Chicago’s Ion Vein have been away from the metallic spotlight for over a decade now; their last full release being 2003’s well-regarded Reigning Memories. The band has been in turmoil ever since, with only guitarist Chris Lotesto remaining from the 2003 lineup. The band has taken time to regroup, re-arm, and whet appetites with two teaser EPs in 2011 and 2012. After all of that time, the band has finally unleashed their third full-length opus; this self-titled effort.
Kicking off this American-styled power metal album is “Fool’s Parade”, which reintroduces the world to the band’s crunchy riffs and thunderous bottom end. From minute one, this is classic power metal that would fit right at home with bands like Halcyon Way, Teramaze, or Thunder Tribe. Scott Featherstone has a clear, throaty voice with range that he uses effectively without going into dog-whistle territory. Further listening through the rest of the album proves that the band is quite adept at what they do and will fit in perfectly at the next ProgPower USA.
After 10+ listens to the album though, I find it difficult to remember specific hooks or riffs, beyond the catchiness of the opening track and the chugging “Enough”. The band is certainly impressive and talented though, and this album has more than enough head banging moments to make people take notice. Hopefully this is just the start of the band’s comeback and they keep things moving because they have much to offer American PM fans.
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