All Kings Fall is a Wisconsin thrash metal band that began in 2015. Since then, they have released their debut album ‘Drink to the Lost’ (2016) and toured all over the Midwest (even going as far as Missouri.) They have also played several events such as Savagefest, Orangefest, Pantera Tribute show, Vulgar Display of Wisconsin, and many more; as well as hitting The Rebel Stage at Summerfest just this year!
After much anticipation, the new All Kings Fall album ‘Grip Control’ has made a powerful release! Most noted for their live performances, the band’s explosive second album proves to be succinct in delivery and overwhelming in projection. ‘Grip Control’ will seize your attention and never let go! These Waupaca, WI natives embody the Arctic bite of the north wind. Frigid guitar tones crackle between the shatter of icy cymbals and guttural roars. Powerful breakdowns, insane grooves, and epic solos bring a progressive groove to thrash metal that’s all things Raw, Real, and Heavy.
We begin our journey with the frigid intro “Wander the Gray (Reprisal).” This short instrumental track is a great example of a classic metal intro but told in true All Kings Fall form. Ominous tones and shattering cymbals guide us to the explosive second track. “More” opens with a captivating swing giving you no choice but to move! Its rhythms are marked by powerful hooks and excellent delivery. The lyrics on this track reveal the inclinations toward excess and debauchery. This excess is further emphasized by a ripping guitar solo that is intricate yet accessible. Accompanying are tight drum filled layers with thundering double kicks beats. There is definitely a want, and a need, for more.
Showing the cost for our hedonism, track three brings us to “Alcatraz.” This incredibly high energy tune feels like being trapped in a prison riot! There are clarity and harmony in the vocals, yet its undeniable attitude is a spit in the face. Powerfully organized fills echo in accompaniment with some of the best kick drum sounds on the album. But, wait for the breakdown to hit! Once that china cymbal goes off get ready to redefine mosh-worthy riffage. The solo tone on this track stands out for its atmospheric details, while still possessing the cold enigma of a storm cloud. Amid this icy torrent, dramatic stops break the chaos and command attention. This same pause ends the song swiftly like the strike of a cobra, and we’re getting “Ripped in Half” in track four. This song title has to be one of the coolest song titles in metal, and for good reason. This machine gun drives and overall hook quality shows a powerful understanding of music with riffs reminiscent of Anthrax and early Megadeth. The rhythmic syncopation reaches a high point with an intense off-time pulling us around like we’re being ripped in half!
Check out their video for “Ripped In Half” in the link below!
Track five, “Coming Down” drops us into the technical belly of the beast. We get to hear the bass guitar shine on this track with radioactive tone and percussive attacks. Chaotic crescendos build to exotic time signatures as we’re taken through the highs and lows of human consciousness. Despite the heavy syncopation, you can’t help but bang your head to these insane rhythms. Smooth transitions show the technical influences of Death and Opeth presented in a truly unique way. These themes are explored on an even deeper level in track six, “The Blackest of Mold.” The backup vocalist takes center stage on this tune showing stellar projection that pierces straight to the heart. This whole song is organized like a precise strike. Pure ferocity is captured in tasteful blast beats while technically textured riffs temper its rage with calculating precision.
This rage is carried into the lyrical content of track seven, “Choke at the Gills.” An icy bell from the drummer and we’re awash in expertly crafted rhythms. This song breeds aggression while offering a reflection on the nature of toxicity and mediocrity. This rhythm transitions into track eight, “Pulse of Panic.” If you haven’t been moshing in your living room or driving erratically through traffic up to this point, you will now! This song solidifies the band’s skill for creating and writing around hooks. This same musicianship is shown in their composition as we’re dropped again into “Forlorn Reflection.”
Track nine, “Forlorn Reflection” shows the great chemistry between the musicians as they explore intricate time signatures weaving in and out of ominous off beats and even between one another. Atomic bass tones occupy a powerful pulse with thundering drums and shattering cymbals to perfectly compliment the frigid guitar tones. Our time for reflection ends as a galloping rhythm carries us off into track ten. “Grip Control” is the title track on this album demonstrating the true All Kings Fall spirit. A strong driving pulse gives the bassist another shining moment commanding attention with nuclear tone. Powerful percussive attack and crazy low end impacts every feeling on the album. An icy solo accompanied by the whole band’s groove gives everyone a chance to shine throughout.
This shining is further emphasized with the crazy solos from each member in track eleven, “Immortal.” This track shows a culmination of skill; showing more intense dynamics and ability. Multiple interesting rhythms happen simultaneously as the three individually explore tempos that always seem to fit together in a way you can move to. The drums get an epic shining moment with an adventurous drum solo expertly punctuating with craftsmanship. The lead vocalist truly shines as well during the chorus. Being able to play heavily syncopated bass rhythms while singing in opposing meter demonstrates excellent musicianship and coordination. This groove is like surfing through a hurricane carrying us out of the storm and back to reflection. The outro track “Wander the Gray (Remission)” brings our journey full circle with genuinely chilling yet full sound. A progressive high point, this ominous instrumental track will make you play the album again! The icy cauldron of ‘Grip Control’ coalesces as the album draws to a close.
Each song on ‘Grip Control’ is a complete idea showing immense depth in content and addictive hooks. Each solo on the album is unique having something new to say with different techniques. The drum sounds and techniques are the perfect complements to the irradiated glacier that is All Kings Fall. Fans of Anthrax and Megadeth will love the fast and hard Thrash Metal roots; while fans of Opeth and Gojira will find it tempered with a melodic progressive groove. Ranging from Gwar to Opeth, from Pantera to Death, All Kings Fall has something for every metal fan, and ‘Grip Control’ is living proof.
Grip Control Tracks
1.Wander the Gray (Reprisal)
4. Ripped in Half
5. Coming Down
6. The Blackest of Mold
7. Choke at the Gills
8. Pulse of Panic
9. Forlorn Reflection
10. Grip Control
12. Wander the Gray (Remission)
All Kings Fall line up:
Mitchel Fulcer- Guitar/Vocals
Ian Gray- Bass/Vocals
Jonathan “Icelander” Nicewander- Drummer
You want it! You need it! The second full length album from Wisconsin heavy metal band All Kings Fall! Still raw! Still real! Still heavy!
Edited by: Samantha Crocker