Tag Archives: fightstar

Review: Fightstar’s Behind the Devil’s Back

fightstar

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.

8/10

Fightstar’s Behind the Devil’s Back is out now and available from all good music stores.

Advertisements

Review: Circle of Reason’s These Hands and This Mind

South West rockers Circle of Reason return with their 2nd release, These Hands and This Mind which is a 5 track EP and sounds like a blend of current-era Exit Ten, Fightstar and short-lived alt-rockers In Case of Fire.

These Hands… is a fairly mid-paced rock record that focusses on carefully building strong melodies before backing them with some satisfyingly, chunky riffing. Circle of Reason are in no rush to beat their audience around the head with an immediate and unnerving blast of rock and prefer to take a more considerate approach by easing the listener into their alt-rock leanings.

Themes Amongst Thieves is the only song on the EP that begins with a massive, crunchy riff that’s almost metalcore in fashion. It isn’t too long until the song develops into a massive, heart-on-sleeve chorus with vocalist and guitarist Simon doing a fantastic job of delivering his emphatic vocals.

The problem with Circle of Reason’s focus on mid-paced songs is that all of the songs on These Hands… tend to blend into each other. With a bit more variety in the song writing department, Circle of Reason could’ve unearthed a set of unique and distinct songs.

The songs also lack memorable chorus’ and instead opt for an almost progressive approach that means a melody doesn’t usually get revisited. This is a shame because as mentioned before, vocalist and guitarist Simon does put in a great vocal performance, but with know focal melody the songs just seem to meander along with no focus.

Circle of Reason are a peculiar band who obviously have a passion for slow-building, thoughtful song writing but can’t quite muster enough ideas to keep their music interesting. With a bit more variety in tempo and a stronger focus on melodies this band could turn out a splendid alt-rock release, but unfortunately These Hands and This Mind isn’t that release.

5/10

Circle of Reason’s These Hands and This Mind will be released by the band on July 29th.


Review: Bad Sign’s De l’Amour

When Bad Sign’s De l’Amour begins it starts with an enormous, grunty, slab of a bass followed by a monolithic alt-rock riff. We could quite easily end this review here because over the next 50 minutes there is rarely a moment where the Croydon trio divert from this simple yet hugely enjoyable structure. It’s also a wonderfully surprising start that is at polar opposites with the album artwork which looks like a poster for a bottle of Chanel No. 5. Basically, De l’Amour is quite the heavy hitter for a debut album.

Bad Sign have a rather unnerving talent for great riffs and even better chorus’. Bassist/vocalist Joe Appleford not only supplies the incredible low-end rumble, but also manages to succeed in being a fantastic vocalist with a beautiful, heart-on-sleeve delivery and a wonderful croon that brings to mind Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil and Fightstar’s Charlie Simpson. Urgence showcases Appleford’s delivery at its’ best with one of the album’s best chorus’ and and some brilliant guitar work from Jon Harris.

Let’s not forget drummer Kev Miller who puts in an absolutely stellar performance that isn’t ruined by being over-produced like a lot of modern rock and metal albums. All the weight and crash you’d expect from a live show is captured perfectly and Miller sounds like he’s absolutely destroying his arms on almost every song.

The only thing that could hurt Bad Sign’s debut album is that on occasion it does feel like you’ve heard everything the band can do. This might be down to the 50 minute running time or the 2 “slow” tracks Vicissitude Pt. 1 and Tonight being placed next to each other. Regardless, this is a minor issue that is outweighed by the brilliant song-writing that fills the majority of this record.

Bad Sign are a truly epic sounding alt-rock band that are brilliantly accessible thanks to their memorable chorus’. They also pack a serious punch which will satisfy rock fans and might even have some cross-over appeal with metal fans as some of Jon Harris’ riffs command a serious head-bang. De l’Amour is an amazing debut album that should only be missed at your own peril.

8/10

Bad Sign’s De l’Amour is out now and available to purchase direct from the band by clicking here.