Fit For A King
Stay Gold, Melbourne VIC
June 14th, 2022
Supports: Pridelands, LUNE and Alera
International touring is back, in a big, big way! For those in Melbourne that either missed the Metalcore Snitches tour (like me) with Alpha Wolf, Fit For A King, Great American Ghost and Paledusk, or for those who simply couldn’t get enough of the tour, an additional opportunity to get in on the action. Fit For A King, one of the biggest metalcore bands on the scene held their first ever Australian headline show at Stay Gold in Melbourne, and it was nothing short of iconic.
On a freezing Tuesday evening, punters lined up around the corner of Sydney Road in Brunswick ahead of a massive lineup of locals before witnessing a mammoth metalcore marvel. Alera got things started, playing to a rapidly growing venue of fans. The six-piece openers sported a crossover of heavy sub-genres, with an influential nod to early Aussie prolific bands like I Killed The Prom Queen. Like their peers in Pridelands playing a little later, Alera rocked two vocalists, enabling an alter-ego effect that complimented their shattering breakdowns. They saved their best track ’til last and definitely emulated pride to open the show.
Next up were hometown heroes LUNE who’ve been crushing it lately, particularly with single ‘Factory Fires/Funeral Pyre)‘ which they nailed live. “For the next twenty-five minutes, your ass is f*cking mine, LFG” front-man Nathaniel Smith told the crowd. With a loud and punchy performance, the Stay Gold headline veterans delivered a lean setlist, with eclectic sounds throughout, with particular ferocity on groovy song ‘GHOST‘, which laid out some big deathcore energy. Like Alera, the boys in LUNE continued to show pride for not only the show, but for the accelerating local scene that’s kept heavy music alive for so many years since international touring was the norm. “Let’s show these Americans what we can do,” Smith told the crowd to rev them up.
The final support act was Pridelands, who have well and truly made a name for themselves on the international stage with their debut album Light Bends, released earlier this year. With exceptional production and another dose of of double vocals for the night, the six-piece delivered a perfectly mixed-tempo set, packed with bass and immense stage production. Along with Perth’s Make Way For Man, the evening’s show openers with two vocalists seem to be setting a new standard of how to take metalcore to the next level. While the crowd was swept up by long hair across the stage, the band (like LUNE) were swept up by the patriotism of showing the headliners how it’s done around here, cementing an interesting reminder of how foreign international touring is feeling all round.
Finally it came time to witness Fit For A King in the perfectly intimate Stay Gold venue. On a personal level, this was not only my first international band to see live since 2019 due to COVID, but my first time seeing the Texan outfit live, period. It’s been a decent eight years or so since their visit with Buried in Verona. It became clear early in the night that this is a pretty special tour – not only for the fans, but for the band too, who’ve embarked on their first post-COVID journey out of the U.S.
On the back of their incredible Dark Skies and The Path LPs, Fit For A King were beyond prepared for this evening’s setlist. With the crowd literally warmed up by the preceding local performances, the headliners catapulted on stage ready to rock the room. Opening with ‘Shattered Glass‘ and ‘Vendetta‘ the room burst at the seams. With their global calibre, FFAK were equipped with stage production powerful like a drug that enlarged punters’ pupils. The crisp riffs and pounding bass alone were enough to ignite the entire room and create infectious electricity that lit everyone up.
Ryan Kirby is one of the most underrated vocalists in the scene. We all know well and good (and have witnessed) some of the best vocalists who don’t quite cut the mustard during live performances, but this could not be more untrue for Kirby. Between humbly speaking to the crowd and thanking them in a soft-friendly voice, he delivered each and every track with so much ferocity and guttural perfection that you realise these guys are serious about their craft.
‘Breaking the Mirror‘ and ‘Backbreaker‘ were so visceral in delivery and had every single punter watching with the best view of the band, due to the wonders of the venue. There’s something about most of Fit For A King‘s back catalogue, that every song intro is immediately recognisable and evokes an amazing response from the crowd, who’ve literally been waiting years to hear them. What made the night was seeing how mutual the excitement was from the band, who were clearly aching to tour internationally, particularly in Australia. Ryan ‘Tuck’ O’Leary showcased his iconic guitar-spins across tracks like this, urging hell in the circle pits in front of him.
‘When Everything Means Nothing‘ is nothing short of an anthem, and is personally my dead-favourite song by the band. Hearing the opening notes of this song live, (with total crisp delivery) was borderline emotional. If you’re a fan of FFAK, you’ll likely have the same response to the track which elicits an unbeatable intensity; queue the lyrics “Let this destroy me!“. With the softer sections performed as respectfully as possible, the band knew when and how to change gears for the earthquake breakdowns that ensued throughout.
Reminding the crowd that unlike Metalcore Snitches, this was a headline show – they can play a whole lot more material. Mid-way through the set, they deviated from their magical Dark // Path hybrid and ventured into a trio of Deathgrip tracks, which truly amazed long-time fans. Playing ‘Pissed Off, ‘Deathgrip‘ and ‘Stacking Bodies‘ there wasn’t an unhappy fan in the pit. The best part about hearing older material played years after its release, is you get to hear it with upgraded stage production, which is an adrenaline injection.
Ok, so are you ready for the scoop? Like at their Perth Metalcore Snitches leg, Fit For A King informed fans they’ll be playing new track ‘Eyes Roll Back‘ – an intentionally different live track to another new one coming out this month called ‘Reaper‘. Like in Perth, ‘Eyes Roll Back‘ stunned fans. It was stupidly heavy with some of their deepest tuning and Kirby bursting into the mic front-to-back. If the track is anything to go by, the next FFAK LP is going to be something wild.
Oh, and also they said this aforementioned album will be coming out “at the end of this year” – prepare your bodies.
Closing with ‘God of Fire‘ and encore ‘Tower of Pain‘ – Fit For A King dazzled their Melbourne fanbase with such an electric set, with no possibility of anyone walking out dissatisfied. This performance set the bar incredibly high for not only the return of international touring, but the climb to the top of metalcore, globally.
Might be calling it too early – but so far, gig of the year. Hands down.
Review by Ricky Aarons (@rickysaul90)
The Price of Agony
Breaking the Mirror
When Everything Means Nothing
The End’s Beginning
Eyes Roll Back – New Song
God of Fire
Tower of Pain
Fit For A King
Chip in a buck or two for the WoS crew!
Want to help Wall of Sound grow and deliver more killer content? Support us by chipping in as little as a dollar to help!