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Ion Vein: Reigning Memories

I can't believe such a great band is still not signed to a decent label that could support them and promote them a little better. There are so many average bands out there with great contracts, yet all they do is put out mediocre material at best. On the other hand, there are bands like Ion Vein who, despite their amazing sophomore album Reigning Memories, are still going as an independent band.

After appearing on various tribute albums for bands such as Queensryche, King Diamond, Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne, and Dio, Ion Vein finally released their first album Beyond Tomorrow, which was a very good release but failed to bring them much critical acclaim. Now with Reigning Memories and the addition of producer Neil Kernon who formerly produced albums by Judas Priest, Queensryche, Nevermore and Spiral Architect to name a few, they have returned with a killer album: Reigning Memories. It's been 4 years since the debut came out but the long wait was definitely worth it.

What does Ion Vein sound like? They are a talented heavy metal band strictly rooted in the mid-80's prog metal and borrow influences from early Queensryche, Fates Warning and Crimson Glory regarding their song structures. Musically they also share characteristics with bands like Iron Maiden (the fiery double guitar work), Nevermore (the overall dark feel), mid-90's era Iced Earth (the heavy rhythm work). Remember The Warning-era Queensryche? Try to think of them with a perfect production, more twisted prog structures, a less high-pitched singer, and a more competitive drummer and bassist. Guitarists Chris Lotesto and John Malufka are a great duo playing powerful riffs, haunting guitar solos, and very catchy melodies. The intricate playing is stunning. Vocalist Russ Klimczak is a fantastic singer. While he has a voice all his own, he strangely reminds me of one of my favourite prog metal singers Keith Sudano from Eternity X. Not necessarily in tone but dynamics. Geoff Tate and Ray Alder also come to mind at times, though Russ' voice doesn't really sound like anyone else's I've heard recently. He delivers each song with tons of emotion and pours out his heart every time. Drummer Scott Lang provides some of the most interesting fills and rolls and the perfect production with the crisp sound just makes things better. Bassist Brian Gordon is listed as an additional musician in the booklet as he was no longer a member when this was recorded. Chris Lotesto also plays the keyboards, although there isn't much of it on this 64-minute disc.

This is foremost a pure heavy metal album with subtle progressive overtones. The music simply echoes the glory days of Queensryche when they were one of the most unique bands on the planet. It's a shame that this Chicago-based band might go unnoticed for a few more years, but I'm sure they'll be discovered sooner or later.

The lyrics reflect a dark and introspective look at life and it is easy to relate to them. The "Adrian's Ladder" trilogy toward the end is very moving and epic in feel and masterfully crafted. After the short instrumental intro, "Another Life" provides a perfect introduction to the band's sound. The twin guitar work is jaw-dropping and the vocals send shivers down your spine. The catchy yet unpredictable writing of "The Power of You", the killer vocal harmonizing of "Faith and Majesty" (thus the Keith Sudano resemblance), the saxophone-supported acoustic ballad "Twilight Garden" and the insanely unusual and technical prog masterpiece "Reigning Memories" are just some of the great songs on this CD. Do yourself and this band a favor - buy this CD. You will be thankful forever.

Track Listing:

  1. Awakening 0:54
  2. Another Life 6:00
  3. Spiral Maze 5:46
  4. The Power of You 5:13
  5. Faith and Majesty 4:57
  6. Edge of Forever 5:55
  7. Twilight Garden 4:35
  8. Reigning Memories 8:38
  9. Adrian's Ladder Trilogy
  10. Part I - From Inside the Mirror 6:23
  11. Part II - Timeless 1:34
  12. Part III - Every time it Rains 5:09
  13. The Future is Now 9:13

Added: March 20th 2005
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
Related Link: Ion Vein's Web Site
Hits: 4696
Language: english

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