F U L L . R E V I E W S

Ignitor - Take To The Sky - 2004 - Self Released

Track Listing
1. Demon Slayer
2. Execution
3. The Grey Ghost
4. Take To The Sky
5. The Last King Tiger
6. Lean Mean Leather Machine
Good God almighty! What a hulking, metal beast from the sky, divebombing just about everyone around them with a sonic earthquake of epic proportions. Ignitor do more than just "Take To The Sky", instead going out of the galaxy, gaining serious momentum for a rapid re-entry into our atmosphere. With their six track EP, this classic unit of Texas metal bangers launch into an assault of heavyweight batterings.

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.

--EC 05.30.05
About this Writer:
Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has contributed to MaximumMetal.com since it's conception in 2003. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia. You can also find him on his paperbackwarrior.com blog discussing all things action and adventure.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.

Take To The SkyIgnitor
Eric Compton6/9/2005

Haunted by Rock & RollIgnitor
Eric Compton3/1/2018

Erika SwinnichIgnitorChris Galea1/1/2006


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