Fit for a King's bold new, sixth album, The Path, sees the Texas-based metalcore group exploring some roads previously less taken: there's a touch of electronics and some "lighter" moments, among other digressions. But experimentation hasn't led them too far from the aggro heaviness for which fans know and love them. In fact, some tracks on the LP are the heaviest of FFAK's career — check out, for example, the bulldozing "God of Fire" featuring Crystal Lake's Ryo Kinoshita. You'll be able to hear The Path in full this Friday, September 18th, when the album is due out Solid State Records. In the meantime, you can pre-order it here.
Kinoshita is hardly the first heavy hitter that FFAK have collaborated with. As past work with August Burns Red's Jake Luhrs and Miss May I's Levi Benton attests, these guys know their 'core. So we asked bassist and backing vocalist Ryan "Tuck" O'Leary (pictured above, far left) to pick his top five metalcore albums of all time — and not surprisingly he returned with some great selections. Check them out below.
5. Shai Hulud - That Within Blood Ill Tempered
This was my introduction to metalcore. It [has got] hard hardcore roots, but so much melody. The strange off-time riffs build into an extremely impactful amount of heartbreak and angst. Without this record I don't think I would be into metalcore. Any band that likes Counterparts, Chamber, even the Ghost Inside have to know this record.
4. Norma Jean - Bless the Martyr, Kiss the Child
One of the most influential metalcore albums ever written. Josh Scogin made me want to be a vocalist. The lyrics, energy and noisy riffs come together to make a perfectly chaotic album.
3. Alexisonfire - Watch Out!
Some may not consider this "metalcore," but [I'm] not sure what other category you'd put it in. It had riffs, breakdowns and the greatest goddamn singer of all time, Dallas Green. Though this may not be the heaviest record, they are one of the most influential bands to the genre. This band made you rethink your songwriting and try to get outside the box. Nothing ever felt forced for this band.
2. Architects - Hollow Crown
This album is the heavyweight that changed modern metalcore. The riff styling created on this record impacted metalcore as a whole and changed the sound for the last decade. Everyone has a favorite Architects record, but I believe this is the one that started it all. Riff style, vocal delivery, guitar tuning everything about the style influenced the genre. Sam Carter is one of the greatest to do it.
1. Underoath - Define the Great Line
Everything I could ever want in a metalcore album — inspirational lyrics, driving guitar and nothing ever felt cookie cutter. This album doesn't stick to a formula and just feels like a band in a room making a record. Probably the most inspiring album that you can't and will never be able to replicate.