Album Review: Ignite – A War Against You

ignite war against you

This album caught me off guard at first listen. I thought that Ignite were punk, bordering on melodic hardcore. But the first song “Begin Again” is straight up glam metal.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that this is a bad thing. It was just unexpected. Throughout A War Against You We hear soaring harmonies and bombastic riffs that are fun and infectious. Like a more epic Pennywise with searing guitar solos, which makes sense, seeing as vocalist Zoli Téglás also fronted Pennywise for a few years.

It’s been a decade since Ignite released Our Darkest Days (2006)so it is understandable that Ignite would have changed their sound since we heard them last. That said, it isn’t a complete departure from the Ignite we know. They have the speed and urgency of punk, crossed with the listenability  of stadium rock.

The band borrows from a range of genres to fuel their political charge. “This Is A War” commences with an intro riff that has filthy grungy guitar tone, before breaking into a fast gallop. “Oh No Not Again” musically gives a nod to Foo Fighters’ “My Hero” whilst delivering a message of unrest. Téglás’ vocals are as much power metal as they are punk rock. There is even a bit of a European flair brought into the OC punk band’s mix, with the album closing ballad “Work”, first sung in English, and later repeated in what I presume is Téglás’ native tongue of Hungarian.

Thematically, A War Against You is a war cry against war. Téglás addresses the very topical plight of refugees worldwide, something personally relevant to him and his family, who immigrated to America in the early 1960’s. There is also a definite eco-warrior buzz going on. Despite the serious topics, the music is still positive and uplifting, thanks to the vocal delivery style.

A War Against You is anthemic Cali-punk with both blistering attitude and soaring harmonies. And as odd as that sounds, it works.

For fans of: Rise Against, Nations Afire, Pennywise, H2O, Strike Anywhere

Joseph James


Live Review: Shihad at Riwaka Hotel, Nelson (Ignite tour)


This review was originally posted on the Rip It Up website. It has since been taken down because Rip It Up merged with Groove Guide and redid their site.


w/ Cairo Knife Fight and The Naked and Famous

Riwaka Hotel, Nelson

Wednesday 29 December 2010

Opening act tonight was Cairo Knife Fight who, despite only having only two members, created a huge wall of sound by employing the usage of looping pedals. Particularly impressive was Nick Gaffaney’s phenomenal drumming. How he manages to sing, drum and play bass on the synth with his left hand whilst operating the looping pedal simultaneously I’ll never know. Who said men can’t multi-task? Their moody, ambient sound would have better suited a later slot once the sun had set, but their playing can’t really be faulted.

The Naked and Famous attracted more attention, the tent becoming noticeably more crowded once they’d started playing. Their style is one that has become trendy of late, dual softly sung vocals over electric sounds and synthesisers. Not what you’d typically expect from an act opening for veteran rockers, but they elicited a favourable reaction from the crowd regardless

As good as the first two bands were, they were nothing compared to the headliners. Chants for the band had been erupting intermittently all night, and when Shihad finally came onstage, they did not disappoint.

It was everything you’d expect from a Shihad show. Sing along songs, aggressive songs, jump up and down songs, old songs, recent songs. With 22 years of experience under their belts, there was really no possibility that they couldn’t deliver the goods. This gig was mainly a showcase of their latest album, Ignite, which made up nearly half the setlist. The rest constituted mainly of songs from General Electric and Pacifier, the band’s two most commercially successful albums.

One highlight was the song ‘Sleepeater’ that they closed with. Although they have played it live before, at the time it was an unreleased track they were previewing to the crowd. This was probably the first time it had been played in New Zealand that people actually knew it, and it worked well, as did all the new songs. Once they’d left the stage the crowd started chanting again. “SHIHAD, SHIHAD!”

The encore was ‘Envy’, from Killjoy, and their parting song was the wave-your-lighters-in-the-air ballad ‘Pacifier’.

The crowd kept the chant going for a good five minutes or more after Shihad had finished their encore. I was surprised that the band didn’t come back on; the crowd reaction was so strong.

I walked away with ringing ears (despite the fact I wore earplugs), and with ridiculously muddy shoes. Tonight was my sixth time seeing Shihad live. I can’t wait to see them for a seventh time at Big Day Out.


Joseph James