Heart Support Hosts Gala Attended by Metal Giants like Matty Mullins, Austin Carlile, Garrett Russell

Heart Support, the mental health centered organization founded by August Burns Red’s Jake Luhrs, hosted a Flourish Gala. The gala’s speakers, panelists and attendees including iconic metal musicians like Matty Mullins (Memphis May Fire), Austin Carlile (former Attack Attack and Of Mice & Men), Garrett Russell (Silent Planet) and Ryan Kirby (Fit For A King).

“Last night at our Flourish Gala, Dr. Michelle Saari asked everyone in the room to raise their hand if they or someone they love has struggled with mental illness. Every. Single. Hand. Went. Up,” Heart Support shared on their Instagram. “She then asked how many people have lost someone they love to suicide, another room full of hands. This is a crisis. Our country is HURTING. We each have the opportunity to heal. It starts with love.”

The gala built community, awareness and raised funds for Heart Support’s ongoing initiatives, which include awareness initiatives, crisis response and an upcoming festival launch. You can learn more and donate by visiting heartsupport.com/mta.

“It was such an honor to be able to share my heart along side these fellas last night at the @heartsupport Gala! I couldn’t be more proud of @jakeluhrsabr & the HS team,” Matty Mullins shared after the event.

It was a sentiment Garrett Russell, who has a Masters in psychology, also shared. “They have created, and continue to foster a community that plays an instrumental role in the lives of so many people. I’ve personally met several people who are alive due to their work.”

To learn more about the life-saving work that Heart Support is doing, follow them on Instagram and Facebook, and visit their official website.

Top Rock Releases of 2018

As one of the strongest years for rock in recent memory draws to a close, here are Rock On Purpose we’re reflecting on the best 2018 had to offer.

It was a year of electronic elements weaving their way through rock with more creativity than ever before. It was a year of thoughtful ballads and searing social commentary. It was a year of a new Christian rock label rising. It was a year of veterans remaking themselves and newcomers offering their voices to the genre.

There were so many good albums that we couldn’t fit them all on this list, so we’ll be adding some of your favorites to a Spotify playlist. Enjoy looking back with us!

Mary Nikkel’s Picks

1. Disease by Beartooth
Content Note: Songs dealing with alcoholism, addiction
Beartooth’s ascent has been a rapid one– with good reason. Lead singer and primary songwriter Caleb Shomo’s ruthlessly introspective explorations of mental illness, addiction, sobriety, and spirituality are in their most mature and raw form yet with Disease. When you tune into the lyrics, it’s almost hard to listen to, it’s so raw. When you zoom out to the broader musical picture, it’s a tightly muscled musical beast, tearing through the airwaves with grit and power. This album promises continued replay value.

2. Dark Skies by Fit For a King
Fit For a King is one of the mainstays of the current wave of post-hardcore acts, displaying an impressive ability to appeal to a wide range of listeners. Dark Skies manages to be somehow both their heaviest and most melodically compelling album to date. With intrepid lyrical ventures into a many shades of soul darkness, Fit For a King presents just the right blend of crushing riffs, gut-deep growls, and soaring melodies.

3. Trench by twenty one pilots
Although this feels almost like a cop-out to include due to how obvious it is, the fact remains that twenty one pilots is achieving something for alternative music that no one has managed in years: they’re making the whole world care. With yet another concept-heavy release developed in captivating detail, from the lyrics to the art direction of the packaging, Trench is another masterpiece for this duo. From sharp staccato jams like “Jumpsuit” to the searing ballad “Neon Gravestones,” Trench is an effort that gains richness with each listen.

4. Red for War by Zahna
The freshman class of Rockfest Records has been a dominate force in rock for 2018. One of those artists, Zahna, released an album so high-caliber it defied all debut project stereotypes. Red for War wrestles with betrayal, anger, and skirts despair, ultimately catalyzing a response of hope and determination. Zahna’s vocals are breathtaking, paired with instrumentation that shores up the emotional impact of each track.

5. Erase Me by Underoath
Content Note: Language, themes of addiction
This album was a difficult one for many, and undeniably controversial. But I believe that the return of genre-defining giants Underoath is best understood not as a set of belief statements, but rather as a story– a story about wrestling through abandonment, addiction, and desperation. A story from the trenches of the long, agonizing up-and-down journey of sobriety. The musically experimental and thematically relentless album hinges on the frenzied bridge of “ihateit:” “God, erase me, I don’t deserve the life you give, I don’t deserve the life you give. God, I can’t change at all, I don’t deserve the life you give.”

Honorable Mentions: Broken by Memphis May Fire, The North Star by Remedy Drive, Attention Attention by Shinedown, Obscene by Amongst the Giants

Matt Durlin’s Picks

1. Ember by Breaking Benjamin
Content Note: Mild language in “Blood,” and they explore some dark themes throughout.
My top rock album of the year came with the band that is about to set out on tour with Skillet, Underoath, and Fight the Fury in 2019. Breaking Benjamin continues to be a premier hard rock act, delivering hard and heavy music and deep, thoughtful lyrics. There are few breaks from exploring dark themes on Ember, from the opening track “Feed the Wolf” through “Blood,” an honest look at fears within. The journey is equally heavy musically, as thick and raucous guitars are backed by hard-hitting percussion and powerful vocals. I am excited to rock out to these tunes live in 2019.

