It's been 11 years, but Chicago's underrated power metal act Ion Vein have finally released their follow-up to 2003's Reigning Memories, and first full-length with vocalist Scott Featherstone. Produced, recorded, and mixed by Neil Kernon, Ion Vein is a smoldering platter of classic sounding heavy metal, and includes all the six songs from from the IV v1.0 & IV v2.0 EP releases from 2011 and 2012 (remixed & remastered) plus six new songs. Along with Featherstone, the band features Chris Lotesto (guitar), Chuck White (drums), Brian Gordon (bass -studio), Rich Knight (live guitar), and
Rob Such (live bass).
It's not hard to describe the music of Ion Vein other than to say it's classic US power metal. No dungeons & dragons here, no symphonic arrangements, just blistering, crunchy guitar riffs, powerful rhythms, strong vocals, and plenty of catchy melodies. For reference, the band is not far in scope from acts such as Nevermore, Savatage, Circle II Circle, or Brainstorm, so expect classy, powerful metal music all the way. Featherstone is a really good fit for the band, as he soars on such muscular tracks as "Face the Truth", "Seamless (A Transition of the Mind)", and the vibrant, metallic opener "Fools Parade". For pure headbanging fury, check out the crushing "Love/Hate", complete with some vicious riffing from Lotesto, as well as the ripping "Anger Inside", another tune with some well crafted riffs that also features a potent vocal from Featherstone. The more atmospheric "Alone" is one of the albums progressive tracks, as darker musical passages, complex rhythms, and some fine acoustic guitar textures combine for a varied listening experience. The presence of Kernon can really be felt on the wonderful "In the End", a metal tune that is just so crisp & crunchy, with a guitar sound to die for. It's trademark Kernon production values, and he's such as great fit for this band.
Let's hope that it's not such a long wait for Ion Vein's follow-up to this stellar self-titled release. For now though, we've got lots of time to spend with this barnburner of an album.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1 Fools Parade
2 Seamless (A Transition of the Mind)
4 This Is Me
5 Face the Truth
7 Anger Inside
8 Take Me From This Dream
10 The Will of One
11 In the End
12 Twist of Fate