Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Fightstar "Behind The Devil's Back" (2015)

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.
Rating: 8/10


  1. Great review as always X. Keep it up!

    Personally i don't really like the vocals of Fightstar (keep in mind that i only listened to this album once). Simpsons voice is very clean, but it sounds slow for me. Almost like he has to drag the words out, if you understand my meaning, even in the faster paced song Overdrive. This dragging isn't always a bad thing though. I really love it in Animal.

    I also noticed you don't have any favorite songs listed for this album, why is that? I personaly liked blackest of birds and animal.

    On a different note, how do you decide what albums to write a blog about? Do you pick an album with the intention to review it, or do you listen to a couple of songs and than decide to write about it?


    P.S an example of a small awesome alt metal band who really use the slow-paced vocals with many times where the vocals are more present: Days we are even. Especially in the first song of their first album Misunderstood.

    1. The pace of the vocals never crossed my mind, they are quiet accustom to what I'm familiar with so it went down easy.

      With favorite tracks it was more a case of "least favorite" with two or three songs, I really liked the record as a whole and would prefer to listen to it that way.

    2. Oh and I often seek music out, listen to odd songs and such and if anything really peaks my interest i get a record, add it to the list and when Ive listened to it at least 5-10 times Ill write a blog and move on to the next one :-)

  2. Thanks for the reply. Its nice to know how you decide what music you write about.