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 is Magnums 9th live album and is a fitting reminder of just how good last year’s studio release ‘Escape from the Shadow Garden’ is. If you missed the supporting tour then this is as faithful a reproduction as you are going to get, my venue on that tour was 53Degrees in Preston, but the less said about that venue the better.The first 6 tracks are taken from Magnum’s last three Studio albums, opening with ‘Live till you die’ a modern classic Magnum song in the making. The opening riff to The Visitation’s ‘Black Skies’ gives the band a edger sound, Bob is sounding as good if not better than ever and what can you say about Tony Clarkin, the man is a genius.‘Freedom Day’ and ‘Dance Of The Black Tattoo’ are defining Magnums new heavier sound and the band aren’t afraid to play them live with both five string bass player Al Barrow and drummer Harry James delivery a power house of a rhythm section. Pianist Mark Stanway’s playing is as fluid and complementary as ever especially on ‘Freedom Day’ the interplay between Tony and Mark is just sublime, a joy to watch and a pleasure to listen to.‘Blood Red Laughter’ is another strong track and deserves a place at the live table as well as the slow burning ‘Unwritten sacrifice’.The second half of the set see’s Magnum delivery the classics, but there are so many of them it must be hard to choose the set list.We get the mighty ‘How far Jerusalem’ the astonishingly moving ‘Les morts dasant’, the unexpected ‘Falling from the big plan’ as it’s taken from the Escape album, then it’s back to the classic’s with the anthemic ‘All England’s eyes’ and the uber catchy “Vigilante”.‘Kingdom of madness’, off course, rounds the set and the night off. My only critisim is that the running time and the gig is a little on the short side, another couple of tracks, both favourites of mine ‘Don’t wake the lion’ which hasnt been played live since 2010, or ‘Midnight’ has’nt been played since 2008, or countless other songs would have made a wonderful gig and disc. Still, can’t wait for the next tour.I have seen Magnum live many many times over the years and they never fail to impress, and this live release is no different, it is worthy of a place in your record collection." - PlanetMosh.com
    $18.00
  • Second album from this Norwegian band finds them climbing the ladder of melancholy prog bands. Short on complexity but long on atmosphere and melody, Airbag's new one packs an emotional wallop. The album has just enough spacey keyboards to draw comparisons to Pink Floyd and older Porcupine Tree. The album builds up to the 17 minute "Homesick I - III" which has enough references to Wish You Were Here that you'll be plowing through your Floyd collection afterwards. Lethal atmospheric prog that will annihilate the minds of any Anathema or Riverside fan. Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • "This is all I have to write and it would be a good review but I have to play the unbiased party. Christian Muenzner, he’s one of the guitarists for OBSCURA and previously worked in NECROPHAGIST having the album, “Epitaph“, under his belt and also has his solo project going for him and several other projects. Not only did he deliver the masterpiece, “Omnivium” in 2011 but also within a month’s time after this magnum opus his solo project’s debut “Timewarp” was released. In 2012 we see the release of SPAWN OF POSSESSION’s “Incurso” and now we have PARADOX’s “Tales Of The Weird”. I really hope he keeps up this stride and as far as the material here goes there’s nothing to worry about him slowing down anytime soon.The title track, “Tales Of The Weird” begins with a stormy night, rain pouring and etching the earth with acoustics pushing the music forward. A wolf howls into the eternal night, calmly but rushingly surging that energy through your spine. The acoustics control your movements, confined into the black night turning towards the eminent dawn. Once the rest of the instruments start to engage you are hypnotized, senselessly trying to bring you back from that beautiful shock you didn’t know you were in. When it comes to the multitude of solos the first one sounds like time shifted into the Egyptian realm trying to resurrect a pharaoh from his decrepit sarcophagus. Well done Muenzner and not only him but the rest of the crew. This is easily one of the best songs on the album.I don’t know what equipment Muenzner used on the album but he sure has a different unique tone. It’s apparent on “Brutalized”. On the first solo you get this new tone and