost Inside trade vocals on the chaotically catchy “Times Like This” underlined by a gang chant.
“Getting a guest spot from Jonathan was surreal because I’ve listened to him since high school,” adds Ryan. “When you’re divided, you don’t fight together—you just fight each other. We are whatever the media or politicians tell us, and we’re okay hating half the country. In reality, we have way more in common than not, but it’s been orchestrated for us to stay at each other’s throats.”
The album culminates with might be the band’s deepest cut “What You Left Behind.” He reveals. “The quiet singing is my point of view. The chorus is the kids speaking to their dad who they were taken away from. The last breakdown is me speaking to their dad, ‘This is the damage you did to them. This is what you left behind when you left them’.”
In the end, Fit For A King delivers an important message on the record.
“I want to raise self-awareness,” he leaves off. “It’s not just important to fight for ourselves, but we’re fighting for others. You can reach out for help even if you’re scared. I know I was. I hope we can all reflect on not only what we put ourselves through, but what we put others through."
There’s an anxiety in life that comes from knowing there isn’t anything to do but try to prepare for the inevitability of change. And sometimes the only thing that can make a drastic shift or an ending more difficult is to see it coming. On their seventh full-length, A Eulogy For Those Still Here, Counterparts set out to capture that surreal space in-between, and in the process pushed their sound to its greatest extremes to make their most definitive statement as a band.
“I think I deal with things by preparing myself for the end,” explains vocalist Brendan Murphy. “With so much of this record I’m mourning the loss of someone that’s still alive or saying goodbye to something that hasn’t left yet.” Murphy’s preoccupation with endings reaches wide, from relationships dissolving, to friendships fading, to loved ones passing away–and even to his band. Since forming in 2007, Counterparts–made up of Murphy, guitarists Alex Re and Jesse Doreen, bassist Tyler Williams, and drummer Kyle Brownlee–have gone from the Hamilton, Ontario, underground to touring the world as hardcore heavyweights. But with 15 years already under their belts, Murphy couldn’t help but consider a day where his well might run dry. “I started to think about what it would be like to write a record as if it would be our last, to try and make something that I knew I would be satisfied with if it was,” the always candid singer explains.With these self-imposed high stakes, the band convened at Graphic Nature Audio with their longtime producer/engineer, Will Putney (Knocked Loose, Every Time I Die, Vein.fm) to make what would become A Eulogy For Those Still Here. In addition to Putney’s reliable hand at the helm, the album also sees the return of Doreen and Re. The result feels like Counterparts have honed every element of their sound into its sharpest point, resulting in 11 of their most viscerally compelling songs to date
LANDMVRKS’ was born in 2014 in Marseille, France. The band now consists of FlorentSalfati on vocals, Rudy Purkart on bass guitar, Nicolas Exposito and Paul C. Wilson on guitars and Kévin D’Agostino on drums.
For two years, the band composed songs, recorded and started playing local shows by sharing the bill with bands such as FIRST BLOOD, MORE THAN LIFE and little by little, LANDMVRKS started making a name for themselves in the French metalcore scene. During this time, the band released a few singles and videos to help build up their fan base.
In May 2016, LANDMVRKS released their first album »Hollow« entirely produced by Florent Salfati and Nicolas Exposito.
They decided to release this album independently, and went out touring on the roads of Europe to showcase this opus.
They seduced their audiences with a modern metalcore style peppered with hardcore riffs and catchy choruses. This album helped secure them slots on big festivals, helping to strengthen their reputation.
In 2018, the band signed a contract with Arising Empire Records for their second studio album »Fantasy« and they demonstrate how successfully the band has managed to build their name and assert its own style.
During two years, they travelled the world, played in Japan, did some headlines tours and had the opportunity to have great European tours (While She Sleeps, Stray From ThePath, Any Given Day).While they were on the road, they had the time to focus on a brand new material. ‘Rainfall’ is the first single, it shows clearly the new direction from the french band, and how powerful will be the new LANDMVRKS. Mature, melodic, deeper and powerful.