Igniter (CI/Decadent Suite Records)
Nobody will ever accuse Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s AN EARLY ENDING of not understanding irony or taking anything for granted. The metalcore loving five-some was on tour in 2009 when their van was in a head on collision that was nearly fatal to the entire band and their crew. Joke all you want, but there is a certain fragility to life on the road and people who play music for a living often never think of the worst case scenario until they are faced with life or death choices. In the meantime the band dusted themselves off and hit the comeback trail. In the tradition of comeback stories they have put out their next full length, Igniter, certainly shaped by their experiences.
After the dramatic opening of the album intro the band slams into the title track with abandon. Playing a mix of metalcore and active rock, the band is quite tuneful and melodic. When they kick their more metal style of riffs, front man Alex Runk shifts from his high singing voice to quite a good hardcore guttural vocal style. He has a deep, bassy growl that gives the band most of its toughness. The song is what you would expect with catchy choruses and a breakdown. Second track “I Won’t Illuminate This” has some interesting elements added to the bands core style including some studio effects and programming tricks. Runk again is the focal point. The are some cool colors added by guitarist Greg Hildebrand that add to the quality of the song. The breakdown shifts back and forth between heavy and melodic. Drummer Logan Summey is solid and lays down a strong foundation for the band. “Dead Eyes” is the albums most brutal track with cool metallic riffage. The big sweeping chorus comes in and lifts the track up a notch with some great double tracked lead vocals. Conversely “Only Way” is the albums most catchy, yet least metal song. It is closer to pop punk than anything with an edge. Next cut “Breath” is much stronger and has a lot of cross over elements. The band is not short on talent, but this is where the album seemed a bit repetitive to me. “Powerless Monster” is the third best song on the album with an excellent main riff, another huge sing-a-long refrain and some more fine guitar antics. “Home (The End)” is the albums closer and has some interesting elements going on with piano and some weird effects. Despite being fairly middle of the road musically, there are some fine songs on here and good performances overall. A solid return for AEE who will likely go on to make some major inroads with the cool kids set due to their ability to write great melodies.
By Keith (Keefy) Chachkes