Fightstar have finally returned with their first new album in six years and while it’s a horrible cliché to say a band have returned to their roots, the orchestral/stadium rock sound of Be Human hasn’t been explored further on their comeback album Behind the Devil’s Back.
If the artwork didn’t indicate a return to the band’s heavier sound with its inclusion of the band’s original logo, fans of the band’s earlier material will be happy to know this album feels like more of a continuation of the sound on 2007’s One Day Son, This Will All Be Yours. This means the album similarly blends two sounds in a similar way to One Day Son; there’s a heavier, Deftones-esque, alternative metal sound which is punctuated with a more tuneful, emo/post hardcore sound that will remind listeners of InMe. This is instantly obvious from the get-go as opener Sharp Tongue explodes out of the gates with a vicious riff that will ignite mosh pits the world over. This returns throughout the song but once the chorus rolls around, you’re treated to a dreamy vocal melody that is instantly recognisable as Fightstar.
The album then continues in a similar fashion but does a considerably better job of melding the two styles. While Sharp Tongue can feel a bit stop/start with its constant switch between metal and emo, songs like Murder All Over and Animal move in a much more natural way that sees the band flourish their anthemic melodies with moments of heaviness. Fightstar feel like they’ve finally nailed a signature sound instead exploring a different one like they did with Be Human.
Speaking of Be Human, fans of Fightstar at their catchiest will still be satisfied with a lot of Behind the Devil’s Back. For every Deftones-worshipping blast of aggression like the album’s title track, there’s a hugely memorable, stadium –sized banger to get your ears around. The real highlight comes in the form of Overdrive which is scarily infectious and the daft 80s synth in the middle eight is ludicrously fun. If the band don’t release Overdrive as a single they’re doing this album cycle a disservice.
Behind the Devil’s Back is the Fightstar album their fanbase have wanted for ages. This is a laser-precise slab of alternative metal blended harmoniously with some of the most memorable post hardcore the band has ever produced. People are very quick to write off this band as having a member of Busted in their midst doesn’t do them any favours with the heavy music elite, but ignoring their band members’ additional activities will reward you with one of the finest heavy rock albums of the year.
Fightstar’s Behind the Devil’s Back is out now and available from all good music stores.