Ignitor, "Road of Bones"
Ignitor is a five-piece out of Texas playing traditional metal and this is their second release since forming back in 2004. The band is fronted by vocalist Erika who has a super set of pipes and her delivery evokes memories of the best of America's underground sensations from the '80s. The lady has a solid, clean delivery backed up with menacing grit and displays an impressive range with killer control. In short, she can belt it out with the best of them while maintaining her own identity. I got a kick out of how she rolls her "r"s (the Germanic metal hordes will love that - and she may be a Deutschlander herself since she speaks and sings the mother tongue on the final track, "Reinheitsgebot"). I also dig the deadpan delivery she uses from time to time which gives her upper register shrieking all the more oomph. The only thing that she does that makes me cringe is a rare bit of falsetto - but thankfully it is rare. The musicians have all the old school chops down to a tee (and it can be fun to play "name the classic riff that was turned on its ear"). The gutiar work is punchy and vibrant and leads to many a head-bobbin' moments (not to mention urges to raise fists and steins). There's some quirky bits of off-kilter timing that also had me smiling. Guitar solos, when utilized, are usually short and sweet, ranging from simple melody lines to frantic, speed-picked nonsense that's still a bit of fun. Production is solid and the mix is good until the "gang" backing vocals come into play. Unfortunately this is supposed to be an aspect of a song meant to invoke power and might but instead comes off as impotent - it doesn't sound like a band of merry barbarians have arrived to rape and pillage and swig a few beers with you (as on HammerFall's "Legacy of Kings" album), instead it sounds like the mob scared the engineer and he ran off and took the volume knob with him. It's a pity, but not a deal-killer since lots of bands screw this up (gods know why). Anyway, for fans of modern classic bands like Slough Feg and Wolf, Ignitor is another group to add to your "buy" list.