For Fans Of
2015 shall forever be known as the year of nostalgia. Many a band returned from the grave this year to either offer one last hurrah in the form of a final tour or final album, or to fully mark a whole new chapter in their career. Or, in some cases, just to get back together and then teasingly twiddle their thumbs about what they’ll do next, the cheeky buggers (looking at you, Alexisonfire). From First To Last, Refused, From Autumn To Ashes, Saviour, are all bands that are now filed under this comeback category and England’s Fightstar are also no different. But, it’s been quite a while between drinks from these lads, and the question is – has the break been for the better or for worse?
Well first ‘Behind The Devil’s Back’ is the first album from the English rock quartet since 2009’s ‘Be Human’ (an underrated record of theirs because the fans just can’t stop sweating the shit out of ‘Grand Unification’), and it’s basically Fightstar through and through. The gruff screams, the chunky riffs, the large, booming drums still make up the heavier side of the band, but this is just one side of the coin. On the other side are softer moments, with soaring melodies, more dynamic instrumentation, and a stronger emphasis on singing and maybe the occasional synth. Tracks like ‘Sink With The Snakes’, ‘Sharp Tongue’ (arguably one of the best on the album) and ‘Animal‘ embody both of these sounds perfectly. Whereas a song like ‘Overdrive’ sticks to the lighter and, shall we say, more commercial side of the band, adding just that tiny bit more diversity. The shift between these two sounds was always done smoothly and tastefully on their past records and here it is no different. So it’s good to see that their song-writing is all in-tact. Yet that’s also the problem – this is a very safe return. It’s not too challenging a listen, which is fine, it’s just more Fightstar. Hopefully this isn’t the last we see of Fightstar and more releases follow in the coming years.
The band have some classic songs under their belts – ‘Palahniuk’s Laughter’, ‘Paint Your Target’ and ‘Colours Bleed To Red‘, just to name a few – and a few of these newbies are going to be the next hits in their sets, namely the title track, ‘Animal’ and ‘Sharp Tongue’. This album also scores higher because that is easily one of the most aesthetically pleasing artworks this reviewer has seen in a long while. Like seriously, just fucking look at it!
So, to the original question posed at the start of this review – has the band jumping off the Hiatus Express and putting a new album out been for the best?
Yes, yes it has. It really has.
Fightstar’s fourth record is a great return effort for the group, and sure, it’s a very safe one, but there can be great quality found within security, and ‘Behind The Devil’s Back’ is absolute proof of that. Now all we need is for At The Drive-In to get their assess back together and everything would be just peachy.
1. Sharp Tongue
2. Murder All Over
3. Behind The Devil’s back
4. The Blackest of Birds
6. More Human Than Human
9. Sink With The Snakes