Release Date: 25.03.2022
Record Label: Century Media Records
For Fans Of: Rise Against, Anti-Flag, Propagandhi
Californian hardcore legends Ignite aren’t exactly a prolific band. Choosing instead to make a name for themselves through extensive touring, the cult heroes have nearly completed their third decade as a band, and yet their new album is only their sixth full-length release. It’s also their first with new vocalist Eli Santana, who replaces long-time frontman Zoltán Téglás to mark the dawn of something of a new era for the now-five-piece. Perhaps seeking to reflect this, Ignite have decided to self-title this record – an indicator, as it often is, of a band setting out their stall once again and letting everyone know what they’re all about.
Older fans panicking about needless reinvention shouldn’t have much to fear however; Ignite is hardly a departure from the socially conscious melodic hardcore the band are held so dearly for. Last year’s two-track EP, the band’s first new music with Santana, proved just as much, and with one of the songs from that record opening this one, that’s clear once again here. ‘Anti-Complicity Anthem’ is a rousing call to arms packaged in the first of many high-energy melodic bangers that span the record’s tight 35-minute runtime. Lead single ‘The River’ follows and sees the band addressing the immigration crisis their country is facing with a chorus that asks “How many bodies in the river? / How many children will your laws let you ignore?”.
This sense of defiant resistance hangs all the way through to album closer ‘After The Flood’ – a final rallying cry which implores listeners to “take back what was almost lost”. The record does get more personal at points too, perhaps most obviously on fifth track ‘The Butcher In Me’, which addresses the idea of cutting someone out of one’s life, but for the most part Ignite know where their bread is buttered and stick to it. ‘Call Off The Dogs’ for example incites listeners to deny their programming, its screamed vocal turn providing a welcome and arresting addition to the album’s generally fired up intensity.
Whatever the lyrical content of the songs themselves, pretty much all of it comes delivered in the form of absolutely gigantic and instantly memorable sing-alongs. Recent single ‘On The Ropes’ is a prime example, its gang vocal shouts of “I’m on the ropes every day what’s the meaning” etched deep into listeners’ brains after barely a single listen, while seventh track ‘The House Is Burning’’s bouncy choruses are similarly hard to shake.
Of course, such lyrical and melodic content comes with an almost inherent risk of cliché and cheesiness, and sadly Ignite don’t escape entirely unscathed here. Even the aforementioned ‘On The Ropes’ features the relatively uninspired “If this is war, tell me what I’m fighting for” line for example, and there are more than a couple of points where Santana’s vocal work can come off as a little derivative in comparison to his best and most passionate fare.
Ultimately though, self-titling this record makes a lot of sense; this is quintessential Ignite, with all the elements we’ve come to expect from the band in all the right places. It doesn’t really break the mould, but it should definitely leave listeners fired up and ready to make a change. In that regard, it’s very much mission accomplished for these proudly political hardcore heroes.