Ion Vein

SKU: MVD6298A
Label:
Mortal Music
Category:
Power Metal
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Chicago prog-metal stalwarts Ion Vein are back but with a new game plan.  The music is now very much in the power metal vein and even has a groove to it.  New vocalist Scott Featherstone is a definite step in the right direction.

"ION VEIN's self-titled new album shows the band re-tooled, re-focused and re-energized in a way that captures the essence of their song-oriented and technically-skilled metal intensity. Also, a top notch production drives these pounding, meaty canvases to cut into the very core of your soul, while breathing new life into today's world of music. For fans of Metallica, Dio, Iced Earth and more!"

"The long awaited follow up to 2003's "Reigning Memories" was once again produced, recorded, and mixed by Neil Kernon (Judas Priest, Nevermore, Redemption) and is the first full length album with vocalist, Scott Featherstone, whom the band first debuted on the IV v1.0 and IV v2.0 three song digital EPs released in September 2011 and December 2012 respectively. Additionally, the six songs from those EPs have been re-mixed/re-mastered for inclusion on the full album."

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  • This was formerly known as the Full Power release.At the moment Big Big Train are one of the best prog bands going.  This English crew take some of the best elements of old school Genesis and their ilk and marry it with something very contemporary and relevant.  The band was started years ago by Greg Spawton and Andy Poole.  There were a variety of iterations of the band and as the years went on they got better and better.  If you don't know, their vocalist Dave Longdon was a finalist to replaced Phil Collins in Genesis.  Rutherford and Banks obviously made the wrong choice, going with Ray Wilson instead.  Longdon's vocals remind very much of Gabriela and Collins making the Genesis connection quite easy.  Further on the band added Nick D'Virgilio on drums.  These guys totally grok prog.The band's most recent work was epic in nature.  English Electric was released about six months apart as two separate releases.  Further to this, there were 4 additional tracks which were left off and just released as the Make Some Noise EP."Originally released as two separate albums in 2012 and 2013, the English Electric CD's were subsequently brought together as a limited edition (and now out of print) double album called English Electric Full Power, a release which included four additional songs and a revised track listing from the separate album versions.This new double album version of the English Electric CD's retains the extended track listing of the Full Power release and has been remastered by Rob Aubrey to ensure the songs benefit from even greater dynamic range. It is presented in a softpack with a 40 page booklet."
    $12.00
  • Remastered edition with bonus tracks."Gary Moore's tribute to Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green, Blues for Greeny, is more of a showcase for Moore's skills than Green's songwriting. After all, Green was more famous for his technique than his writing. Consequently, Moore uses Green's songs as a starting point, taking them into new territory with his own style. And Moore positively burns throughout Blues for Greeny, tearing off licks with ferocious intensity. If anything, the album proves that Moore is at his best when interpreting other people's material -- it easily ranks as one of his finest albums." - Allmusic Guide
    $9.00
  • The beauty and the beast wars are over and Epica has won. Until Floor Jansen comes through with her new project we have to consider Simone Simons the last woman standing. This is the band's fifth studio album and probably their most bombastic. Stunning female vocals mixed with death growls and a wall of synthesized orchestrations and power chords. You all know the drill by now. These guys are the masters of the genre.
