Ion Vein – IV v2.0 (Mortal Music)

Wednesday, 27th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

In these digital media-driven times, bands need to rethink their release strategy to minimize costly risks for maximum promotional impact. In the case of Illinois’ Ion Vein, they are employing a similar tact as Down in the sense of putting out three or four songs at a time, as IV v2.0 is the second in their digital release series since the acquisition of former Enertia vocalist Scott Featherstone and Twelfth Gate bassist Rob Such. Once the last digital release hits the market, the band will collect the material as their third album for a physical product – but for the time being, these 3 new tracks “Seemless,” “Fools Parade,” and “This Is Me” get a thorough examination.

Previous Ion Vein efforts placed the band in that progressive power metal category – elements of Ray Alder/ Fates Warning and Queensryche (first EP and three albums) came into play, especially on the impressing Reigning Memoriesfull length of 2005. Right from the start on “Seemless,” the guitar attack of Chris Lotesto is much thicker and aggressive – the riff shifts much like a tidal wave giving Featherstone a perfect backdrop to scream and sing with this classic hard rock-meets-Eric AK finesse. “Fools Parade” is a double bass-fueled power effort with some killer fill parts from Chuck White, almost a modern fusion of Armored Saint with Anthrax as well as a sick lead section out of axe master Lotesto.

The final cut “This Is Me” is the moodiest of the bunch, a slow subtle crunch groove penetrating the sonic landscape, one I can sense meeting immediate approval as the soulful chorus from Featherstone brings the hook home (along with the ‘hey’ background chanting). Grammy winning producer Neil Kernon has that Midas metal touch behind the boards, and I believe that Ion Vein make an adequate turn in style without completely abandoning their roots on IV v2.0. Do not let the American scene be cast into oblivion. Ion Vein work hard at their craft and deliver professional songwriting with the right current elements to expand their following.

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