Artist – Fightstar
Album – Be Human
Year – 2009
Genre – Post-Hardcore/Alternative Metal
If you haven’t heard of Fightstar, you’ve been missing out big time. The band’s experimental alternative metal sound is unlike the bulk of music in the genre out there, and frontman Charlie Simpson’s emotive singing cuts you to the core. “The English Way” is a showcase of everything that makes this band great. It’s a perfect blend of aggression, emotion, and melody. Now who doesn’t want that in a hard rock track?
Right from the start, the track is trademark Fightstar. From the rollicking drum intro to the sliding slap bassline, these are the signs that this is a band that does things differently. As soon as Charlie Simpson starts to sing, his powerful, honest voice will grab you and the melody will keep you. The verses in this song are subtle and really show the inflection and nuance of Simpson’s voice. In the second verse especially, the real sense of pleading is palpable right from the start. At the end of each verse, he even gets to show off a bit and takes it up a notch with some with some great high to low singing.
The prechorus is just a tease to what comes next, and what comes next will knock you off your feet and on your ass. The chorus is absolutely explosive in this song. The band lets it all loose with a wall of guitars that would probably shred clothing if I heard it live (which unfortunately I have not). Simpson absolutely belts it, and the melody is stupid catchy. Passionate vocals are an understatement. A giant cathartic explosion probably better describes it. Everyone and everything is dialed in at this moment, and you’re going to want to hear it.
After the second chorus, some really cool chorus vocals overlay with Simpson’s, and as he wails over nothing but guitar to kick in the last chorus, he and the rest of the band push themselves to the edge and deliver a finale worth writing about. So I wrote about it. Some quick guitar slides end the song, but check your hands. They’re probably reaching for the replay button right now. Don’t fight it. Shhhhh…just let it happen.
One last note. This song was written as a song of patriotism for England (hence the title) but it doubles as a kickass love song. I tend to see it as the latter, but I can appreciate the multi-faceted lyricism. Interpret it how you please, but it’s the melody and passion that lifts this song to a whole new level.
Fightstar will show you that not all hard rock/alternative metal has to be cookie cutter. “The English Way” is a great introduction to a band that has all the trappings of an incredible rock group. Unfortunately the band is on hiatus right now, but they do have plans to return. In the meantime, how about you brush up on their songs to prepare for their next US tour? How about you start here?
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