    $14.00
  • "I can't wait. I should have reviewed other albums before this but it's the first thing that I listen from this artist and I wasn't expecting anything like this. Symphonic orchestral arrangements on melodic bases and a concept behind. I'm not expert in William Blake's poetry but this album has made me curious.The introduction "William" is a symphonic piece of beauty with a guitar of the "not a misplaced note" kind, like Andy Latimer is used to do, some "mute" vocals and a very nice melody. A stunning surprise."Angel Of The Revelation" starts with electronics and piano, then vocals and a proper song starts. The high pitched voice of Sophya joined in a choir by whom? Maybe Sonja Kristina who features in the guests? The guests list is another thing to check. This is a progressive track as I think people usually intends "progressive": sung parts alternated with instrumentals, structured as a suite with different movements and recurring themes. And all in 4 minutes and half."Satan" has an obsessive rhythm and has the theathrical flavor of a rock opera. The electronics behind have a vintage sound but is remarkable the dialogue between guitar and piano before the last sung part and the coda. Another great song."Love Of Hecate" Is a slow waltz. It's folky and theathrical in the same time, with excellent vocals again. The signature changes in the chorus. It's still a 3/4 (almost) but the tempo is accelerated. Vocals like in Mozart's magic flute are replaced by a cymbal, then piano and vocals. Another very complex and "circular" song.Percussive piano and bass with water sounds to start "La Porta Dell'Inferno". This is a little mistake: it's taken from Dante's Comedy, but the door should lead to the "anti-inferno". The first lyrics are taken from Dante, then the man talking leaves the Dante's book to give a different view of the hell's entrance. "Here nothing grows because nothing dies". Another great song with the music perfectly fitting with the concept. The violins support the whole track, choirs, a stupendous coda... Great.After a track like the previous one staying on the same level is very difficult, so the style changes totally. "The Number" is a rock song. Of course the number is 666. It starts hard rock, but with no relations with Iron Maiden, and the rock screamed part is alternated to more quiet and symphonic interludes. The organ is excellent, neither Emerson nor Wakeman, the sound reminds me more to Vitalij Kuprij (Artension)."Just" is opened by percussion, piano and cello. The theme recalls "La Porta Dell'Inferno" but the vocals take a different direction. The song's intro, before the male singing, makes me think to the Russian Iamthemorning, mainly because of the instruments used. However, after 2 minutes the song changes drastically. The impression is still of a rock opera. Remove the metal element from Ayreon and add more symphonics to have an idea. The vocals here are more operatic. Not enough to think to Zeuhl, but enough to enhance the track. Great guitar solo in a Van Halen style which slows down and closes Floydian before the last sung reprise."Cerberus" is the three-headed infernal dog. Keyboard and strings introduce the song which reprises the chords of the main theme. It's on this song that I'm almost sure Sonja Kristina is singing. I don't know it for sure because I have received a download link from Blackwidow records and I haven't seen the notes on the CD. This is a very dark song on which the rock-opera factor is very relevant. I want to add the the most I listen to this album the most I'm surprised. It's surely one of the best albums I've listened to during all the 2013."While He's Sleeping" starts in a weird way respect to the symphonic mood of the previous tracks. It's still classically influenced but has a touch of Canterbury, especially in the melody. Not an easy track, but very enjoyable.Back to full orchestra and theatrical suggestions. "Au Matin Du Premier Jour" (At the morning of the first day) is sung in French by a man who sounds like the chansonniers of the end 50s / early 60s. French and operatic don't mean Magma, but this song has a Zeuhl flavor in the instrumental parts."Beatrice" brings us back to Dante's Comedy. To Paradise now. Her character would deserve some words but this would lead us off topic. Of course there's less darkness now. Piano and ethereal voice for a very melodic song. A Sophya's solo performance and let me add that the sequence of chords deserves a mention. There's plenty of good passages. excellent also from the composition point of view.We are now at the title track. Full orchestra and voice plus some electronics behind. It starts like a symphony and turns into rock. I don't know who's the male singer but his voice is incredible. The mood is still of a rock opera I'm finishing the words...The album is closed by a cover. "Jerusalem" has been played and recorded by the likes of Vangelis, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Par Lindh Project for what I remember. Well, I must say that it's probably the best version that I've heard up to now. It's a new interpretation when the one from Par Lindh was an ELP clone.A masterpiece, amazing because unexpected. How can an artist that I've never heard before have done a thing like this? Symphonic proggers and RPI fans will surely agree with me, but there's so many stuff in this album. It will stay in my portable reader for a very long time, I think." - ProgArchives
    $16.00
  • Iconoclast is Symphony X's 8th album and debut for their new home at Nuclear Blast. All traces of the symphonic neoclassical metal that characterized their sound through V are now gone. The band made a stylistic change with The Odyssey, developed it further with Paradise Lost and now have really locked into their own identity with Iconoclast. It would be simple to call this power metal but you don't have normally hear a guitarist in a power metal band playing they type of leads that Mike Romeo conjures up. He is one of the most inventive guitarists in metal. Combined with Mike Pinella symphonic accents the progressive elements come through loud and clear. There are a lot of great vocalists in metal but some are a little better than others. Then you get vocalists like Jorn Lande and Russell Allen who are a lot better than the others. Allen comes through with another vocal tour de force. Yes I miss the days of Divine Wings Of Tragedy and Twilight In Olympus but I'm on board with the new sound. Its heavier - crunchier - more direct - but never dull. Romeo makes sure of it - he just bludgeons you with creativity. Highly recommended.
