After 10 years since their last release, most fans would say it has been a long wait for a new Ignite album. For me, it just didn’t seem that long. Why? Well, for starters, Zoli’s involvement with Pennywise served to tide over fans to some degree, but more importantly, Ignite’s previous album Our Darkest Days is so flippin’ good, I still spin it all the time as if it just came out! Needless to say, the band’s new release titled A War Against You was all over my radar upon its announcement. I’m very happy to report that it does not disappoint! Stated plainly, this album rocks…it really ROCKS!
Now I have to warn you: If you are a new listener, Ignite is an acquired taste. After a superficial listen, the aspect that probably stands out the most about Ignite to a Zoli-virgin is how theatrical and flamboyant the vocals can come across. A casual listen might conjure up comparisons to Europe performing The Final Countdown on a GEICO commercial…or perhaps Klaus Meine singing Winds of Change at a graduation ceremony in 1991. I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t the impression I got after first hearing them on a Revelation Records CD compilation back in 1997. Their song Embrace ended up being one of my favorite tracks. So, while there might be a fleeting inclination to dismiss it all as corny, I implore you to take a closer listen. You would have an extremely difficult time identifying any singer in the realm of punk rock with a delivery as passionate and as urgent as that given by Zoli Teglas. For me, once this realization set in and I got on board, I began to really appreciate the onslaught of unique rhythms and incredibly thoughtful melodies he strings together.
On A War Against You, Zoli is at the top of his game, but it would be absurd to stay hyper focused on the vocals alone because the band as whole completely steps it up. This record features Ignite’s heaviest break downs, most tactfully placed solos, and creative guitar riffs to date. With a tasteful spread of guitar and drum techniques, the arrangements are designed to stay fluid, but keep you on your toes. For example, on the song This is a War (easily one of my favorites), the intro guitar makes you feel like you are about to listen to a dirging song from Soundgarden. …but this only lasts for a brief 11 seconds before a short drum fill coupled with rapid guitar harmonic raking blasts off into punk rock awesomeness! One moment the whole band is collectively banging away, the next moment the guitars drop out leaving the drums and the bass chugging along as Zoli explains, “There is a war on the concept of truth where the politicians stand on the backs of the youth!” (insert vision of out-of-control mosh pit breaking out). The verse continues while the guitars come back into play and build toward one hell of an incendiary chorus as Ignite does exactly what their name suggests!
4.75 out of 5 SDP Skulls
Album: A War Against You
Release Date: January 8, 2016
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Reviewed by Todd Dulawan