Following a triumphant return after a four-year hiatus, Fightstar have had a busy 2015. From an impromptu tour to celebrate their 10 years as a band, to headlining the third stage at this year’s Download Festival, Fightstar are well and truly back with a follow up to 2009’s ‘Be Human’. Their fourth full-length, Behind The Devil’s Back is a welcome addition to my record collection. Listening to Fightstar over the years is like catching up with an old friend – it feels like picking up right where we last left off.
Behind The Devil’s Back is the first Fightstar record to feature significant song-writing input from every member of the band, and it makes for an intriguing listen which, whilst marked with Fightstar’s unmistakable sonic stamp, is something different.
Soaring melodies greet the ears on opening track ‘Sharp Tongue’, juxtaposed with lead vocalist Charlie Simpson’s post-hardcore scream vocals. The fusion of fragile melodies and metal grooves are what make Fightstar so damn good. Charlie Simpson and Alex Westaway’s vocals blend well, but Westaway is given a rare chance to shine on standout track ‘More Human Than Human’.
The jarring grooves and atmospheric build of the title track are classic Fightstar material and a nod to older, heavier sounds. True to Fightstar formula, there are also some lyrics that walk the thin line between evocative and emo - ‘I could be your escape when you’re too afraid to ever notice there’s a light above us’ sings Simpson on track ‘The Blackest of Birds’.
The quartet seem to have experimented with electronic elements – notably on closing track ‘Dive’ –hinting at a subtle change in future Fightstar sound, perhaps? Whether transient or a permanent fixture – it works.
Welcome to the new era of Fightstar – it promise to be an exciting one.