Album Review: For I Am King - 'I'
‘I’ is the second album from Amsterdam’s melodic death-metal band, For I Am King. Following on from their debut album, ‘Daemons’ – which was also released by Redfield Records – ‘I’ is lyrically influenced by personal experiences, which include frontwoman Alma Alizadeh’s experience of growing up in Iran and then having to flee to the Netherlands with her mother, aged eleven. Instead of limiting themselves to musical genres, For I Am King allowed each band member’s personal tastes seep into the songs.
The Persian art style of Qajar served as the main inspiration for the album artwork, according to frontwoman Alma Alizadeh; “we have tried to translate the lyrics into a number of stylistic images. On the album cover you see a King (the I), next to him a woman (as the source of life) and on the other side you see death.” This vivid imagery is carried out really well throughout the album. ‘Prey’ starts out as a melodic rock and explodes into utter chaos and is an angry statement to those to gain pleasure out other people’s suffering, without even noticing – “death is all around you; this is just a game.”‘Forever Blind’ is laden with metal power-riffs and gang vocals that seem to just come from one person. The power of For I Am King is something that doesn’t seem possible with just four people, but some how they make it work. “You can run, you can hide, but I will be on your side. I want your blood, I want your fears.” Where ‘Prey’ seems like someone else is capitalising out of a situation, ‘Forever Blind’ feels like you are the person who has just taken control. There is a piercing guitar solo that is shrill and menacing all at once.
There is a familiarity about ‘Home’, which takes the formula of a classic heavy-metal song with its melodic verse/chorus layout that transforms into the staccato breakdown which calls for optimum headbanging time, before an intense duo guitar solo that plays around with octaves. ‘Misery’ opens with those distant melodic notes that Bring Me The Horizon have made their signature. “I am alone, save me. I am alone help me break free. Open my eyes, tell me what you see.” Melodically, this is quite similar in style to ‘Home’ but just a little bit darker. To break up the classic metal vibes, is a dizzying and intense interlude in the form of ‘Invidia’ which is purely instrumental, allowing us to see the intricate skills that are lurking being powerful vocals.
When listening to For I Am King, it is hard to believe that such deep and powerful vocals come from a female. It is this distinct lack of boxing that sets the band apart from a lot of people in their scene and I can imagine that they put on a killer live show. One song that I would love to see live, is ‘In Flames’ as it has a unique quality about it, that feels as though it has been written to be the soundtrack for a creepy horror song. ‘The Reaper of Souls’ appears to be a continuation of another song, as it reverse fades in to existence. It is in a similar line of aggression that appears to be signature of For I Am King, and questions the integrity of a person, calling upon them to answer for their wrongdoings. My personal favourite of the album is ‘Havoc’ as it literally is what it says on the tin. The verses are a continuation on the dizzying, almost math rock style of intricate guitar playing and the vocals teeter back and forth from deep growls, to conversational gravelly tones.
When you think about Amsterdam, I’m sure you generally think of those laidback vibes of strolling or cycling around a city, possibly under the influence of something to lift your mood. There’s a side to Amsterdam that is lesser known and it is their dark music scene. Heavy metal isn’t just for the Norwegian folk! For I Am King are a headbanging haven for all of those black metal fans.
Words by Tyler Damara Kelly
‘I’ is out now via Redfield Records