Fightstar
Behind the Devil's Back


4.5
superb

Review

by MercuryToHell CONTRIBUTOR (42 Reviews)
October 16th, 2015 | 341 replies


Release Date: 10/16/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One day (very) soon, this will all be theirs.

Fightstar are a peculiar beast to figure out. When debut full-length Grand Unification dropped in 2006, despite an obvious wealth of talent, there was an underlying feeling that they were happy to cement themselves within their peer group of British post-hardcore acts, rather than make a genuine name for themselves – and that it was merely enough Charlie Simpson to shake the boy-band shadow from his back.

Then with the releases of One Day Son, This Will All Be Yours and Be Human two and three years later respectively, the undeniable winds of change were blowing: both records were littered with radio-friendly singles, and surprising stabs of rage and weakness in equal measure, but the experimentation of ideas prevented true cohesion.

Then they went away in the blink of an eye.

Over the following years the promise that they had shown on these records has been truly appreciated (and indeed missed), new fans have come forward, and in their absence, there has been real demand for their return.

Behind The Devils Back is just that. Boosted by four stellar singles in the run-up to release, hype has been steadily amassing. But what, if any, strides have been taken by the band in this comparatively large time away"

Well, the songwriting here in many ways hasn’t changed all that much. Fightstar’s innate ability to blend between throat-shredding anger and unashamed pop choruses remains strong as ever, and even though this is assuredly their heaviest album to date, it never once threatens to alienate the casual listener. The guitars maintain a beautiful crunch from the first pick to the last, bringing something to the table for fans of metal riffing as well as providing a massive backdrop for the more easily-accessible choruses (see ‘Overdrive’ and that absolutely sublime outro).
What has changed, however, is that their delivery is becoming unique, and forging a strong, clear path for themselves rather than wearing their influences quite so brazenly on their sleeves.

The title track has more than a little in common (initially) with Deftones’ ‘Diamond Eyes’: slightly unnerving vocal delivery over an absolutely crushing riff. What follows, however, takes the reins and runs far, far away – a jumpy, vocal-walled chorus, dramatic breakdowns and a truly beautiful ambient section. One thing is becoming clear rapidly: Fightstar are becoming masters of their craft rather than mere pretenders.

‘Titan’ displays Simpson’s strongest vocals to date, in not just his truly hellish screams, but in the slight wobble on the more empty and vulnerable moments too. What’s interesting to note here is the ease at which the heavier moments come into play - where previous records screamed out for precisely this kind of sharp, cutting aggression (Be Human had ‘Damocles’, One Day Son… had ‘Tannhauser Gate), what makes this all the more satisfying is that it’s simply not required to stand out. Every song is as compelling as the last.

Alex Westaway’s vocals are not a weak link here by any standard, but (if there is criticism to be found in this record) where he was able to pull off a more resigned performance to his credit on the fantastic Gunship side-project, he sounds a little pressured to keep up with Simpson as he soars above almost effortlessly – however on ‘More Human Than Human’ he thrives in his own space, maybe sounding more at ease given room to run alone.

On the subject of Gunship, there’s more than a little borrowed synth work here, but where it was the sole focus of that album, here it merely serves to elevate these truly satisfying songs to a fresh new level ('Dive' takes it to a phenomenal conclusion), and as a result even at it’s most overt poppy moments, this record sounds HUGE. Every second is filled without sounding crowded, and the styles never jar, not one burst of electronica becomes compromised by the crush of the heavier sections, and the clean choruses never sound out-of-place to fulfill a radio obligation.

Everything here is put together purposefully and perfectly.

Welcome back, boys.



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user ratings (378)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
beachdude (4.5)
A distillation of greatness, coupled with sonic expansion....

thumbcrusher (4.5)
The band evolve musically with great sophistication, but with the desire and intention as if it were...



Comments:Add a Comment 
MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
October 15th 2015


1321 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

First one in a while from me.

Absolute pleasure listening to this album.

CaimanJesus
October 15th 2015


3726 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review. Not a fan of these guys.

Digging: We Were Promised Jetpacks - These Four Walls

AmericnZero02
October 15th 2015


3723 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Fine review. I was one of many who were really missing these guys over the past half decade. I'm so stoked to pick up this album.

LotusFlower
October 15th 2015


12001 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

first time hearing a fightstar record and this is really cool.

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
October 15th 2015


1321 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's definitely the most formed record they've done - just wonderful to hear the experiments pay off.

Rice303
October 15th 2015


366 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really enjoyed this record, but didn't love it quite as much as I was expecting. Am just glad Fightstar are back however

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
October 15th 2015


1321 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

'Dive' just gets better on every listen. As does the T/T. Screw it, the whole album does.

To me anyway!

LotusFlower
October 15th 2015


12001 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

wheres a good starting point for these guy's disocgraphy?

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
October 15th 2015


1321 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Honestly, I'd just say to work right from the beginning as there's not all that much to get through, but perhaps as just a basic intro, try 'One Day Son...', as that's after they worked most of their Funeral For A Friend worship out of their system.

LotusFlower
October 15th 2015


12001 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

thanks m8

ConcubinaryCode
October 15th 2015


4378 Comments


That's some purdy album art. Gonna check this out later

BeeRyan
October 16th 2015


1311 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

listening to the album now. weird that they released half of it and that it's a super short album after such a long time away. I'm expecting it to be quality the entire way through because... it's fightstar, it's what they do.

BeeRyan
October 16th 2015


1311 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

there's no excuse for how short this album is, wtf. every song is super quality but like... it just ends.... and every other fightstar album has ended wonderfully. i mean dive was a great track but it didn't finish so strong after all these years.

misho87
October 16th 2015


106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fantastic comeback album and one of the best albums of this year

NorwichScene
October 16th 2015


2672 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just when I thought I had my

AOTY this comes along. Splendid!

Digging: Gunship - Dark All Day

thumbcrusher
October 16th 2015


3756 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

garrggh my postman needs to hurry the fuck up!

cloakanddagger
October 16th 2015


307 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Good review, pos.

Potential AOTY for me.

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
October 16th 2015


1321 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So, so gratifying to get another featured review so early in my writing 'career', even if the insecure fuckwit in me is fairly sure it's more to do with the caliber of the record itself rather than the writing!

Thanks guys!

dewkmosi
October 16th 2015


6 Comments


This sounds like my sorta band

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
October 16th 2015


1321 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

'Dive' isn't quite the epic finish that 'Follow Me Into The Darkness' was, but every song is so satisfying it almost doesn't feel like it needs a big pay-off...



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