Comeback albums can be problematic. More often than not, bands struggle to recapture that element that made them special and so beloved first time round. With Fightstar, there was never a massive send off or drama of members falling out. It was merely a case of “we’re going to take a break and we might do something at some point.” Fast forward to 2015 and following a triumphant return late last year followed by successful festival outings, the quartet are back with ‘Behind The Devil’s Back’ and sees them picking up where they left off.
From the brooding opening of ‘Sharp Tongue’, it is clear Fightstar haven’t missed a step with its eruptious prog-like blasts and soothing harmonies. Their brand of post-hardcore is effective and efficient, yet weaves in elements of hard rock and grunge to an appreciative level.
Simpson and company have always had a tendency to produce soaring, gratifying choruses and this record is no different. Tracks like ‘Behind The Devil’s Back’, ‘Sink With The Snakes’ and ‘Overdrive’ thrive with soaring hooks before coming back down to earth with sharp, stuttering riffs. Lead single, ‘Animal’, is crisp, heavy yet as melodic as you’ll ever hear Fightstar.
‘More Human Than Human’ drops the tempo as Alex Westaway takes the lead with a calm and confident delivery as elegant, ’80s-esque guitars build to a chugging bridge that bursts with radiance. It’s a welcomed number that gives us a break from the jagged riffs that are dominant throughout. Meanwhile, ‘Titan’ and ‘Dive’ both see a hint of Deftones creep in, but we’re not complaining as shrewd atmospherics build towards dense power chords complimenting Simpsons’ self-assured melodic delivery.
While they don’t break any new ground on ‘Behind The Devil’s Back’, Fightstar’s return is robust and dynamic, delivered with admirable texture and complete unity.
‘Behind The Devil’s Back’ by Fightstar is released on October 16th on Fightstar Music.
Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)