Ion Vein – Ion Vein (Mortal Music)Thursday, 28th August 2014
It should be stated that power/progressive is a genre that this reviewer is quite finicky about. While the genre certainly has its merits and there are some high quality bands well worth checking out, it’s easier to be drawn away in favor of some more bludgeoning treatment that the more extreme metal genres provide. For this reason alone, Ion Vein is an under-rated act more than worthy of your time, providing a flavor akin to Nevermore and Fates Warning that is begging for a wider audience.
What makes Ion Vein so good then? For starters, there is a grittier approach to songwriting here than you’ll usually find within power/progressive. The guitars have some serious crunch factor to them, and Neil Kernon’s production job is as stellar here as always. This is the type of power/progressive that will put you into the headbanging mindset. The song lengths never scurry towards the “9-minute prog-fest,” rather focusing on the short and sweet, offering 12 thoroughly digestible tracks that never linger past their prime. The standout track, “Face the Truth” nicely sums up what Ion Vein are all about. A wicked opening riff that hits hard and heavy, excellent leadwork, and a catchy chorus featuring Scott Featherstone’s memorable vocalwork. Featherstone also utilizes a more aggressive tone than many of his peers, giving the songs some added power while not pushing things too far to alienate genre fans.
Having spent over 10 years between Ion Vein and their last full-length effort, Reigning Memories, it’s clear that all obstacles in the band’s path were surmounted with ease and the band is in top form. Ion Vein is the type of album that is able to please everyone without watering down their true intentions: melodic and catchy enough for power/prog fans while providing the power needed to draw in the more extreme crowd. A true diamond in the rough.