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NO LIFE ‘TIL LEATHER: Ignitor, from left to right, is drummer Pat Doyle, singer Jason McMaster, guitarist Bev Barrington, guitarist Stuart “Batlord” Laurence and bassist Brendon Bigelow.

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METAL GODS: Ignitor’s ‘Mix Tape ’85’ features remakes of tracks by Accept, Exodus, Judas Priest and others.

By Metal Dave

While most tribute albums are obvious contractual jailbreaks, Ignitor’s “Mix Tape ‘85” comes off like a license to kill. Why be Poison when you can be Venom?

Looking past overbaked heroes like Van Halen, KISS and AC/DC, Ignitor mines the darker corners of the heavy metal underground and breathes new fire into leather-and-spikes cult bands like Accept, (“Fast as a Shark”), Venom (“Witching Hour”), Exciter (“Violence and Force”), Exodus (“A Lesson in Violence”) and Mercyful Fate (“Into the Coven”).

As if these songs could be any better, Ignitor exceeds their original speed limits and adds the familiar shriek of singer Jason McMaster (Watchtower, Dangerous Toys, Broken Teeth, Evil United). Somewhere Slayer is smiling.

The more familiar bands on “Mix Tape ‘85” get added horsepower and custom flame jobs. Anthrax? “Deathrider” never sounded so good. Judas Priest? “Hellbent for Leather” never gets old. Deep Purple? “Highway Star” chugs past the checkered flag and over a cliff courtesy of double-kick drumming by Pat Doyle and some knuckle-snapping fret destruction by former Agony Column guitarist Stuart Laurence.

When it’s all said and done, anyone who’s ever defiled an algebra book with a pentagram will find plenty to like on Ignitor’s return to the old school.

* Overall Grade: A
* Favorite Tracks: “Violence and Force,” “Deathrider” “Fast as a Shark”
* For Fans of: Bullet belts, back patches, Megaforce Records

For Ignitor interviews, song samples and more info, go here