The Spider Queen


Someone comes and says that IGNITOR is a band from Austin from Texas and plays […]
By Yiannis Doukas
August 31, 2009
Ignitor - The Spider Queen album cover

Someone comes and says that IGNITOR is a band from Austin from Texas and plays classic Heavy Metal. Well, you think, these lads will surely be good. I don't know, maybe there is something in the ground there and especially in the 80s; one great group came after the other.
Yes, IGNITOR are not bad. They formed in 2003 and 'till now have released two albums, the Take To The Sky album in 2004 and Road Of Bones in 2007, including good Heavy Metal music with some bearably female vocals from Erika Swinnich, but being in almost amateurish levels. And here comes the boom, since in their new album the singer is no other than Jason McMaster, the guy behind the super vocals of WATCHTOWER's Energetic Disassembly album, who is being considered by many as the original singer of them; yes it is absolutely sure that also Tecchio is a God, OK.
The signs for The Spider Queen are indeed good. The whole album, now that I'm listening to it half a hundred times, surely leaves me gratified but I cannot hide the fact that I expected something better since there are enough details that could have been worked more actively from the band.
Despite their clear 80s aesthetics this group is not just a tribute to the old days. They start from the IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, OMEN and CHASTEIN melodies' base but they have the modern power of BRAINSTORM, a lot of GRAVE DIGGER things plus some from the Ripper period of PRIEST. This disc is a concept (the topic is unknown to me, don't have the lyrics), following a narrative path with a miscellany of tempos and disposals in every song.
Magnus Opus: Enters with killer riffs and there comes the Jason's maniacal voice. He screams, he sings, he has melody inside the guy and is a ripping war machine. A good song with the exception of a part after the second refrain where some melodic parts do not fit with the screaming voice. This, plus the absence of solos makes Magnus Opus a little bit weak.  
Without solo is also Evil Calling, which will bring you close to the Jugulator and Demolition era of JUDAS PRIEST. The voice follows similar paths as Ripper's, while the basic, without frill structure of the song leaves free space for an orgiastic performance by McMaster. From the lower parts till high to the sky, you will have a shock here dudes. The only thing, I repeat, is that they forget to include a solo so the song seems incomplete.
A more melodic aspect comes with I Never Knew; a well-written pre-chorus but the chorus is horrible (the details I mentioned before). The song gets badly injured with this and it cannot reach the expected peak. For the first time the guitars get ablaze, we have a solo and then a full of sharp razors riffing follows with some vocals from a throat that spit blood.
During The Games Begin the vocal changes will take the mind of the listener. Driving from Chris Boltendahl to Halford and - the most important - having a perfect refrain, it smells Texas Metal from miles away. But would it be tiring if I say that although I expected a maniacal guitar assault with fiery solos nothing of all this happened? What the hell, are they in squabble with their guitars?
Good melodies are also inside Angels Descend, a very powerful track; the whole album takes a route to the maximum pleasure. The self-titled cut begins with an inspired riff and again the dark refrain will remind you of Texas. Rune Of Power and What Love Denies stand very strong, while the Construct Of Destruction shows the power of the band and their look towards the modern Metal scene. McMaster sings with relative calmness the My Heart Turns To Dust 'almost ballad' making it awesome, and - last - inside Dynasty Of Darkness there is a tornado of PRIEST, 80s American Metal, leather, spikes and all the good things. Perfect ending.
Logically speaking, we could easily place The Spider Queen as their best work 'till now, mostly cause of the vocals. McMaster looks many times like a savage beast ready to swallow you, either moving in parallel with the music or in incongruity and that's something that must be normalized in further albums, musically speaking. Add to this the out-of-balance focus to a lot of harmonies; I think an enrichment with good solos would surely upgrade the album.

7 / 10


"The Spider Queen" Track-listing:

Magnus Opus
Evil Calling
I Never Knew
The Games Begin
Angels Descend
The Spider Queen
Rune Of Power
What Love Denies
Construct Of Destruction
My Heart Turns To Dust
Dynasty Of Darkness

Ignitor Lineup:

Jason McMaster - Vocals
Stewart Lawrence - Guitar
Beverly Barrington - Guitar
Brendon Bigelow - Bass
Pat Doyle - Drums

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