It is no surprise that I have been seeing the band Ignition Point pop up more and more lately. With an energetic live show and a knack for metalcore tendencies, the band are sure to be a hit with the Pittsburgh metal scene as they grow. I’ve always considered these guys a sort of hidden gem, as they have some time under their belts. With an album like “Natural Causes”, it evades me why they haven’t blown up in popularity.
“Natural Causes” is a melting pot of subgenres within the Metalcore genre. The album is almost an homage to mid 00’s era metalcore, laced with other influences such a power metal just underneath the surface. The songwriting throughout the album is nothing short of spectacular. The band constructs the songs in a conventional fashion, making it easy to follow along, yet oftentimes implement progressive passages in compositions that transition smoothly, adding a great dose of dynamic. A good comparison of this would be the metalcore flexings of A Day to Remember mixed with the technical prowess of “Waking the Fallen” era Avenges Sevenfold. The vocals display a good balance of harsh screams and higher end melodic vocals that are a staple of the genre, and they are done quite well. The harsh vocals tend to stick to a higher shriek comparable to Dan Weyandt of Zao or Dallas Taylor from early Underoath. The clean vocals offer a good contrast in the tenor range, mixing in an almost 80’s power metal influence with the cleaner emo vocal style of, say, The Devil Wears Prada. Production on the albums has a raw, underground feel to it: very gritty and dense, but smooth on the ears as well.
Opening track “Jormungandr Part 1 and 2” kicks the album off in the right fashion: galloping octave chords and swaggering rhythms hit full force as scathing shrieks throw down, displaying the album’s aural assault. The song flows with pinash and an intensity that will go on to carry throughout the rest of the album. The dual vocals work really well with this track, as the clean vocals pierce and wail with as much intensity as the harsh vocals, creating a tug of war during the track’s 6-minute duration. Ignition Point make great use of dynamic and tone things down with a haunting interlude midway through the track before coming back full force and swinging. “Tigress” is another track that shows the bands knack for solid songwriting, sounding like a love child of Avenged Sevenfold and Metallica in it’s instrumental dexterity. This song really showcases the guitars, and damn is there some tasty neo metal wrapped up in it. Great uses of melody and brutality wrapped up in one as the band thrash and crash their way through this monster of a track. The dual vocals are in full force and do a damned fine job of matching the musical soundscape. “Boohag” is possibly one of the heaviest cuts with its mid paced drawl and chugging. The vocals switch it up a little more with the harsh vocals by adding in some gang vocals to carry the hook which brings a welcome change of pace. While not quite as impressive musically as the other songs, it’s catchy track that is sure to get the blood flowing and shows off another side of the band. Finally, “Legion” brings the album to a close, coming from every angle the band have hit with thus far. By far the star cut of the album, the song plays back and forth on a dynamic pull of pseudo-metalcore and old school shred ala Iron Maiden. The dual lead guitar outro will have you riffing air guitar for days with it’s slick, melodic leads.
Ignition Point has an impressive debut. Despite being a little dated in sound, the band’s strong and sophisticated songwriting hit in all the right places. Be sure to catch them this Saturday September 28th at the Funhouse at Mr. Smalls with metalcore heavyweights Gator Shakes, Everyone Hates Everything, and Plagueist. Bring a helmet and prepare to get your mosh on at this show; I expect the pit to be in full force.