    $6.00
  • Remastered edition with bonus tracks."In 1988, few heavy metal bands were comprised of all black members, and fewer had the talent or know-how to inject different musical forms into their hard rock sound (funk, punk, alternative, jazz, soul, rap) -- but N.Y.C.'s Living Colour proved to be an exception. Unlike nearly all of the era's metal bands, the group's music has held up over time, thanks to its originality and execution. Living Colour leader/guitarist Vernon Reid spent years honing his six-string chops, and was one of the most respected guitarists in New York's underground scene. He couldn't have done a better job selecting members for his new rock band -- singer Corey Glover, bassist Muzz Skillings, and drummer Will Calhoun -- as their now-classic debut, Vivid, proves. Though the album was released in mid-1988, it picked up steam slowly, exploding at the year's end with the hit single/MTV anthem "Cult of Personality," which merged an instantly recognizable Reid guitar riff and lyrics that explored the dark side of world leaders past and present (and remains LC's best-known song). The album was also incredibly consistent, as proven by the rocker "Middle Man" (which contains lyrics from a note penned by Glover, in which he pondered suicide), the funky, anti-racist "Funny Vibe," the touching "Open Letter (To a Landlord)," plus the Caribbean rock of "Glamour Boys." Add to it an inspired reading of Talking Heads' "Memories Can't Wait," the Zeppelin-esque "Desperate People," and two complex love songs ("I Want to Know" and "Broken Hearts"), and you have one of the finest hard rock albums of the '80s -- and for that matter, all time." - Allmusic Guide
    $7.00
  • "Supergroups, there are many debates about the supergroups issue, mainly because of the expectations from such bands. What can you do, the moment you take many great and known artists in their field, putting them together, everyone develops major expectations. I wouldn’t want get to the debate about how successful are the supergroup in metal it’s off our topic.CIVIL WAR, formed in 2012 from the greater good of the mighty SABATON, Daniel Mullback, Oskar Montelius , Rikard Sundén and Daniel Mÿhr are all SABATON refuges that left in 2012. In addition, for the frontman position,  an amazing vocalist was selected, probably one of the top voices in the past decade in Metal, and please excuse me Jorn Lande, but I’m talking about Nils Patrik Johansson, known of his earlier works with many bands including ASTRAL DOORS, LION’S SHARE, RUINED SOUL an WUTHERING HEIGHTS, at least for me WUTHERING HEIGHTS is the most important one. Furthermore, Pizza, the bass player, has his fair share of past bands, which some of them are known like CRYONIC TEMPLE. Closing these guys together in a room, what do you think will happen? “The Killer Angels” happened.As you probably guessed already from the SABATON connection what kind of music you are about to listen to, CIVIL WAR are playing what we like to refer to as War Metal, meaning Power Metal with traditional Heavy Metal spiced up with lyrics mainly about wars scouring the history of mankind. Also, as you probably guessed from the band name CIVIL WAR, the lyricism mainly focuses on the American Civil War.So let’s dive into the album, starting from the “King Of The Sun”. You can’t be mistaken with the sound engineering as it is very similar to SABATON’s and I don’t think that it’s a bad thing however the vocal line mattered so be prepared for the punch from Nils Patrik Johansson’s singing.  In the past this guy was referred as the new DIO and I think that once again it didn’t lose its mark, such powerful vocals that molten into the classic guitar and keyboards reverberation. “First To Fight“ sounds like a copycat of SABATON until Johansson singing run, no doubt that his soaring vocals kept this one alive and well.The best song in the album is no doubt “Saint Patrick's Day”, maybe one of the best songs up to this time in 2013 at least for me, with a classic riff and then Johansson provides some versatility in his voice. The man is a god, and I will repeat that if necessary. This song reminds me the work he did on “Wuthering Heights”. “Saint Patrick's Day” is a definitive song in the making and will become an epic Metal hymn, trust me.My