Seldom has a pop personality engineered his own fall from grace quite so determinedly as Charlie Simpson, formerly of UK chart stars Busted
. Theres enough visceral energy and musical depth to debut album Grand Unification
, however, to confirm his new project Fightstar are something far more fully realised than a haphazard stab at rock credibility. A suite of dynamic, gutsy post-hardcore songs in the vein of Biffy Clyro, Hell Is For Heroes, and Funeral For A Friend, Fightstar cant entirely hide Simpsons impulse for a inclusive shout-along chorus, but the likes of "Waste A Moment" and "Paint Your Target" take care to temper their moments of pop hookiness with screamed vocals, bludgeoning guitars and the odd arcane time-signature. "Build An Army" is the most convincing example of Fightstars heaviness at its most rampant and unchecked--a coiled rattlesnake of quiet/loud dynamism that achieves Deftones levels of intensity. A success? Put it this way: in controlled conditions, nine out of ten Kerrang! readers could happily mosh out without ever once suspecting an ex-member of Busted was in the building, and one suspects that for Charlie Simpson, thats a victory well worth winning.--Louis Pattison
So this is it, the return of the most famous eyebrows in pop, the man that broke a million teenage hearts by tearing apart everyone's secret love, Busted, and the question is; was it worth it?
Put simply, yes it was. Make no mistake, Fightstar are Charlie Simpson's proper grown-up band, a full-on rock machine complete with preposterously pretentious album art, big riffs, driving drums and a fine line in angst-ridden screams (oh, and definitely no choreographed jumps).
Bursting with energy and thrilling on several tunes, not least the dual powers of the split title track and the throbbing "Paint Your Target", Grand Unification is a belting collection.
The truth is Fightstar have enough chugging emo and heavy rock in their brooding songs to have made it regardless of Charlie's well-documented past. On this showing, it seems he might just out-do Robbie Williams in leaving his past behind. --Chris Long
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