29 February 2016

Ignite - A War Against You

Ignite released their last album, Our Darkest Days, in 2006 and, to be honest, I thought they’d split up, particularly as frontman Zoli Teglas had joined Pennywise, the last I’d heard. Anyway, it turns out they haven’t split at all and have released their first album in 10 years. I was surprised it had been that long but I listen to Our Darkest Days on a fairly regular basis so perhaps that’s why I’d not noticed the time.

The band don’t sound like they’re 10 years older; A War Against You picks up right where Our Darkest Days left off. The band sound eager and as righteously angry as ever. The political element of previous records is still present but there’s also a few positive and uplifting songs. Musically they continue on with their own distinctive take on Melodic Hardcore. As the front cover might suggest, there’s a healthy dose of SoCal Punk on offer too. It’s Zoli’s voice however, that sets them apart from their contemporaries; it’s a majestic, soaring thing that adds power and melody that might not have been so prevalent with a more traditional vocalist. There’s even occasional hints of Power Metal histrionics at times. Maybe it’s his European roots coming to the fore, I dunno.

Some accapela harmonies start things off and we’re into the appropriately titled Begin Again. It’s a bright, anthemic start to the album with a big chorus and lyrics about dusting yourself off after a (metaphorical) fall and getting on with your life.  Nothing Can Stop Me is faster paced but just as anthemic. I originally wrote that it’s a stereotypical Hardcore chest beating diatribe about unity and facing enemies together. However I’ve just discovered it’s about Cancer so now I feel silly. Also, It’s obvious when you listen to it now. It’s a great Punk song however you interpret the lyrics..
 The next song, This Is A War, is the start of the politically fuelled rants; it’s a meaty riffing, angry song with, yes, another big, anthemic chorus. I’m going to be saying anthemic a lot in this review I’m afraid. If you have a thesaurus handy then let me know some alternatives, otherwise thhhhpt.

Oh No Not Again is a slower, mid-paced song that’s decidedly anti-war in theme. Would you believe the chorus is anthemic in nature? It took a couple of listens to fully appreciate this song but it’s definitely a grower. Alive follows and it’s a bouncy Punk song full of enthusiasm and positivity. As far as I can tell it’s about his parent’s emigration from Hungary to the United States and starting a new life.

Ignite: Fans of pockets.

You Saved Me is next and continues the same, energetic pace. I think it’s possibly about someone who’s perhaps made some bad decisions, hung out with the wrong people and headed down the wrong path etc. They either then find Love or God or both. Anyway it’s just as catchy as everything else and don’t let the possibility of enjoying a religious song put you off, you big grump.

The longest song on A War Against You follows next; Rise Up is a whopping 3:47 minutes long. It all starts slow with the band gradually building up before letting go after a minute or so and zooming off with gay abandon. Zoli really get to show off his voice on this one too. Lyrically it’s about standing up for what’s right whether or not it gets you into bother.

Where I’m From is like a potted history of Zoli’s life. From his family’s time in Hungary during the Second World War, their journey to the US and Zoli’s childhood and his fierce pride in his dual citizenship. In today's current climate a song about Immigration and being a refugee couldn’t be more relevant. There’s parts of the tale that are sad but ultimately it’s a song of hope. The Suffering continues the theme of Where I’m From but deals directly with the conflict in Syria and the refugees that it’s created. Particularly poignant is the lyric “What have we learned since 1963?” It highlights just how long the troubles have been going on in that poor Country. The answer is, of course, nothing.
How Is This Progress? Is more environmentally themed. A lot of the band are involved with a number of charities and aid organisations and this angry blast of Punk energy addresses that. Next is the fastest, heaviest song on the album, You Lie. It’s a punishing, furious blast of anger that still maintains a sense of melody. Also, the title reminds me of the old Battle or Action comics I read as a kid. Specifically the evil Japanese captains that would always capture the plucky Yank Sergeant but inevitably be killed horribly in the rescue, probably with their own Katana. “Aiiie! You Lie!” That’s probably a bit racist now sorry.

Descend features a delicate instrumental intro that offers a brief respite before walloping off at a great pace again. It’s about stopping pissing about, growing up and having some consideration for those around you.

The final (sort of) track is Work and it’s a very frustrating one. It’s just Zoli and a single electric guitar accompaniment. It’s frustrating in that it sounds like it’s heading towards another build up and a crunching, bombastic finale. It doesn’t. It’s a nice song with an obvious theme and it’s a good end to the album. It’s just… frustrating.
It’s also not technically the final track because there’s a hidden one in the form of Falu which I, through the magic that is Google translate, can tell you is Hungarian for Village. It’s sung entirely in Hungarian as is the norm with Ignite’s hidden tracks.

So yeah, I didn’t have a clue the band were even together let alone that this album was coming out so that was a nice surprise. That it’s so good is especially nice. There’s not a single weak song on A War Against You and if it’s not better than Our Darkest Days then it’s on a par with it. It’s an early contender for my album of the year.

9 out of 10 – Almost Perfect…. Almost

Best Track: Where I'm From

Visit the bands website HERE

Buy A War Against You from Amazon HERE

Stream it on Spotify HERE

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