A War Against You is the first release in ten years from California’s melodic hard-core punks Ignite. The band return with their own blend of fast paced melodic hard-core and thought provoking political, socially aware lyrics.
The album opens with the signature almost operatic sound of frontman Zoli Teglas, belting out the opening lines with an incredible amount of gusto. “Begin Again” really takes you by surprise, its multi-layered vocal harmonies sounding more at home with a Queen record rather than a rabid melodic hard-core album. However, it takes no time for the band to launch into a huge driving riff before bringing you back into the sound that’s been missing since 2006’s “Our Darkest Days”. It really sets the pace for the album as theirs a real sense of momentum throughout most of its thirteen tracks. Songs like “This Is a War” really take you back to the sound of 90’s skate punk bombarding you with its relentlessly fast beat. The band manage to inject this somewhat nostalgic sound with a real modern vibrancy, never coming close to sounding dated or bloated. This record also features a rather large and stupendous amount of groove to it with tracks like “No One Can Stop Me” gracing your ears with some incredibly bouncy chugging guitars.
This constant barrage of frenetic fast riffing does however occasionally become detrimental to the album. With being thirteen tracks long “A War Against You” does suffer from a lack of variety, only really shifting between two different tempos. The last track on the album called “Work” does break up the sound to some degree offering a slower and somewhat soulful sound. Zoli Teglas is really able to shine here, his vocals accompanied by the simple strumming of the guitars allowing his powerful voice space to breathe. Despite the sense of similarity setting in with some of these songs what is here is done to such a high standard that it’s relatively hard to become sick of hearing them.
Ignite have always had a real penchant for melody and with the band’s latest release infectious hooks are here in abundance. Upon multiple listens it’s difficult not to become acquainted with some of this albums incredible choruses. Track “Oh No Not Again” has a real classic rock vibe to it with its chant along chorus and heavy stomping groove. Even upon hearing it the first time some parts of this album just inspire you to sing and shout along. Songs such as “How Is This Progress” feature the classic melodic punk staple of multiple woahs and as cliché as it may seem you can’t help but join in.
Obviously the lyrical subject matter on this record is very politically and socially driven, as the groups material has always been known for. There are many instances of intelligently written thought inducing lyrics on this record including a positively charged anthem to a friend of the band suffering with serious illness. Ignite always do a great job of providing insightful lyrics without ever forcefully shoving it directly in your face, giving you their views without ever appearing preachy. However, some tracks such as the uninventively titled “Rise Up” do end up falling into the category of vague sloganeering, delivering a message that fails to not feel like something we’ve heard many times before.
With “A War Against You” Ignite have managed to essentially carry on from where they left off. If you liked the bands previous material, then there’s no doubt you’ll find much enjoyment in this release. Without reinventing the wheel the band have created a collection of fast paced melodic punk anthems featuring massive hooks played at breakneck speed. If you’re a fan of any classic 90s melodic punk band such as Pennywise and Bad Religion, then “A War Against You” brings you that hook laden sound sprinkled with some groove laden hard-core riffing.