it’s just warming and comfortable to hear. A melodic solo and when it reaches a higher pitch it’s what I’d like to compare as a bee humming a song during the brightest summer. I didn’t hear it upon my first voyage through this album. In fact it took me three times to really notice it. On the second solo it’s like “Screw it! I’m Christian Muenzner and I want to play a full on progressive/technical death metal solo.” It’s called “Brutalized” for a reason and no I don’t think he’s conceited as I make him to be so just follow along and don’t pay too much mind to it. The outro is folk influenced as was “Tales Of The Weird” after the howling of the wolf. Spellbinding and it leads you into the mood of the next song. It’s like reading an ancient book and following along with the unorthodox adventures.I could be wrong but “Fragile Alliance” seemed to be slightly influenced by CHILDREN OF BODOM. Listen to “Cry of the Nihilist”, the riff starting at (1:40). Let that song sink in and come back to this one. It’s about less than a second but it has the same vibe, at least to me. It repeats itself three times on different points of the song. On certain passages Charly Steinhauer sounded like James Hetfield back when his voice had a more melodic and innocent quality to it. Also there’s clapping towards the end or maybe it’s something else but I agree that this album deserves an applause. “Escalation” starts off real thrashy also the riffs prior to the solo have a classical-esque composition quality to them and as a classical music fan I really enjoy combos of the sort. Muhammed Suicmez is quite guilty of this as well, check out the song, “Intestinal Incubation” full of that great majesty of the 18th century. “Slashdead” gets the award for strangest song off the album but hey this is “Tales Of The Weird” so it fits nicely. It’s a straightforward thrash song but it articulates a bit on tangents. Towards the ending it brings back good memories of Pokemon when it says “Slash!”, Sandslash anyone?“Zeitgeist”is personally my favorite song off the album. I actually know the word since it was discussed in my psychology class. If the translation is correct it means “spirit of the times.” It’s the perfect track in describing the obscurity and gentleness of the album. First “Tales Of The Weird” with its trip back to the times of pharaohs and during a period where the sun was deemed as a god and among several other deities. Then “Escalation” with its classical fluidity and now “Zeitgeist”. This song’s where my inception of the idea of the humming bees came from, “Brutalized” further supports the point. The concept of spirit of the times fits great with my perception of the bees which leads to that birds and the bees speech to explain reproduction. It is the beginning of life and exploration. It creates people and with people it creates these atmospheres during a certain period in time, thus spirit of the times or “Zeitgeist”. On “The Downward Spiral” it seemed to be influenced by DEATH’s “The Flesh and the Power It Holds” (around 3:03) on two different points during “The Downward Spiral“. The bass created the illusion that I was going in a spiral. A chaotic stream of an evolving abstract staircase that disappeared within a few moments if one isn’t quick enough to get on the ride.Overall, this is a very impressive album and trust me when I say the more you listen to it the better it gets. There’s a chance you won’t think much of it the first time around as you might be hypnotized by Muenzner’s guitar work that initially the rest seems inferior to it. Alas don’t fear, digest the album well, its replay value is really high. V. Santura did an amazing job on mixing and mastering, definitely giving PARADOX an evolutionary album. Bass had a tendency to be technical in sneaky places but Olly Keller had his own style. The synergy between the bass and guitars reminded me so much of OBSCURA. Only problem I seemed to have is the drums were at times oblivious in the mix. I actually heard the bass more than the drums. I’m sure though with a few more runs with this album I’ll be able to hear it more and better comprehend Daniel Buld’s contributions." - Metal Temple
    $15.00
  • Limited edition live recording of Spock's Beard's complete set at the second High Voltage Festival at Victoria Park, London on July 24, 2011. Some odd stuff about this gig...Nick D'Virgilio was unable to appear so Enchant's Ted Leonard filled in (he has now done so permanently) and Jimmy Keegan played drums. Neal Morse joined the band during the set as a special guest.
