A decade away can change a band. Often, after such a long hiatus from making new music, bands come back with a new sound or a lost sense of direction. Thankfully, none of this is true of Southern California’s hardcore gods, Ignite. Their latest effort, A War Against You, is their classic sound perfected. This is Ignite at their best – melodic, heavy, and hardcore.
Like a finely sharped knife, A War Against You is straight and to the point. There’s not wasted moment or out-of-place note. While the trend in hardcore these days seems to be for bands to get more chaotic and raw, Ignite has boldly headed in the other direction. This album is slick – every song could be a hit – but they never sacrifice their heavy influences. The production is crisp and clean, letting every guitar hook and harmonized chorus land front and center.
Tracks like “This is a War,” “You Lie,” and “How is this Progress?” are classic Ignite. Loud and angry, but with a melody you can’t help but sing along to. If anything, lead singer Zoli Teglas has gotten better over the years. The dude can sing and has an unmistakable authority that helps to make Ignite so unique. When he yells “This is a war!” you freaking believe him. As a whole, it’s hard to think of a band more powerful and bold than Ignite. They wear their passion on their sleeves and pummel it into your ears.
Ignite has always been a politically charged band and that certainly has not changed with A War Against You. If you visit their website, you’ll see how big the band is on activism. They support good causes often, and they scream their frustration at social injustice and corrupt foreign policy. Hidden in a sea of catchy guitar hooks and sing-along melodies is a cry for change. Songs like “The Suffering” are filled with the pain and anger that people can’t band together to make real change in the world. A War Against You is the kind of album that only Ignite could have made, full of political, human, and angry music.
All this is not to say Ignite haven’t learned a few new tricks. While A War Against You harnesses their classic sound, there’s a new rock ‘n roll edge to the band. Yeah, they are still hardcore and punk, but the choruses are catchier, the riffs more infused with hooks akin to the best of classic rock. It all comes together and works, the end result being an awesome record that is both hardcore and accessible to fans of hard rock.
I grew up with Ignite. For me, they are hardcore, they define it. They own it. Personally, I’ve been waiting for this record with palpable anticipation, but also a healthy dose of concern. Could Ignite possibly deliver a new album as good as their back catalog (look up Our Darkest Days and A Place Called Home)? Turns out, they can and did. A War Against You just might be their best record, and that is not something I say lightly. Heavy, catchy, and heartfelt, this record is beyond superb. Whether you are a longtime fan or new to the band, you have to check out A War Against You.
Welcome back, Ignite. Don’t ever leave us for that long again.
Verdict: 5 out of 5 Hardcore Burritos