Every now and then I've been scavenging for some good North American heavy metal, with varying results. The bands including have been e.g. Jag Panzer, (The Lord Weird) Slough Feg, Pharaoh and Crescent Shield. I remember excavating Texan Ignitor's sophomore platter 'Road of Bones' for a cheap expense. When it finally arrived for my examination, I wasn't too keen of what I found there. On to the shelves of my lesser hoard it was stored.
Some years later I decided to give the album a spin or two, just to find out if I should get rid of this "gem" or not. My reexamination proved to be far more productive than the first round. Actually it totally beats me, how the hell can this sound so cool now! The name of the game is true heavy metal, bonafide US way (okay, we got one song in German, but...). It might happen, that the album will lay on a table in sunlight, because being in prolonged listening and its colors will fade away slowly...
Joe Petagno's artwork gives both, cold and warm sensations, so it must work. There are three fellows walking during winter into a cave adored in skulls, and from inside comes a glow of fire. The band logo is, simply put, awesome. The band portrait shows a quartet with two females. Now that made this even more interesting. Vocalist Erika Tandy Swinnich is known for her time in darkwavers Autumn Leaves. Here Erika sounds pretty voracious and truculent, as she snarls and strains her vocal cords. Huntress' Jill Janus is something that comes to my mind of Erika, only forgetting Janus' more rougher stylings. Generally, Erika's vocals are a double-edged sword.
Musically, the album starts with an ambient intro with fitting with the cover, and the title track follows. Its' lyrics are based on the book "In Siberia" by Colin Thubron. Speed metal guitar shredding meet heavy metal ethics. The lyrics paint a picture of cold Russian area, but the song is passionate. The feel of passion is generally strong throughout the album, even though the production values are somewhat weak. The sound lacks of true power and punch, while it all is pretty clear. Especially the guitars are biteless. The band sound hungry, but the sound destroys some of the vitality here. Back to the music now... The band's heavy metal ranges from angry (e.g. the title track and 'Broken Glass') to melodious (e.g. 'March to the Guillotine' and 'Hymn of Erin'), something truly traditional and epic (e.g. 'God of Vengeance'). For their credit, Ignitor don't remind me directly of any other band. It's partly because of female vocals, but also for their skill or luck for not to plagiarize. Compositions-wise, the material is not sharpest ever, but maintains a listener's interest all of +52 minutes of metal. It all feels so ageless. Other lyrical themes are metal music, horror, war and pagan religions.
I recommend 'Road of Bones' to those who like US heavy/traditional metal. The band was on fire here, and the songs are rolling and feature loads of catchy bits. The production is lacking, but other elements patch that glitch up. Take a walk of 'Road of Bones' for some quality entertainment!
Rating: 7+ (out of 10) ratings explained
Reviewed by Lane