A War Against You

Written by: PP on 22/02/2016 22:35:08

Between 1994 and 2000, Ignite released a series of melodic hardcore records, many of which are considered classics today, until slowing down to a standstill following the release of "A Place Called Home" in 2000. Since then, the group has only released "Our Darkest Day" in 2006 and done sporadic tours here and there, but recorded output has largely gone missing for the past 16 years. Their enigmatic, Hungarian-born vocalist Zoli Téglás did a brief stint at the helm of Pennywise that didn't go so well on 2012's "All Or Nothing", but releasing an album seems to have revitalized him as a vocalist. As such, here we are with the first new Ignite album in a decade called "A War Against You", one which returns the band to their former glory as the gatekeeper between melodic hardcore and punk rock sounds.

Younger readers may only have read about Ignite in the book of 90s relics that didn't keep going, so don't be surprised to find comments like "This sounds like old The Offspring" to me in YouTube videos promoting the album. It's not far from the truth, either, as Zoli's charismatic and powerful yell resembles a concoction between Dexter Holland, Rise Against's Tim McIlrath, and Pennywise's Jim Lindberg. Musically, the instrumentals range between anthemic hardcore and skate punk, placing the band effectively right in between the likes of Good Riddance, Pennywise and Rise Against stylistically speaking. But that's where they've been pretty much all career long - before Rise Against even existed, mind you - so that's hardly news today.

What's more surprising is how youthful and spirited Ignite sound anno 2016. "Nothing Can Stop Me", for example, delivers anthemic and powerful punk rock that echoes the arena-sized political punk ethos of Rise Against. "This Is A War" is a bouncy and infectiously catchy punk rock track with huge woo-hoo style backing vocals that will be huge in festival shows. "Alive" sees Zoli extending his vocal chords to prolonged high-pitch yells of "I can't believe we made it here, now I am aliiiiiiiive" that are as catchy as they are relevant in terms of this being only the second Ignite album in sixteen years. It's a wide open song that pushes punk rock to the anthemic and is easily one of the best tracks on the record.

There are indeed many tracks on par with the aforementioned ones on the record. Closer inspection reveals, however, that sandwiched in between are songs that basically sound like Ignite on autopilot. "Oh No Not Again" isn't particularly interesting, and "Rise Up" is your standard melodic hardcore pit started but falls short from the catchy songwriting of the others. Then again, this has largely been the case on past Ignite albums as well. A bunch of classic punk rock songs versus anonymous material showcasing the genre at its average at best. Then there's the issue of sounding like bands that have simply done it better. "The Suffering", for instance, is basically like a clone of Rise Against from "The Sufferer And The Witness"-era from the guitars to the verse/chorus dynamic and the melody lines. It's a decent song, but Rise Against simply did it better.

If we're completely honest, Ignite has never truly been able to put together an album's worth of consistently great punk rock songs in the same manner, which is why they've usually been a second-tier band at festivals rather than a headliner. That said, "A War Against You" is miles better than the mediocre 2006 release and a strong suggestion that there's still plenty of gas left in the tank, especially since the majority of the record is very good. Just needs more consistency.

Download: This Is A War, Alive, Nothing Can Stop Me, The Suffering
For the fans of: Rise Against, The Offspring, Good Riddance, Pennywise, Smoke Or Fire, Only Crime
Listen: Facebook

Release date 08.01.2016
Century Media

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