Review Summary: A great good mood-album with passion and message.
I still have strong memories of first listening to Ignite. I thought that the instrumentalship was solid and that it was catchy and stuff, but the singer’s voice wasn’t my thing. I felt that high singing as confusing and kind of penetrating and so I closed the Ignite-book as unfazed as I opened it, matching the guys from Orange County to a band with too high-pitched singing.
Opening it again with that link in mind brought along a changed taste and a new sympathy. Zoli Teglas voice seemed no longer confusing or pushy or whatever, more congenial and highly melodic, with power and passion performed and well executed; a rare exception in today’s music scene, especially in terms of hardcore and punk music.
The prior blemish turned for me in an individual advantage.
After I get accustomed to this special voice on the rather mediocre A Place Called Home
, Ignite’s 2006er release Our Darkest Days
blew me away on first listen, making everything right they done wrong on their predecessor. It offers you more catchy refrains, more attention-grabbing sing-alongs and a permanently pace that won’t let your hand grope his way to the skip button of your hi-fi system. I mean, it’s like a squall of melody and groove that deluges you while you’re dancing and singing in the flood, metaphorically speaking. This incredible flow of addressing songs with this palpable energy and passion Ignite puts in this effort has a very pushing and motivating effect on the listener, which perhaps is the main endeavour this album tries to get across.
Right the intro “Our Darkest Days” stokes this mutinous mood with the eulogistic gang singing leading into a climax and the whole band yelling: “And from our hearts/we'll have our say/we built this all/our darkest days”. Slowly fading into the single “Bleeding”, it marks an impressive start with a precise announcement, which drags like a golden thread through the record. While Ignite can’t keep the slightly dark and angry mood during the full length, they manage it to create a flawless collection of songs. Take the marvellous catchy and mid-paced “Fear Is Our Tradition” and “Let It Burn”, the absolutely raging bangers “Poverty For All” and “Are You Listening?” or the slower and soulful tracks “My Judgement Day” and “Live For Better Days”: All of them feature a vast amount of lively tunes and sing-alongs, provided by joyful background singings and readily accessible song structures, concentrating on catchy hooks and focusing mostly on Zoli’s outstanding voice. The best blend succeeds with “Slowdown” and “Save Yourself”, both incredible catchy tracks with the most convincing and punchy singing, effective riffing and sophisticated songwriting, delivering the power and energy in the best possible way. “Know Your History” gets a bit out of line with its fast-paced one-chord based verses, the typical hardcore drumming and the only solo on the record, creating a typical melodycore track that shows pep and crispness bands like Bad Religion or Pennywise already lost years ago.
But their élan and energy doesn’t preserve Ignite against the gradually upcoming lack of variety and intricacy. In longer terms the high focused presence of Zolis singing with its undeniable catchy, almost poppy melodies and harmonies can’t belie the fairly shiftless, power chord based guitar work that misses some great leads or generally some more lead guitar. The songwriting is simple and modest, following frequently the same structure verse - pre-chorus - chorus - post-chorus - repeat, lacking some great breaks or varied bridges.
Only the last two tracks bring along new aspects to Ignites sound. “Sunday, Bloody Sunday”, a cover of the famous U2 song, offers despite of lacking reliability the most sophisticated songwriting with varying dynamics and crescendos, but this becomes less important including the aspect that this is a cover song. “Live For Better Days” features Zoli singing only backed by an acoustic guitar, which brings across the singers softer voice very well while not losing the catchy melodies and hooks Ignite distinguishes.
With Our Darkest Days
, Ignite delivers a very autonomous and unmistakable record that has everything a rocking hardcore / punk disc needs. From catchy refrains to powerful riffing and effective drumming to a fabulous voice, this cd offers a vast amount of melody and power becoming rare in modern punk music.
Are You Listening?
Let It Burn