    $10.00
  • Remastered edition with one bonus track."With Jonathan Cain, Steve Perry, and Neal Schon leading Journey once again, and bassist Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith behind them, it would seem that Trial by Fire would contain the same elements that gave them their stardom in the '80s. Disappointingly, though, there is nothing captivating or even the least bit attractive about this unimaginative release. Perry's singing hasn't lost too much of its power, but the faster tunes come off as contrived and messy. Sounding hard and scattered, the smoothness of their trademarked music is nowhere to be found, replaced with brash, beat-up, hollow rock riffs. The ballads fare no better, as the passion that once flourished within the band when it came to slowing things down has long since faded. Just the fact that Journey reunited may lure fans to this album, but it won't be long before the discontentment begins set in." - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • "US band ODIN'S COURT have been around ever since 2001, with a good handful of productions to their name so far, and in terms of full length albums they have released six of them so far. Their most recent one, "The Warmth of Mediocrity", was issued through US label The RecordLabel.net's Progrock Records division towards the end of 2013.While this is a full length album, I guess the majority would really sort this one as a compilation rather than a bonafide studio disc, as the greater majority of the songs have been pulled from old releases. But as these songs have been both remixed and to some extent remade as well, due to the addition of Dimetrius LaFavors as lead vocalist, this really is a new album even if much of the material have been available in other versions previously.As far as style is concerned, Odin's Court is among those bands that venture back and forth across the border between the rock and metal part of the progressive universe, although the main emphasis appears to be on the latter of these. They explore, at least in recent years, a brand of progressive metal that explore the contrasts between grimy, gnarly dark toned guitar riff constructions and light toned, subtly exotic sounding keyboard textures, with ample room for movements of a more careful nature to alternate between the harder edged and more intense ones. The piano is employed for an additional delicate touch on several occasions, and what I presume to be digitally crafted orchestral backings also have their place in the material of this band. The dulcimer is also used to good effects to convey effects of a more careful nature within this landscape.From what I can recall of their older material, it would appear that their new vocalist is a good addition to this band. There are still some issues with the vocals however. That there are songs here not written with the new vocalist and his particular voice in mind is a fact, and that some of the vocal parts comes across as somewhat odd in structure and execution both is a detrimental detail at times. As is the band's slight tendency to hit off in a dramatic, technically oriented run with quirky staccato riff bursts in asynchronous patterns, although this latter aspect probably has more to do with personal taste and not quite as much to do with stylistic expression and structure as such.Personally I found the band to be most interesting when exploring territories of a more regular nature, with the remade version of Utopian Rust and the following instrumental Paradise Lost: Chapter 1 to be clear album highlights. The former a fairly traditional progressive metal creation sporting a fairly smooth, dark toned guitar riff and a fairly predictable but effective keyboard contrast as the dominant elements, with compelling harmony based guitar soloing and a nifty bass motif beneath that fits this song in this guise very well indeed. The latter of these two songs appears to be a case of progressive metal inspired by classical music, using orchestral details to supplement the guitars and organ that otherwise sets the mood and atmosphere. Opening and title track The Warmth of Mediocrity also warrants a mention, and again we're dealing with a more common variety of progressive metal with strong and distinct contrasts between guitar riffs and keyboards, majestic themes and a harmony based song in general expression and instrumental solo runs both.All in all a somewhat uneven production as far as I'm concerned, where the most experimental numbers also comes across as the least inspired of the lot. But when Odin's Court starts exploring a more common and predictable variety of progressive metal, then they are going strong with all cylinders firing in a fitting, majestic manner. A band and an album worth taking a look at if you're curious of a band that are at their best exploring traditional progressive metal Dream Theater style, while also having a go at assembling compositions of a more challenging nature that may not be quite as appealing - all of this very much depending on personal taste admittedly." - ProgArchives
    $3.00
  • "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
  • "It's a bit surprising that Pantera waited until 1997 to release a live album, considering how brutal and powerful the band had been in concert. At an average Pantera show, it would not be unusual to see security evicting overzealous fans, and club bathrooms filled with bloody wads of paper towels from mosh pit injuries. Official Live 101 Proof captures the group in its natural, violent element, combining abrupt, barbed riffs with pulse-pounding beats and furious vocals. The record spans Pantera's career, from the classic guitar lick of "Cowboys from Hell" to the fuzzbomb fury of "Suicide Note Pt. 2" (from album The Great Southern Trendkill). As an encore, the band offers album buyers two new studio tracks, the bluesy bonecrusher "Where You Come From" and the grinding piledriver "I Can't Hide." As the fortress of alternative rock continues to crumble, Pantera stomp vindictively through the rubble, their metallic legacy intact."--Jon Wiederhorn
