DVD Review: Ignite – “Our Darkest Days Live”

6 years after the album Our Darkest Days was released and 4 years after the live show was recorded, Ignite has finally released their Our Darkest Days Live DVD. Seriously, when the album was released in May 2006 it was before YouTube and Facebook really took off. When this show was recorded in Leipzig, Germany in April 2008 it was half a year before the election that made Barack Obama the President (Zoli talks about the “upcoming” election at one point). But that just seems to be Ignite’s M.O.: taking their sweet ass time and then delivering a quality product. But still, before the last few years of Zoli’s Pennywise duties and Nations Afire’s beginnings getting in the way, it’s a wonder how they’ve been around for 18 years and only put out 3 full-length albums.

Thankfully, this CD/DVD package was worth the wait. Ignite puts on a heartfelt, urgent and energetic performance in front of a crowd seething with movement and passion. Zoli’s voice holds up surprisingly well, though you’ll often hear him singing his album parts a bit differently. The band keeps things fresh by taking liberties with their own songs such as extending the bridge in “Judgment Day” and busting out an awesome new intro to “Let it Burn”. The lengthy set list covers their three albums beautifully and has some good areas that provide some variation to the standard hardcore punk atmosphere. There’s a two-song acoustic mini-set with an unplugged version of “Slowdown” (which although great, doesn’t quite reach the heights of the plugged-in version) and the moving “Live For Better Days” as well as the U2 cover “Sunday, Bloody Sunday”. Zoli is pretty much the Bono of punk rock, so it’s fitting.

There’s a minimum of hardcore preaching from the band, though in the interim between the main set and the encore, a dude from some whale conservation society presents a pretty graphic video about the evils of whaling. That’s probably the most in-your-face preaching I’ve ever seen on a DVD.

The package comes in a regular jewel case with a DVD and CD of the entire live performance adding some good value to the package. There’s great clarity in the audio capture and very good video quality despite the fact that it’s not HD. The editing of the video is reliant on super-fast switches between video feeds which sometimes sometimes comes across as a bit schizophrenic.

The DVD has a pretty standard set-up with the option to play the movie, switch between chapters and watch bonus features. The bonus features consist of a half-hour documentary on the making of Our Darkest Days with some interesting tid-bits of information about the album and the band members. As you might imagine, the DVD’s soundtrack is pretty kick-ass. There’s also an entertaining ‘making of’ the “Bleeding” music video and the full video for “Bleeding” and “Slow Down”.

This is a great DVD for fans of Ignite, Nations Afire, Pennywise or melodic hardcore in general and the live CD that comes with it makes it portable and a total home run package.

Set list is here.

Intro (Our Darkest Days)
Fear Is Our Tradition
Who Sold Out Now?
A Place Called Home
My Judgement Day
Are You Listening?
Let It Burn
Bullets Included No Thought Required
Know Your History
By My Side
Ash Return
In My Time
Burned Up
Poverty For All
Sunday Bloody Sunday
(U2 cover)
Live For Better Days

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