surprise came with “Rome Is Falling” with an offbeat so catchy you would start jumping over and over and yet again Johansson won’t stop his crazy act with awesome vocals. Furthermore, great riffing and catchiness, I will be happy to sing the chorus with the band in a live gig. Again and again Johansson fire all guns with amazing vocals, on “I Will Rule The Universe” and in “Lucifer's Court” he also goes even lower with amazing adaptability, wait a second he does it in each and every song and shows that he is a bulletproof vest for every band.Is this a debut album? It’s very hard to say because all the artists in the band are veterans in their field, so it’s like continuing their music from where they stopped. “The Killer Angels” is a killer album, however I do think that Johansson is overpowering the others channels and please guys do something with the drums they sound Dull and empty I am sure the those can sound better." - Metal Temple
    $13.00
  • Never underestimate the difference a good singer can make. Seventh Wonder floundered on their first album, primarily because their singer Andi Kravljaca couldn't carry the load. Out he went - replaced by Tommy Karevick. What a change! Musically the band is a bit like Circus Maximus offering a mix of prog, AOR, and neoclassical metal all pulled together in an interesting way. Solid prog metal - an easy recommendation.
    $14.00
  • Their last album for a major label, Azure D'Or finds the band still creating their unique brand of classically influenced progressive rock. Unfortunately, perhaps because of changing tastes, record company pressure, or even their own success...the music is a bit more produced and the songs are more concise. Still a track like The Flood At Lyon captures all their magic. A conditional recommendation.
    $15.00
  • "What is it about the glorious country of Sweden that makes such amazing Metal bands? Despite the fact Metal originated mainly from the UK, it’s seemed to have migrated over to Scandinavia to rule over all other genres, while we Brits and the Yanks are stuck with Nicki Garage and Justin Beaver being forced down our throats. Oh well, non-metal fans are missing out on the awesomeness that is BLOODBOUND! A Swedish Power Metal band that formed in 2004 and have released many a great album filled with Power Metally goodness. And oh boy, is this new album another great addition for any Metal fans music library; the heavily Game of Thrones, (or A Song of Ice and Fire, for you book readers) referenced, “Stormborn”.The album kicks off with an excellent instrumental intro (like a lot of Metal albums tend to have) and was entitled “Bloodtale” and leads straight into “Satanic Panic” (and they say Metal is all about the devil, ha!). I must admit, “Bloodtale” truly compliments “Satanic Panic” and makes it so much more epic, so if you like “Satanic Panic”, I recommend putting this intro on your iPod if you don’t normally keep album intros; I know I will.Now, did I mention this album has many Game of Thrones references on it? Well, I don’t need to tell you that if you’re a fan of the books and/or show ‘cause if you pay attention to the story and this album’s damn name, you’ll notice it’s named after Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of Meereen, Queen of the Andals.I’m getting side tracked.Anyway, if you’ve listened to BLOODBOUND before, this album is what you’ll expect from them and I wish I could see them live again to hear them perform this album, ‘cause damn, it’s good.It’s catchier than previous albums, it’s a heavier, faster and much better written, and that’s what I personally think. I mean, you still have your great BLOODBOUND songs like “Nosferatu”, “Drop the Bomb” and “Metal Monster” which appear to be competing with the best songs on this album, like “Iron Throne”, “Satanic Panic” and “Made of Steel” with an ever so catchy, Judas Priest-esque riff.So, if you want some amazing Power Metal in your ears (or neighbour’s ears), then put this album on and be sure to blast it ‘cause, in the words of Jack Black, it’ll rock your fucking socks off." - Metal Temple
    $16.00
