I sometimes wonder what motivates individuals to be in a band full-time. That's a lot of devotion to one thing, and it comes with a lot of sacrifice, especially if you're a younger band. Well, Ignite the Will have recently made the decision to become a full-time band and their reasoning is as good as I've ever heard: "We would like to spend our time touring the country, participating in what can be a genuine and earnest subculture which allows us to exchange ideas, make friendships, and express a full spectrum of emotions."
Words Fail is the band's debut full-length, following up an EP that was released in 2004. The album begins with "The Bystander Effect," a two-and-half minute cut of punishing metallic hardcore. The sound is very much in line with 90's heroes Damnation AD while vocalist Matt Johnson is vaguely reminiscent of Remember Never's Pete Kowalsky. While the band only utilizes one guitarist, Chris Burrough, the sound is still very thick sounding and does not suffer. "Worn Thin" follows in a similar light, though the pace seems slightly quicker than its predecessor thanks to Seth Campbell's frequent use of the snare throughout.
One thing that seems to make Ignite the Will so unique is that they don't rely on breakdowns. Sure they have songs that feature them, but they're not predictable like a good number of bands these days. A lot of bands have that huge build-up and slowing of the song with lots of cymbal crashes just before they "set things off." You know what I'm talking about. Well, Ignite the Will just write them into their songs. "Face Value" is a good example of that.
Ignite the Will continue to churn out some quick cuts, clocking in around the two-minute mark, of fast and aggressive hardcore that had me mentally referencing Another Victim. They do also throw in "Rise or Fall," a song that winds up tracking in at over four minutes. Surprisingly, even though it's twice as long as most of the songs here, it flies by thanks to an awesome break in the middle of the track and a pummeling breakdown to close things out.
Lyrically, Ignite the Will shines above a great number of their peers. Johnson tackles some unique topics. "Passing the Time" touches on the middle class status quo while "Of, by, and for the People" touches on reactions to our current political course. In addition to the political, Johnson hits more personal topics like betrayal - "Disguises" - and forgiveness - "Face Value."
Where I feel Words Fail faults is that, as the album unfolds, the songs seem a little repetitive. That isn't to say that they're carbon copies, there just isn't much experimentation in songwriting save for the album's final song, "Drowning." I'm well aware that hardcore is pretty cut and dry, but a little bit of noodling goes a long way.
The recording, courtesy of Andy Vickery of Embrace Today, and mastering job by Kurt Ballou are quite good. The mix of instruments and vocals is spot on, neither is too overbearing. Though, the bass is pretty much inaudible in the mix throughout the entire album.
Taking it all in, Words Fail, is an impressive full-length effort from a group of guys playing music for all the right reasons. They're not out to make millions, they're writing songs with meaning and looking forward to sharing show experiences across the globe.
7.5 / 10
I don't think I'm the first metal critic to acknowledge that they haven't been keeping up with Paradise Lost as well as they should have over the years. I feel like this is a ...
The darkest colours of our world are reflected in the glistening surface of Paradise Lost’s music; the shining pain of loss, the radiant horror of a God who has abandoned ...
Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:
Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.