Ignitor – “Haunted By Rock & Roll” (EMP Label Group)
Well known in Texan circles, this Austin band have been going since 2003 when they had 2 chicks in the band, one of whom was Erika Tandy (ex Autumn Tears) whose vocal talents were widely regarded. Ignitor would record 2 releases before the departure of both ladies, whereupon the remaining members scored an absolute hit in recruiting legendary frontman Jason McMaster (Watchtower, Dangerous Toys) who’s remained with them ever since and now onto album no 5. Well, if you grew up during the early 80s when records by Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and Kiss would sit comfortably alongside those of Iron Maiden, Accept and Anthrax, then “Haunted By Rock & Roll” will indeed have you in headbanger heaven harking back to those glory days when heavy metal was just what it said on the tin! Commendably mixing catchy melodies and hooks while keeping the material molten hot, the 9 tracks here don’t disappoint and McMaster’s delivers an outstanding performance with his shredding highs while injecting soul whenever its needed. Opening with an absolute monster in ‘To Brave The War’, prepare yourself as monster grooves clash with razor riffing and some very cool rhyming lyrics to make for a swanky, swaggering number as the solos pile in along with piston drumming to drive you into a frenzy. Crashing in with even more intensity on ‘Nomad’ the deafening volume of the song is only tempered by McMasters teasing vocals (between his screams!) and the Maiden-esque proggy melodies along with Steve Harris twanging bass, while the more technical side of the band is showcased in some dexterous weaving guitar melodies and solos, before some double bass drumming closes off the number in fine style. Ending in glorious OTT fashion and in a true nod to their inspirations, the band cover Raven’s ‘Hung, Drawn and Quartered’ – no mean feat considering the ‘athletic rock’ tag of Britain’s fearsome power metal trio. Led by McMasters, who is remarkably close to John Gallagher’s unique vocal shrills, there is no let up in the pace whatsoever from the rest of the band who keep to precision but hyper speed delivery formula while overflowing with their own obvious energy and enthusiasm. And that’s just it, “Haunted By Rock & Roll” isn’t going for any awards but just to give you one helluva ride – so just hit the switch for instant detonation!