Ion Vein - Reigning Memories
Majesphere Records
Heavy Power-Prog
12 songs (64:12)
Release year: 2003
Ion Vein
Reviewed by Ken

Ion Vein, like many bands, came to me by way of sheer randomness. A long time ago I heard clips from a tribute CD called Rebellion: A Tribute To Queensryche. At the time I thought the clips sounded really good for a tribute CD, but years went by and I forgot about it. Then recently I stumbled across the CD on eBay and picked it up. When I got to the Ion Vein cover of Take Hold Of The Flame I was floored. While I generally like cover songs to be reinvented and personalized by the band that is covering the song, it’s not often you’re going to find a band able to emulate Queensryche virtually note for note (just listen to the album this song came from for proof of that). Not only did Ion Vein nail every aspect of this song, but they managed to give it their own personal touch and make it their own while still clearly doing the original sweet justice. I then went on the hunt, searching for this Ion Vein, I found their website, listened to the tracks… Hooked!

You won’t find a review out their that doesn’t mention Russ Klimczak’s ability to sound identical to Geoff Tate, it’s just unsettling to know that it’s not Geoff Tate barreling through your speakers. Still, Klimczak does have his own voice, he’s not in GT Mode the whole album, just at times. Musically the band go from power metal to melodic rock to progressive metal to AOR with the grace and fluidity of a band that’s been around for 30 years, and though there are similarities in the vocal department the band truly transcends comparison and has a firm hold on their own little metal niche.

I was lucky enough to score this copy—one of only two left—from guitarist Chris Lotesto, and it was money well spent. Reigning Memories is Ion Vein’s sophomore release after, by all accounts and reviews, a well-received-but-now-out-of-print debut called Beyond Tomorrow (a donation of this album to the reviewer is welcomed and highly encouraged). The album starts off with a short intro called “Awakening,” opening the gates for “Another Life,” a heavy metal barnburner with a great hook, a killer, mellow mid-section and some stunning solo work. The vocals are on point throughout, harkening back to The Warning-era Geoff Tate, mid- to upper-range, strong and grandiose.

I won’t give a song-by-song description, but some highlights would include the progressive “Spiral Maze”—just listen to those solos and that bass line—and the hook-heavy, AOR-cum-heavy metal scorcher, Faith And Majesty. A saxophone dominates the background of the ballad-esque “Twilight Garden” and it’s a welcome respite before the title track—another progressive monster—bursts through the wall like the Kool-Aid man, Oh yeaaaah! (did I just write that?). The Adrian’s Ladder Trilogy features three songs—duh!—that have a nice, mild progressive lilt. It doesn’t quite live up to the epic stirrings that the word “trilogy” evokes, but it’s still a solid showcase of metal tunes.

Like I mentioned earlier, the band runs “from power metal to melodic rock to progressive metal to AOR” and they do so with ease. (The tag of “progressive” is generally a misnomer these days as it usually just refers to the sound, the vibe of an album (Dream Theater, et al) and not the actual style, and that’s what it refers to here.) Reigning Memories is a solid metal album with a lot to offer, it’s always good to come across a US metal band playing this kind of music and playing it well. Unfortunately the album is going to be hard to find if you’re interested in picking it up, I’m hoping they re-press both albums in the future, but at this point I’m just looking forward to their next release—which is being written and recorded now and should be out sometime this year. If you can find this album, I order you to buy it! It’s quite deserving of your attention.

On a side note, Reigning Memories was produced, recorded and mixed by Neil Kernon (Nevermore, Queensryche, Spiral Architect), so that should leave no doubt to the standard of quality present here. That quality only compliments the excellent compositions that comprise this album.

AUDIO: Another Life (Full), Faith And Majesty (Full), Reigning Memories (Clip), Spiral Maze (Clip) and Edge Of Forever (Clip)

VIDEO: Another Life and Faith And Majesty

Note: In time these links will likely becoming outdated.

Killing Songs :
Another Life, Spiral Maze, Faith And Majesty, Reigning Memories, Edge Of Forever and Every Time It Rains
Ken quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Ion Vein that we have reviewed:
Ion Vein - Ion Vein reviewed by Andy and quoted 81 / 100
Ion Vein - IV v1.0 reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 21 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Mar 07, 2006 12:14 am
View and Post comments