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Album Review: Ignite - 'A War Against You'

26 January 2016 | 11:20 am | Alex Sievers
Originally Appeared In

The best original soundtrack to a mid-naughties racing game you’ll ever hear.

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Remember the soundtracks from the old Need For Speed, Burnout and Tony Hawk games? If you don't remember or don't even know (somehow), then those games featured songs from bands like The Explosion, The Suicide Machines, The Distillers, Bad Religion, Millencolin and so many others. While they weren't solely filled with punk/alternative and the occasional hardcore or metal song though, it's those tracks that are arguably the most memorable thing from the aforementioned games. (Well, except for the cringeworthy writing from the mid-to-late Tony Hawk games but for the wrong reasons. *shudders*). Those songs, and those bands can easily make a young child/teenager feel not only youthful but excited and energetic, hence why they were perfect for those games. It's also nostalgic for older fans of that music (and the games, too) and that's the kind of feeling that Ignite's latest album embeds in its listeners; hope, nostalgia and youthfulness.

Now, that's not to say that this is a cheery album, uh-uh, as ‘A War Against You’ is a pretty serious listen through and through, yet the music itself is inspiring, which really works in conjunction with their vast social and political themes. Of which plenty are abound. From vast social injustices, to personal improvement and self-determination of one's self, this album is kind of standard for Ignite, thematically speaking anyway, but it's great to see them still fighting the good fight after all these years.

This is actually their first full-length album since 2006’s pants-wettingly awesome, ‘Our Darkest Days’ (don’t deny it), and working with the always sharply dressed Cameron Webb (putting all our outfits to shame), this is a record that picks up right where the band left off a decade ago. It’s uplifting and determined, it's catchy and fun, and it’s still fast and heavy, and it's still “punk”, and for some, that’ll be the sole reason they will even listen to the record. So, if you’ve heard Ignite’s music before, even just once while you were scrolling through YouTube that one time, then this is 100% pure Ignite and you'll know exactly what you're in for here with these 14 songs.

Yet, like most of the great contemporary punk rock bands, the music is neither that revolutionary nor is it all that hard to keep track of, but it still has something to actually say; it has purpose, and it’s solidly delivered in a medium that just suits all of the themes so damn perfectly. ‘A War Against You’ is no different. Tight, melodic hooks left and right, punchy guitar riffs and chugging bass lines are omnipresent, and of course, Zoli Telgas’s signature vocals cut through, which often emulate that of a power metal singer with the sheer fucking range he's got on him, Jesus.

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Overall, the album isn't really a deep one to analyse, as for aficionados of the punk world; this is pretty par for the course. That's essentially the only issue with the record; after ten years, this material, while being pretty damn good, is just like 'Our Darkest Days', 'A Place To Call Home' and further back in that order. Essentially, this is what this Californian act have been doing since day one, and that's fine, It's just that this isn't anything new in the way of any real progression, musically. With that being said, we just know in our hearts that tracks like 'Nothing Can Stop Me' and 'Begin Again' will still feel as polished as they do now in ten years, just as 'My Judgement Day' and 'Bleeding' do after all this time.

Oh, and one final thing, make sure you listen out to the "hidden song", 'Falu', at the end of the record, which is completely sung in Hungarian...cause, yeah... that’s pretty cool.

Ignite are the kind of punk rock band that just make you feel good, they make you feel confident, and they make you feel like you can take on anything that the world throws at you. They aren’t some cheesy pop-punk band and they aren’t quite the oh-so-serious hardcore bands that they borrow some of their influences from. Ignite are back. 'A War Against You' is arguably the first great release of 2016. Don't sit on this one, as the kids say.

1. Begin Again

2. Nothing Can Stop Me

3. This Is A War

4. Oh Not Again

5. Alive

6. You Saved Me

7. Rise Up

8. Where I’m From

9. The Suffering

10. How Is This Progress?

11. You Lie

12. Descent

13. Forward (bonus song)

14. Work/Falu