Ignite kicks off their major label debut by throwing the first stone.
With a song called “Who Sold Out Now?” this Southern California punk group anticipates and takes to task those who would point fingers. So often, when a punk/hardcore band attempts to further their success by signing to larger label in hopes of widening their fanbase, getting more exposure, and all the perks of being on a major label, they find themselves left high and dry by their former support. Accusations of being a “sell-out”, the punk equivalent of a leper, are whispered or shouted, and the band withers and dies. Punk bands aren’t allowed to be successful. They aren’t allowed in the mainstream, as that taints their punk purity, weakens their message, and means they’re only in it for the money.
Fortunately, a number of factors have begun to weaken that vicious cycle that dooms punk/hardcore bands (and their messages) to the sidelines of the music industry. Though certain bands have simply fulfilled those expectations, diluting their sound, a few exemplars have maintained their musical integrity, and more importantly, their message.
Ignite joins the latter with this album, which maintains both energy and power of former releases. Lead vocalist Zoli Teglas defines the sound with a voice that is, for all practical purposes, indescribable. Higher then most punk vocals, it has a clarity and timbre seldom found in a genre of shouts and growls. His lyrics are diverse, spanning a variety of issues, from child abuse to gun control. Ignite is supportive of grassroots organizations, donating funds to small environmental organizations who take a “Hands-on Stance” to deforestation and other issues.
Overall, the album is fast-paced, clearly produced, and highly enjoyable. “Who Sold Out Now,” “Bullets Included - No Thought Required” and “Place Called Home” are the tracks that stick out for me, but none of the tracks could be called bad. The title track in particular stands out, combining slow, rhythmic, almost chant-like verses with faster choruses and powerful guitar work. The lyrics are atypically personal for a punk song, with a decidedly lonely and longing tone. The effect is heightened by the anthems of unity and social ills that frame it. This album is a must-own for those who particularly enjoy the energetic Southern California sound, and a worthwhile purchase for any purveyor of punk.
On a final note, Place Called Home has a hidden track. Zoli Teglas demonstrates the strength of his roots, and throws out a bit of historicity with a Hungarian version of the title track. Punk is one genre that definitely benefits from both Slavic and Germanic linguistic nuances, and this song is no exception. An excellent end to an excellent album.
// Notes from the Road
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