A decade after “Our Darkest Days”, Ignite is finally back at it with “A War Against You”, the band’s fifth full-length. And man, listening to these new jams, it seems that time stood still for these Orange County natives.
The aptly titled opening track “Begin Again” may start off a cappella for the first couple of seconds, but from there on it's back to more familiar ground. And that familiar ground is melodic hardcore punk with plenty of sweet riffs and some stylish drum fills. And of course, Zoli’s trademark vocals and ditto social commentary.
Once they’ve reached warp speed, they simply keep going and blast through “Nothing Can Stop Me” and “This Is A War” like they’re expected elsewhere. They tap the brake for a bit on “Oh No Not Again”, only to pick up the pace again in “Alive” (not a Pearl Jam cover). From there on, they pretty much stay the course for the remainder of the album.
And that boys and girls, is my biggest problem with “A War Against You”… it’s all good and well for a couple of songs, but then the realization that everything on here sounds exactly the same (give or take an intro or two) slowly trickles in. Is Cameron Webb’s production job to blame for the fact that everything sounds like one big homogenous mess? Or is it because of Zoli’s vocals? Granted, the dude can sing, but his voice is way up front in the mix and the constant wailing got on my nerves towards the end. Or is it because I’m ten years older now and have moved on while Ignite still sounds exactly the same? Whatever the reason, I can’t help but feel underwhelmed by “A War Against You”.