A Feast For Kings are a metalcore/progressive metal act out of Kentucky. Earlier this year the group had to deal with a massive loss, a work place related death of lead singer Eric Gentry. No band wants to go through such a tragedy, especially quickly after a debut EP release. The main question left for the band now is whether the template set by their debut is good for a growing future and how to move forward after the loss of a vocalist. While the future is unknown for the band, Hell On Earth sets up for a solid future as they move forward.
A Feast For Kings are not completely original for their genre tags, but they do walk the treaded ground well. Guitar work moves forward switching between brutal low key movements or fast-paced riffs that truly burst tracks open, while the drums are massive and fluid from beginning to end, pushing songs into various tangible speed changes, and the bass work is a bit more muted but continues to be noticed throughout also. The vocals are where the band truly sets themselves apart a bit. The mixture of clean and harsh vocals are balanced incredibly well, never feeling off tone or annoying. The harsh are the stronger of the styles, but cleans work beautifully at moments for the audible chorus here and there.
There are only six tracks and 25 minutes of music present in Hell On Earth, but A Feast For Kings fill every second with something of interest. “React/Regret” lead off the album with a hard right hook, and while the symphonic sample opening can be a bit off-kilter, everything else is nearly perfect. The harsh vocals to lead off the assault are powerful while the riff and solo are beautifully huge on the opening. The breakdown is the most memorable segment of the track, featuring a muted lead guitar solo and a strong drum kick. The clean vocals hit late, giving the song a perfect change of pace as well. “Idee Fixe” is another solid track; the song features everything the band have to offer, including beautiful drums, guitars, and great vocal mixing. Listeners may get A Life Once Lost tone from the composition, even if the electronics at the end hurt the ride. “Brittle Spirit” could argue to be the best offering on the EP, kicking off with a slower tone, and even though the clean vocals take control of the track early, the switch to chuggy riffs and harsh vocals is truly seamless halfway through.
There are only a few truly disappointing elements to Hell On Earth: The sound mixing on the release is well-done for all six tracks, but there is almost too much going on at times. The need to add electronic or symphonic samples keep a few songs from being truly amazing and make them sound like too many other metalcore acts who try to diversify too much. The only other main issue is how hard the album can be to get into. With such a large scale of sounds, some songs feel longer than they actually are, and there also seems to be no breaks from the harder segments at moments. A Feast For Kings do not need a lot of finesse but just a little bit to break up the pacing.
Hell On Earth is a strong EP from a young band on the rise. The song structures are fantastic, musicianship is on a high level for a metalcore act, the vocals are booming, and there are no bad songs on the offering here. While there could be some more pacing to the EP and less sampling, this is a damn good debut. Hopefully, the future continues to be bright for the band after their big loss, and the music community gives condolences for their tragedy.
2. Idee Fixe
4. Brittle Spirit
6. Living Deceased