    $6.00
  • "See here, they have managed to get a deal. MOURNING CARESS, Germany's finest Melodic Deathers! A Spanish label, Arise Records, won the competition, not a bad thing, because they have a good distribution, so Arise-releases are available everywhere.What has changed compared to the mini "Perspectives"? Basically nothing, apart from the even better sound and longer playing time. The highlights of the mini, "A Lifeless Time" and "Hope Dies At Last", can be found here, too, sounding fatter, but apart from that untouched, which is good! What makes MOURNING CARESS differ from the rest of the countless Melodic Death-acts? Not that they play a totally new variant of this style, they just write good songs and have a feeling for gripping melodies without losing control over the song. I even can detect a certain Rock'n'Roll-touch. The super-fat production by Andy Classen (mastered in Finnish Finnvox) crowns the whole thing. Doesn't sound too spectacular, it isn't anyway. The songs often are further enhanced by some acoustic interludes. Mid-paced numbers are in the majority, but the folks also have a few faster tracks in the repertoire. Good Melodic Death doesn't need to come from Sweden. Unfortunately we have a real flood of musically comparable products."Imbalance" for sure is among the better releases. Also remarkable is the quite original voice of singer Gerrit, with a slight Hardcore-touch, which is very characteristic. So, if you see this, arrest it! " - Metal Observer
    $2.00
  • "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
  • 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
  • "“Memories Of An Ancient Time”represents the second chapter of the trilogy start with "Countdown to Revenge" two years ago. HOLLOW HAZE has recently parted ways with singer Fabio Lione ( RHAPSODY, ANGRA, KAMELOT), But luckily the Italians, in person but shortly after it announced that Mats Leven (Y. MALMSTEEN, THERION, CANDLEMASS), Rick Altzi (MASTERPLAN, At VANCE) and Amanda Somerville took part in the recording sessions as very special guest singers. Their new and sixth album, that is set to be released on upcoming June’15 by Scarlet Records.This second saga will take you on an epic journey through the desert of Egypt, meeting the aliens, special mention to the amazing artwork realised by Stan W. Decker. This “Memories Of An Ancient Time” has been mastered by Mika Jussila (NIGHTWISH, APOCALYPTICA, CHILDREN OF BODOM) at Finnvox Studios in Helsinki, Finland, and as usually, Mika has done a good job, the production is magestic.“Memories Of An Ancient Time” is a mix of progressive meets power meets symphonic meets heavy metal, fast guitar riffs, neat double bass, magical and orchestral arrangements, big and beautiful choirs in the chorus, you can easily sing along all the songs, especially due to that the songs are relatively short compared to the first album of this trilogy.All the duets between Mats Leven & Amanda Somerville are all well done, Rick is mostly heard in the background, all the lead vocals are on the Mats‘s shoulders. As usual, Mats Leven has often proven, in the past, that he can carry an complete album. Whether by Y. MALMSTEEN or with THERION (even if i prefer his vocal performance with the guitar hero), he always convinced me with his charismatic voice, and he does this time again. HOLLOW HAZE has done the best choice with Mats for sure. Note the female choirs by Amanda & Claudia are just so sweet and touch your heart with their tender melodies. Everything else is fine, there is plenty of tunes (especially in the choruses), as know so well the Italian bands in this style.Its a bombastic album, but you need to hear the first part of the saga to understand, where the band wants to take you,  so you need also to buy the CD with the booklet included to jump into the lyrics and not download MP3! To finish his review, if you’re a fan of this style of metal, you still take pleasure to listen to this “Memories Of An Ancient Time” in a few years.This is already a classic! An emotional masterpiece!" - Metal Temple
    $15.00
  • 2nd album of true metal from this band put together by noted metal producer Frederik Nordstrom. Band mates include Snowy Shaw (Mercyful Fate, King Diamond), Niklas Isfeldt (Throne Of Chaos, Hammerfall), and guitarist Gus G. (Firewind).
    $9.00
  • Lucifer Was is a Norwegian hard rock band that has its roots in the early 70s although they never got around to recording anything until they reunited in the '90s. They have produced a number of solid progressive hard rock albums that never really stood out...until now. The band has collaborated with the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra on a conceptual work that spotlights noted soloists Michala Perri (recorder) and Jan Stigmer (violin). This is somewhat of an updating of what Deep Purple tried to accomplish with their Concerto For Group And Orchestra. The band and orchestra mesh quite well which it should since this was composed with an orchestra in mind - they don't sound like they are simply grafted on. Big, bombastic and beautiful - just like a work of this scale should be. Lucifer Was has pulled off something really special here. Highly recommended.
    $17.00