Nearly missing in action, at least in terms of a studio album, has been Chicago's Ion Vein. Their last album was better than ten years ago. But founder and guitarist Chris Lotesto, drummer Chuck White, and new vocalist Scott Featherstone (also Enertia) haven't been silent. In 2011 and 2012 they released two digital only three song EPs. All six songs from both, and six new songs, are found on the band's self-titled comeback album, Ion Vein.
The songs within are a solid mixture of classic American heavy, power, and thrash metal, wrapped in groove and melody, with Lotesto's spry riffage and sharp solos a significant feature. Featherstone has a clean vocal style, yet with a certain degree of coarseness, maybe even a little screamo at times. For me, it took some time getting used, but he has a firm and powerful delivery. Some might even think he has a more 'modern' metal presentation.
Mostly, it's the character of Ion Vein's metal that gets your attention. Their strengths begin in a very basic place: a bold and sturdy rhythm section working with a hefty wall of riffage, making every song heavy without being abrasive (like modern metal). For his part, White's drum work is particular promising and interesting throughout, with notable performances within Enough, Anger Inside, and Seamless. He reminds me of drum player's drummer.
Also, the song composition, arrangements, as it were, are varied throughout. Sometimes there's a straight forward metal presentation like the steady movement of This Is Me. Other times, and mostly, the songs mix tempos with effortless ease bringing some speed and thrash to the table and then backing off as within Face The Truth, Anger Inside, The Will of One or, perhaps the best example, Alone (listen below). That song contrasts sharp riffs and mixed tempos with some lighter guitar parts at the start and in a latter breakdown. It's also a fine example of how passionate Featherstone can be in his vocal delivery. At the very least, it convinced me of his talent, while I was mostly ambivalent.
Throughout Lotesto doesn't disappoint in the least. Beyond his churning riffs that propel each song, his leads are bright, engaging, and pleasantly dissimilar across the entire album. While the song is definitely the thing, the glue that holds the parts together, Lotesto's guitar work is significant enough to call this a guitar-centered album. If you're an aspiring guitar player or simplydig well-crafted lead guitar, this album deserves your attention. Finally, kudos go to the band and their production team, Neil Kernon and Alan Douches, who simply make Ion Vein sound terrific, crisp and vibrant without sounding Nashville contrived or auto-tuned. If you've missed them or simply wanted more than those digital downloads of past years, you'll enjoy Ion Vein's fine heavy metal return. Recommended.
If you've missed them or simply wanted more than those digital downloads of past years, you'll enjoy Ion Vein's fine heavy metal return. Recommended.
Mat Sinner is both an icon and legend in the German, and the larger European, hard rock and heavy metal scene. Cranking out music since 1982, Sinner is an industrious and prolific musician and producer whether through his namesake band, the heavy metal heroes Primal ... [ Read More ]