  • "I suppose naming your band Standing Ovation could be considered more than a little pretentious. What if you played your music and nobody gave you one? I don't think this Finnish band will have that problem. Their first full length album, The Antikythera Mechanism is a fine collection of progressive metal.Yet, their progressive metal doesn't necessarily fit into the traditional mold. Sure they owe a debt to peers like Dream Theater or Symphony X, but there's a more reckless modern feel to their sound. Also, the music is both equally dense and technical. For example, on I Have Superhuman Powers, a clever tune, every player weaves their part with assertive intensity and skill, sounding nearly in bitter competition with each other, but only complimenting each other. And you get much more of this throughout The Antikythera Mechanism.Conversely, With a song like Break the News the intensity and complexity takes a back seat to what can only be described as simply heavier melodic rock. Then there's humorous Hey Ho! which sounds like a pop rock song tricked out with heavy power progressive metal. It's curious and compelling, speedy and intense, and crazy catchy. For more conventional progressive metal the three part The Antikythera Mechanism may be the best example, mostly in first and third parts. Part 2 can offer some of that aforementioned rushing dense intensity, notably in the second half of the song.Standing Ovation's style of progressive metal on The Antikythera Mechanism is compelling and challenging and, therefore, mostly entertaining. Exactly the things a prog metal fan wants. Recommended."
    $15.00
  • "Finish symphonic metal titans, Nightwish, return with their new epic masterpiece Imaginaerum. The highly anticipated release is more than a new album but the inspiration and soundtrack to the upcoming full length fantasy movie, Imaginaerum. Special edition contains a 2CD set with the full length album as well as a Bonus CD with all instrumental tracks from the recording."
    $17.00
  • "When a performer releases a collection of covers, it sometimes (but not always) symbolizes a lack of creativity and vigor. Having spent X amount of years producing original stuff, he or she is burnt out mentally and decides that the easiest way to produce something “new” is to do a quick one off of other people’s music. Fortunately, Steven Wilson (once again) proves to be an exception to the norm with his newest compilation, Cover Version. A gathering of new material and external reinterpretations from the last decade or so, it’s yet another breathtaking work in an already magnificent catalogue. Wilson clearly has a lot of admiration for these pieces, as he approaches them with plenty of love, attention to detail, and imagination.If you’re familiar with Wilson (and you probably are since you’re reading this), you know that he’s one of the strongest, most prolific and multifaceted songwriters and producers of the last couple decades. Having crafted many wonderful songs as both a solo artist and a member of other bands (including Porcupine Tree, Blackfield, and no-man), his vision seems limitless. However, he’s also quite versed in helping other musicians, such as Opeth and Anathema, finely tune their output, so he’s no stranger to putting his own spin on outside compositions. It comes as no surprise, then, that his take on these songs is confident, unique, and quintessentially Wilson in tone and atmosphere. Expectedly, the five original songs are also fantastic.Perhaps the most interesting thing about Cover Version is Wilson’s choice of exterior selections. A lot people unfairly pigeonhole him into being just a progressive rock virtuoso, so they may assume that his influences and favorite albums must come from the same genre. He proves this theory wrong, though, by putting his spin on songs by Alanis Morrisette, ABBA, Prince, The Cure, Momus, and even Donovan. In addition, the set spans 2003 – 2010, so it’s intriguing to hear how he grows artistically from the first track to the last.Cover Version begins with a simple yet poignant and beautiful spin on Morrisette’s “Thank You.” Wilson strums his acoustic guitar patiently as he sings the verses with the same fragility that made masterpieces like “Stop Swimming” and “Heartattack in a Layby”so devastating. His take exudes exceptional passion during the chorus too, and his falsetto harmonies, as well as the subtle orchestration, make the second half especially