Take To The Sky
6/9/2005 - Review by: Eric Compton
Ignitor - Take To The Sky - 2004 - Self Released
Fans of early 80s classic metal will find plenty to like about this group, with many resemblances to that style of writing and delivery at play with this release. I can't imagine it being any other way, with Ignitor simply taking up the torch and lighting the grand staircase. Using the basic fundamentals of new wave, US power, and the German hard rock foundation, these mighty Texans take on the world, take to the sky, and deliver easily one of the finest slabs of molten metal I've heard this year. The interesting thing about this group is their use of metal maidens, in this case two women involved in the festivities. Guitarist Beverly Barrington and lead vocalist Erika Swinnich, both of which seem to have cut their teeth on the traditional power style.
Front and center is Erika Swinnich, a vocalist every bit as good as Chastain's Leather or Warlock's Doro, in fact I will say Erika may be the finest female singer around right now. Going beyond the silly opera metal that seems to be rearing it's ugly head, Swinnich goes in for the kill, using her powerful pipes to raise the bar one more level. At times her register can reach Halford type highs, other times her voice is rather low and sadistic, a finely tuned weapon that can please just about any metal fan. Backing the fabulous voice is the lethal guitar combo of Beverly Barrinton and Stuart "Batlord" Laurence, two fine guitarists that hook up on some Maiden styled twin guitar melody often. Rounding out the group is drummer Pat Doyle and bassist Brendon Bigelow.
"Take To The Sky" is just an amazing release from top to bottom, completely filled with that new wave flavor made famous by legends like Priest, Maiden, Saxon, and...well...Grim Reaper. Ignitor put on display what they do best, here just simply in command, creating a powerful sound that fits the old ways of thought but still injects enough modern elements to keep it fresh and updated. Think of groups like Paragon, Grave Digger, Seven Witches, Distant Thunder, etc., and add in a high class vocalist. The record was recorded at The Bat Cave in Austin, Texas and although the album sounds modern it still keeps a raw intensity about it.
Strong opener "Demonslayer" marches to a Megadeth type mood, with big, hooky chops ala Dave Mustaine. A medieval pen is on the move here, drawing in a story of vengeance and fantasy much like the material found in the traditional genre. Erika's powerful pipes lead the way, riding a black forest wind of vengeful wrath. Laurence and Barrinton move this cut into 80s US power thrash ala Omen, Hexx, and the mighty Metal Church. From there comes "Execution", a loosely political message wrapped up in a Teutonic, German approach. "The Grey Ghost" captures that 80s US feel again, really going into a Jag Panzer type of story telling mode. There is plenty of addictive twin guitar melody on the move here. The album's title track is just Manowar worship, a high frenzy metal anthem that just sticks. The huge epic number "The Last King Tiger" is probably one of my favorites of the release, again showcasing that classic story telling made famous by the likes of Maiden and Saxon years ago. The release ends on a slightly more hard rock note with "Lean Mean Leather Machine", a cut that is inspired by the likes of Accept and Scorpions.
This year has been amazing for little bands like Ignitor, and I use the term little loosely here, simply referring to the thought pattern that nobody knows who Ignitor is. Nobody out there is talking about the fabulous lot of great metal bands roaming the wastelands in search of a stage or an audience. This year I've run across a ton of great new acts, with the likes of Icarus Witch, Groundcrew, Thunderblast, Kinrick, and Omegalord taking the top tier for the moment. But just like everything else, there always seems to be another stalker on the way, ready to unload their proverbial goods in grand fashion. Ignitor just broke the horizon.
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