Fronted by Charlie Simpson, English Metal outfit Fightstar have a bit if stigma about them in they eyes of some, mainly Metal elitists. This is due to Simpson's origins in the Pop-Rock boy band Busted, who he supposedly used to gather the resources to pursue his real ambitions. Its never been much of a bother to me but may explain why this band gets overlooked. I picked up "Behind The Devil's Back" based on chatter that they had outdone Deftones at their own game. It has to be said there are sublime moments where dense tonal guitars wage in rhythmical grooves against the offset of Simpsons voice, screamed or sung in a very Moreno style. Its as good as Deftones do it themselves, however the record is diverse and its hardly the main focal point.
That diversity is the records strength as its Alternative Metal persona is steered in contrasting directions, from crunchy, snappy metallic grooves to colorful melodic singing with pop sensibilities. These songs are pulled side to side, often elasticating back and forth between harmonizations and aggressive guitar grooves. It is performed in a way that the contrasting sides compliment each other without compromise and yet sound as if they could be detached and run alone as two very different records. The best moment's come from when their balance is sweetly struck and we get the best of both worlds harmonizing for a very energetic, animated and harmonious sound.
With a selection of gratifying melodies and potent guitar riffs the album comes together under a gorgeous production, lit up by Simpsons voice, who in his clean singing really strikes a nerve and harmony with the surrounding instruments. The distortion guitars are dense, weighty and rounded, a great tone that gets across a heavy feeling without force. The acoustic tones are luminous, the drums sharp and punchy and the use of light synthesizers seems to patch up particular moments with an extra layer of chemistry, if you listen keenly you can often hear it creeping in to quiet corners.
With one song I think the band to pull hard in different directions as "Overdrive" feels a bit stitched together as it shifts drastically from its metallic grooves to poppy melodies. It does however culminate nicely with a brief but substantial dose of synthesizers that lead into an epic pop melody. Otherwise its a really fantastic set of songs that after a good set of listens are still delivering the feels. Its a strong, bold and creative effort that really has no weak points and short comings, overall its rather fantastic and loaded with really a depth of inspiration.