Ignitor - Road of bones 4.5/5

Reviewed: 10-12-07





Tracklist:

1. Death on the road
2. Road of bones
3. Scarlet enigma
4. March of the guillotine
5. Wings of the blackheart
6. Hymn of Erin
7. Phoenix
8. Broken glass
9. Castle in the clouds
10. God of vengeance
11. Reinheitsgebot


A 5-piece act hailing from the great state of Texas, Ignitor made an indelible first impression in 2004 with the release of their EP, 'Take to the sky'. That CD was an intense, memorable affair of well-written American traditional/true metal, featuring the extremely powerful lead vocals of frontwoman Erika Swinnich, and sporting one of the best songs of 2004 in "The last king tiger", a classic World War II number in the fine tradition of "Aces high" that is an ode to a mighty German tank defending Berlin. After a number of high-profile festival appearances in Germany and Mexico, Ignitor signed to the superb Cruz del Sur label for their official full-length debut, 'Road of bones'.

The female fronted true metal scene is becoming highly competitive of late, with top-notch releases in recent times by Twilight Odyssey, Phoenix Rising, Crystal Viper, and Crystal Tears, among others. Although Ignitor share much in common with these colleagues, they prove on 'Road of bones' to be more than capable of holding their own. The historical lyrics are outstanding, touching on such subjects as the death camps of the Siberian Gulag, World War I flying ace Charles Nungesser, an Irish battle, the Danvers State Insane Asylum, and Norse mythology. Cool stuff. The guitar team of Stuart Laurence and newcomer Annah Moore is well versed in the art of metal axe slinging, delivering a firestorm of memorable, melodic and heavy old-school guitar work that is guaranteed to appeal to every grizzled veteran of the heavy metal wars. Singer Swinnich is no shrinking violet, either, spitting out her vocal lines with the grit and attitude of Leather Leone, while still maintaining the necessary melody and tunefulness. Whereas many singers in this genre are either too squeaky clean or too rough'n'tumble, Swinnich manages to strike exactly the right balance. Another factor that separates Ignitor from their peers is that while many other acts in the style opt for an epic approach with lengthy songs and oodles of parts soldered together, Ignitor are pretty much hammer-down from pillar to post, although the 7-minute epic "God of vengeance" will certainly suffice to give your epic metal kick. If you're looking for acoustic interludes, ballads, quiet introspective piano bits, and shifting moods, look elsewhere, because Ignitor are all about kicking posteriors and taking names.

Some critics of 'Road of bones' have downgraded it for lacking the memorable songwriting of the EP. I disagree strongly. It could perhaps be said that 'Road of bones' is tougher, crunchier and less overtly melodic than the EP, but the quality of the songs on display here is uniformly high. "Phoenix" and "God of vengeance" are both song of the year candidates and every single track includes parts that make you want to put down your beer, leap up on the desk and start slinging furniture around the room reaping a whirlwind of destruction. As if that's not enough, Ignitor complete the package with excellent cover art from the legendary Joe Petagno (Motorhead, etc.) that ties in with the Siberian theme of the title track. And then there's "Reinheitsgebot", a mostly German-language tune sporting the chorus line, "Reinheitsgebot, metal is the law," which will no doubt guarantee Ignitor a hero's welcome every time they set foot in Deutschland for the rest of their lives.

By now, you probably know whether 'Road of bones' is for you. Fans of any of the bands mentioned in this review should purchase 'Road of bones' blindly and with confidence. And if you're looking for the pinnacle of this female fronted true metal sound, 'Road of bones' just might be it. Ignitor are the real deal, folks.



KIT




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