2. Legacy by The Protest
After a relatively slow start to the year, The Protest dropped one of the first and best rock albums of the year in July with Legacy. This album is enjoyable to listen to from front to back and features dual guitar licks that are some of the best I’ve heard in a long time. “Knockout” is perhaps my favorite song of 2018, with aggressive vocals and an energetic chorus.

3. Still Just Breathing by Set For The Fall
This November release was an early Christmas gift for rock fans. Still Just Breathing has something for everyone, starting with “Who Am I,” a driving up-tempo track featuring Memphis May Fire frontman Matty Mullins. Set For The Fall blends sounds from alternative rock to heavy metal, and the result is everything a mosh pit of headbangers could ask for.

4. LEDGER EP by Ledger
I generally try not to include EPs on lists like this– artists with full length albums ought to be rewarded. But there are exceptions to every rule, and Jen Ledger’s long-awaited solo debut (which many expected to lean to pop and less rock) did not disappoint. Ledger EP has been in regular rotation since it was released in April and has already garnered accolades for hits like “Not Dead Yet” and “Iconic.” Jen Ledger delivered one of the best rock projects of the year with her debut.

5. Palms by Thrice
This addition to the top five may come as a bit of a surprise to metal fans, and while I appreciate the heavy, this alternative left coast rock album deserves your attention. “Hold Up A Light” is one of the best tracks on this Switchfoot-esque album. Palms is perhaps the most diverse album by Thrice since 2005’s Vheissu.

Honorable Mention: Red For War by Zahna
Just missing the top 5 on my list is the debut album from Zahna (a.k.a. Suzy Madsen). This album paves the way for a bright future as Zahna shows off her ability to pack a powerful punch vocally. There is no doubt much to look forward to from this up and coming act.

2019 to Start Off ‘Dangerous’ for August Burns Red and Fit For A King

Pennsylvania based metal band August Burns Red will hit the road this winter for The Dangerous Tour, which is set to start January 24, 2019 in Lexington, Kentucky.  A full list of tour dates can be found below.

Solid State metal band Fit For A King will be opening for August Burns Red, supporting their latest project Dark Skies, which was released on September 14, 2018 (read our review). Also supporting ABR on The Dangerous Tour will be Rise Records heavy metal band Miss May I and electronic hard dance duo Crystal Lake.

General admission tickets for the tour went on sale Friday, November 2nd.

VIP packages for the tour, which was announced on social media, are available on the ABR website and include a general admission ticket, a meet and greet with August Burns Red and an exclusive 7″ Vinyl featuring the latest single from Phantom Anthem, “Dangerous,” the music video for which was released on October 30.

The Dangerous Tour Dates, Cities and Venues

1/24 — Lexington, KY — Manchester Music Hall
1/25 — Richmond, VA — The National
1/26 — Asheville, NC — The Orange Peel
1/27 — Charleston, SC — Music Farm
1/30 — New Orleans, LA — House of Blues
2/1 — Odessa, TX — Dos Amigos
2/2 — Albuquerque, NM — Sunshine Theater
2/4 — Tucson, AZ — The Rock
2/8 — Spokane, WA — Knitting Factory
2/9 — Boise, ID — Knitting Factory
2/10 — Salt Lake City, UT — The Depot
2/11 — Grand Junction, CO — Mesa Theater
2/12 — Fort Collins, CO — Aggie Theatre
2/14 — Oklahoma City, OK — Diamond Ballroom
2/15 — Lincoln, NE — Bourbon Theatre
2/16 — Minneapolis, MN — Cabooze
2/17 — Des Moines, IA — Wooly’s
2/22 — Ottawa, ON — TD Place
2/23 — Quebec City, QC — Imperial De Quebec
2/25 — Hampton Beach, NH — Wally’s
2/26 — Portland, ME — Aura
2/27 — Clifton park, NY — Upstate Concert Hall
2/28 — Buffalo, NY — Town Ballroom
3/1 — Hartford, CT — The Webster
3/2 — Poughkeepsie, NY — The Chance Theater

Learn more about the tour and find tickets by visiting augustburnsred.com.


Set For The Fall to Release ‘Still Just Breathing’ on November 16

Fayetteville, North Carolina-based hard rock band, Set For The Fall, has announced the upcoming release of their highly anticipated sophomore album.

According to the post on Facebook, Still Just Breathing will drop on November 16 and feature collaborative guest appearances by Matty Mullins (lead vocalist for Memphis May Fire) and Ryan Kirby (of Fit For A King). The full tracklist dropped alongside the album announcement.

Still Just Breathing follows 3 Nails,  a successful 2015 debut that put them on the map for metal with a positive message.