touching. ABBA’s “The Day before You Came” receives a similar treatment, although it’s a little more layered and forceful.Grippingly, his take on The Cure’s “A Forest” is quite industrial, malevolent, and sparse, with eerie loops throughout. If you’re familiar with “Index” from Grace for Drowning, you’ll have an idea of what he does with it. As for Prince’s “Sign O’ the Times”, it’s full of distortion and angst, with a funky electronic rhythm and stabs of electric guitar that evoke what Jonny Greenwood did on Radiohead’s “Creep”. Also, Wilson’s take on the timeless English folk song “The Unquiet Grave” (which has also been covered by Ween, Faith & the Muse, Steeleye Span, Elliot Morris, Gryphon, and Joan Baez, among others) is easily the most haunting and abstract inclusion. It consists mostly of ghostly harmonies and children’s voices, alongside some poetically phrased lamentations. It immediately envelopes listeners in stunning dread and never lets up.Naturally, his own contributions are equally charming and commanding. “Moment I Lost” is a straightforward piano ballad with acoustic guitar and orchestral accompaniment. As with a lot of his work, it begins quietly and then swells into a luscious and pained soundscape that stays with you. Melodically, it’s modest but masterful, as is “Please Come Home”. A catchier and more upbeat (though still melancholic in subject matter) offering, it demonstrates Wilson’s resilient vocal range and tasteful guitar playing. “Four Trees Down”, on the other hand, is more nuanced and otherworldly, with a nice balance between its arpeggios and percussive elements. It sounds like a lost track from The Raven that Refused to Sing, actually.The last two tracks are also superb. The first, “Well You’re Wrong”, is also poppy on the surface and sorrowful underneath, with Wilson’s falsetto stretching farther than ever. It’s a bold attempt, but luckily it works well with the surrounding timbres. On the other hand, the concluding track, “An End to End”, is possibly the most heartbreaking and powerful one here. Wilson truly has a skill for causing a lot of emotional destruction with fairly unassuming arrangements, and this track is no different, as it consists mainly of only a few chords and a very gentle melody. The trick is that he delivers his words with crushing sincerity and weakness; we can almost hear him weep as he sings, and the way he coats its core with delicate effects makes it very intense and profound. Like the title track to Raven, it expresses a sense of loss and yearning that any listener can relate to. It’s brilliant.As with the majority Wilson’s releases, Cover Version offers unmatched songwriting, positioning, and texturing (and I mean that as an attentive listener, not a biased devotee). Be it his variation on a classic tune or something solely his, Wilson creates one remarkable experience after another on this collection. The most impressive part of all is how well he makes widely unalike pieces sound like siblings to his own makings, so everything fits together seamlessly whether or not Wilson wrote it. Once again he exceeds expectation and delivers something priceless, and one can only hope that there’s a follow-up on the horizon." - Pop Matters
    $14.00
  • 70s style instrumental prog homage courtesy of Edo Spanninga (Flamborough Head), Menno Boomsma (Odyssice), and Eddie Mulder (Flamborough Head). Keyboardist Spanninga began this project as a studio experiment when he was mucking around with some new Mellotron samples. This evolved into a full blown trio recording. Spanninga only uses Mellotron samples - flute, oboe, strings, organ, cello, choir and vibes. The organ samples are pretty wild - they were run through a leslie and it sounds pretty damn fine. Mulder's playing all guitars and basses and takes the 70s high road with his sounds as well. Boomsma is a bit laid back and probably the weakest link here so I'll give him a B-. The music will freak out anyone who loves Genesis, Camel, Spring, and Fantasy. The package is capped off with a full blown artwork package courtesy of Jasper Joppe Geers - this is the ultimate tribute to Roger Dean. This looks more like Roger Dean than Roger Dean!  New digipak edition with 2 bonus tracks.If you love the Mellotron you need to own this! 
    $15.00