REVIEW: IGNITE – “A War Against You”
Dawn 'Mama Love' Brown
Let’s step into the wayback machine to the late 60s/early 70s at the dawn of hard rock. Musicians really began taking their influences in different directions. One of those directions came to be known as Punk rock, introducing legendary bands like the Sex Pistols, the MC5 and The Stooges, et al. Punk’s influence has been motivating new bands ever since.
One such band is Ignite, a five-man band out of Orange County, CA. Formed in 1993, Ignite was initially labeled as punk, having a basis in traditional punk with short bursts of songs, fast and simplistic drum lines and half sing/half shout-type vocals. Their formula was fairly successful with Ignite enjoying now five studio albums, some re-issues and several compilation projects.
Ignite’s upcoming release, ‘A War Against You’ is somewhat of a departure from their typical formula. The material on this album can easily be characterized as melodic, even progressive at times. One can clearly hear both pop/punk and progressive influences such as Green Day, The Offspring, and even Dragonforce. They have a fast approach with mostly upbeat, high-energy offerings sure to please someone looking for this type of music.
Upon first listen to this album, it was rather confusing as it was presented as a punk album. The first two tracks, “Begin Again”, “Nothing Can Stop Me”, respectively, have the epic qualities so many progressive groups possess; robust lyrics, fast and complex riffs, multiple clean vocal tracks. Yet, they possess very little of the punk influences inherent in this band. In order successively is “This is a War” which is a good combination of progressive and punk. It is very reminiscent of some of the influences stated above. Only a handful of songs on this outing really showcase the punk roots this band can boast. “You Saved Me” has many of the trappings of traditional punk including the quick drum lines and rousing chorus. The remainder are a mixture of amalgamations of 80s pop metal and 90s pop/punk trends. Most of the tracks on this record are melody-heavy with over-produced vocals, much like what is so prevalent with newer, younger bands currently on the market.
Despite the overall pop feel of this album, it is still a solid offering. Ignite has offered up some creative writing, good musicianship, and catchy songs that will translate well in a live setting.
Go into the listening of this record as a progressive/pop metal album and NOT a punk album. For the former, it’s a good effort, all things considered. For the latter, it’s absolutely not what you’d expect.