Keep up with Set For The Fall by visiting their web site, or by following them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Fit For a King Release Powerful Music Video for ‘Oblivion’

Fit For a King has released a powerful, cinematic new music video for their song “Oblivion” from Dark Skies.

The music video follows up the previously released video for “The Price of Agony.” Both songs are from the acclaimed album Dark Skies, which released on September 14 and has already passed a million streams on Spotify. You can watch the new video below.

*CONTENT WARNING: Domestic violence*

The video weaves shots of the band playing in with a narrative about a young boy who runs away from home due to his father’s abuse of his mom. The boy grows up to be a professional boxer who vents his anger in the ring. One day, his father sees pictures of his son online. Showing obvious remorse, the father goes to meet his son and ask for forgiveness. The video culminates in a powerful and heart-wrenching conclusion.

Singer Ryan Kirby has stated that the song’s core message is that of forgiveness. He also called the video “our most emotionally intense music video to date.”

To keep up with further releases from Fit For a King, find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Sailing Through the Dark: Fit For a King’s ‘Dark Skies’

Fit For a King seems to be the band that can’t stop. The Texas based post-hardcore band has been grinding out an explosive, aggressive sound through tireless touring and four studio albums finished in the just five and a half years that they’ve been signed to Solid State Records. The latest of those albums, Dark Skies, might be their most musically and lyrically intense yet.

2016’s album Deathgrip upped the ante for Fit For a King, making a mark at number 5 on the Hard Rock Albums chart. The video for the title track is sitting at well over 2 million views on YouTube. Instead of being intimidated by the task of following that up, Fit For a King did what they do best: they went to work, pushing themselves to dive even deeper into the complexities of human struggle and the reality of relief.

The first two tracks released from Dark Skies, “The Price of Agony” and “Tower of Pain,” provided good context for what listeners can expect from this project. Dark Skies is aggressively brooding, pumped full of searing self-doubt and depression, fueled by punch-in-the-gut guitar riffs. On “Tower of Pain,” vocalist Ryan Kirby asks the thesis question of this album: “Will I rise from the ashes we create? Will I fall into oblivion?

The rest of the album hinges thematically on this question. “Engraved” begins deceptively mellow before a towering wall of guitar from Bobby Lynge crashes to the fore, leading towards an irresistibly melodic chorus. “Backbreaker” and “Anthem of the Defeated” are songs of suffering, ripping through scorching screams and vicious breakdowns.

Several of the tracks feel poignantly pointed for our unique moment in cultural history, a time where division, isolation, and depression are all sky-high. “When Everything Means Nothing” is a sort of musical existential crisis, with a melody reminiscent of a punk influences mourning “I was born in the rain / Answers never seemed so distant / The terror of missing out blurs my vision / Am I enough to live up to the expectations of a world that won’t stop moving?” The following track “Youth | Divided” could be an anthem for the dysfunction of a generation, its disquieting intro tone leading into a dynamic metalcore sound in keeping with giants like Oh, Sleeper and Memphis May Fire.

In some ways, this album plays like a narrative, with the anger and heartache all culminating in the interlude “Debts of the Soul.” Over stormy instrumentation, the vocals beg “raise me from the dead.” The answer to that plea is “Oblivion,” a hard rock hymn that screams for redemption and clings in desperation to divine grace.

On Dark Skies, Fit For a King sails through the roiling clouds of regret and despair with a gritty determination to reach the clear skies on the other side. It has crushingly heavy moments that should satisfy the most avid hardcore fans, while taking hooky melodicism up a notch for their most memorable choruses yet. This is an album for emotional release, for going hard in the mosh pit, and for catching glimpses of solidarity and hope in the resounding promise that even in the darkest skies, you are not alone.

Related Artists: Beartooth, Memphis May Fire, Wolves at the Gate

Find Dark Skies on Spotify and iTunes.

Fit For a King Releases ‘The Price of Agony’ Music Video

Fit For a King has released a new music video for their song “The Price of Agony.”

The music video is the first piece of visual art from the band’s upcoming album Dark Flag. The video features images from some of the current turbulence in global events. Fit For a King highlights the theme of chaos by lighting things on fire. You can watch the video below.

To keep up with Fit For a King, find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Fit For a King Announces New Album ‘Dark Skies’

For For a King has announced that they will be releasing a new album titled Dark Skies on September 14.

The Texas-based hardcore outfit shared the title, release date and tracklist in a series of social media posts. You can watch a promo video below.


Preorder bundles launched as well, available at fitforaking.merchnow.com. The album comes just under two years after the band’s acclaimed 2016 album Deathgrip. You can follow along for more album news on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and see the full Dark Skies tracklist below:

1. Engraved
2. Price of Agony
3. Backbreaker
4. Anthem of the Defeated
5. When Everything Means Nothing
6. Youth | Division
7. Shattered Glass
8. Tower of Pain
9. Debts of the Soul
10. Oblivion

Up ↑