Bring on the full return
If there was ever a band that has been plagued by every bit of bad luck possible, it would have to be Chicago (Illinois, U.S.) act Ion Vein. Founded way back in 1994 out of the ashes of Latent Fury, Ion Vein were creating a fair amount of buzz in the underground with the release of two demos (1997 and 1999), with many hailing the band as one to watch, and potentially the next big thing.
Despite failing to capture the attention of labels at the time, the band released their debut full-length effort Beyond Tomorrow in 1999 to critical acclaim. Although the band weren’t able to secure a major label deal, they scored some high profile gigs, and took out plenty of awards for their album at end of year polls. In the four years between album releases, the band appeared on several tribute albums (most of them through Dwell Records) and maintained a presence on the live circuit. In 2003, Ion Vein finally released their sophomore effort Reigning Memories, which again drew critical acclaim, but failed to attract a major label support. But in the years since the release of Reigning Memories, Ion Vein has suffered considerable line-up changes, weathered a partnership with a label that promised much, but delivered little (Now & Then Records), inevitably leaving guitarist Chris Lotesto as the only original member left to rebuild the band from scratch.
Well, it’s taken more years than expected, but Lotesto has assembled a new look Ion Vein (joining Lotesto is ex-Enertia/Attica vocalist Scott Featherstone, ex-Syris/Twelfth Gate bassist Rob Such and ex-Michael Angelo Batio/Winterkill/Spirit Web drummer Chuck White), and together they’ve finally put together a new E.P. in IV v1.0.
In partnership with Mortal Music, and part of an ongoing series of digital only releases to reintroduce the band to audiences, ‘IV v1.0’ is a taste of what the band hopes will be a full-length release in the near future. And what a taste it is!
The opening track of this three track E.P. is Enough, and it’s the perfect introduction to Ion Vein’s modern brand of progressive/heavy/power metal. Produced, engineered and mixed by Neil Kernon (who worked with the band on Reigning Memories), Enough immediately hits you with its great sound. But aside from sound, it’s Lotesto thick and powerful riffs that stand out, and when coupled with Featherstone’s strong and equally powerful vocals, it makes for a perfect union. Strong, grooving and razor sharp, Enough is a killer progressive/power metal track, and the perfect reintroduction of Ion Vein.
Love/Hate does take on a bit more of a progressive edge with some great distinctions between the faster verses and slower choruses, while the final track Anger Inside is an all-out speeding assault, with Lotesto’s solo and White’s punishing performance behind the kit real stand outs.
After years of false starts and roadblocks, Ion Vein is back – and in a major way! The only shame is that it’s taken so long, and IV v1.0 is all we have to enjoy at this point in time. But if things go according to plan, Ion Vein’s full-length effort will see the light of day in the near future, and that this teaser E.P. is just a start to what I can only hope is a killer release.
(Majesphere Records/Mortal Music)