Orange County’s IGNITE aren’t another punk rock/hardcore band. They don’t wear make up. They don’t care about image. They aren’t a here today, gone tomorrow flash in the pan. They aren’t tired scenesters, clinging desperately to the past. So what, you ask, are IGNITE? That’s easy.
IGNITE, who’ve been making music together for over 10 years, are a successful, international act with a diehard global following. They’ve got a proven, rabid fanbase that populates over 30 countries, thanks to their Iron Man tour scheduling. People go crazy for IGNITE all over Europe, Australia, South America, and in their native US, and that’s why the band lives on the road, bringing the fans what they want and what they need.
IGNITE are rock band with hardcore roots, a rock band that supports a series of environmentally and socially conscious groups like Doctors Without Borders, Habitat For Humanity, Sea Shepherds, Project Blue Sea, and Earth First. IGNITE have donated the proceeds from a series of seven inches, ten inches, and splits to these causes. They’ve released three albums, “A Place Called Home” (2000), “Past Our Means” (1996) and “Call On My Brothers” (1995), all of which enjoy a place in the hardcore canon.
Most importantly, IGNITE are a rock band whose music isn’t just a vehicle to enact change and to educate. Their music is catchy, well-written, and timeless enough to seep into your brain, your blood, and your heart; these songs will stay with you forever. On “Our Darkest Days”, IGNITE push forward with positive momentum, showing off a matured version of the intelligent, socially and politically aware, melodic brand of hardcore that fans have come to expect. But these aren’t songs reserved solely for reckless, rebellious youth or the band’s diehard fans. The songs that populate “Our Darkest Days” will stand the test of time – you’ll listen to them when you’ve got kids of your own.
On Our Darkest Days, IGNITE have progressed beyond their punk/hardcore foundation. Sure, songs like “Bleeding” and “Let It Burn” have so much energy you’d think singer Zoli Teglas, his longtime co-conspirator Brett Rasmussen, and their crew downed several cases of Red Bull before recording “Our Darkest Days”, but there is a depth and breadth of focused songwriting on this album. IGNITE have paid particular attention to melodic detail and once again, the soaring vocals of Teglas take center stage.
“Having [producer] Cameron Webb behind this album from the pre-production steps to the mastering has brought a great new element to IGNITE,” reveals Teglas. “He’s produced great records, like the last Social Distortion and Motorhead records. He made us think outside of the box and helped take our songwriting up a few notches. He pushed us to get more melodic in the songs.” He’s right. “Bleeding” sets the tone for the album, with its angry, yet melodic pulse. It’s also the band’s commentary on the USA’s occupation of Iraq and the government’s agenda. “Poverty For All” represents a sonic and songwriting shift for IGNITE. The song, which deals with the political strife and Communism that has plagued Teglas’s home country of Hungary, is different because “we have never used this fast beat before and it gives us a refreshing new way to play a fast song,” says bassist Rassmussen. “Let It Burn” is sure to be a fan favourite, with its heavy breakdown, it message about alcohol abuse, and its gang vocal. But it’s that thread of potent melodicism that courses through the song’s vein and makes it so memorable. You will hum the melodies of most of these songs days after you’ve listened to them.
But what makes IGNITE appeal to rock fans of all ages and creeds is that “Our Darkest Day” is, according to Rasmussen, “a great blend of hardcore, punk and rock. Zoli’s vocals bring a refreshing singing voice to the growling/screaming dominated hard rock music world. The songs have lyrical content that has meaning and melodies that can be heard.”
In today’s overpopulated rock music scene, standing out and making yourself memorable are essential survival tools. IGNITE have mastered the art of memorable melodies on “Our Darkest Days” without sacrificing an ounce of intensity, aggression, or heart. (Amy Sciarretto)