Kings Destroy

Confrontation is essential to Kings Destroy. If you’ve ever seen them on stage, you know. Call it their hardcore roots. Call it New York. Whatever. Point is, it’s one thing to take on the world around you and something completely different to confront yourself, to challenge who you are, and shape yourself into who you want to be. To confront the inward as well as the outward. That’s what’s happening here.
Following what seemed to be a definitive statement with their third, self-titled album and tours in the US, Europe, and Australia and New Zealand, Kings Destroy have stepped back and taken on their core identity as a band. Challenging each other every step of the way, they enlisted producer David Bottrill (Tool, King Crimson, Stone Sour), and after paring down their approach and songwriting to the most crucial elements, they crafted Fantasma Nera, an album that presents a wider creative breadth than anything they’ve done before. “We upended our usual approach in creating this album,” says guitarist Carl Porcaro. “We’d been playing together for so many years, and all of our previous albums were the result of us hashing out the ideas in rehearsal and learning to play the songs live prior to going into the studio. For Fantasma Nera we put the songs first and let the material dictate the means by which the album was created. David Bottrill helped us find new creative approaches, and this resulted in an album that doesn’t sound like anything else we’ve ever done.”
There’s still no shortage of impact in the material, and no shortage of confrontation. It is right there in the gang shouts on “The Nightbird,” or the melancholy storytelling of “Hollowing Out,” the unmitigated catchiness of “You’re the Puppet,” the up-tempo bounce of “Barbarossa” and the New-Wave-meets-prog-metal of “Seven Billion Drones.” Kings Destroy is a band with history and an album honoring future possibilities. They have discarded genre confines and willfully pushed into new places as a group and individual performers, redefining the parameters of their style and writing songs that serve no master but themselves. “I really think we took the songwriting much more seriously on this record,” says guitarist Chris Skowronski. “Carl and I both made full demos of the songs as we were writing them, really crafting all the parts and kind of agonizing over every aspect. It took much longer than our previous records, but I think the process of making those home demos helped us have a much better idea of exactly what worked and what didn’t before showing the songs to the full band. It was a lot of work but also a really fun and creative process that yielded what I think is clearly our strongest material to date.”
Fantasma Nera isn’t just the album Kings Destroy wanted to make; it’s where they took on outside expectation – what others thought – and confronted their own ideas about who they could be as a band. Every KD LP has been different from the one before, but Fantasma Nera brazenly reshapes Kings Destroy as a group, and in confronting what seemed to be their own limitations, the band found just one more obstacle to be surpassed in their continuous process of becoming. Says singer Stephen Murphy, “We challenged ourselves to make the best album we could, and we left our guts on the table. When I finished the vocals on this album, I was mentally and physically broken from the effort. I did not sing again for two months after it was recorded. I owed that effort to my bandmates, and they did the same for me.”