"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Ion Vein - "IV v1.0" (Digital EP)

Ion Vein - "IV v1.0" Digital EP cover image

"IV v1.0" track listing:

1. Enough
2. Love/Hate
3. Anger Inside

Reviewed by on January 28, 2012

"If the purpose of a first chapter is to draw a reader or listener in for the full ride, 'IV v1.0' accomplishes that beautifully."

You've got to admire Ion Vein for trying something a little different. Rather than put out a full album, the band is releasing what label Mortal Music is calling "a chapter at a time" in EP form, with a full CD coming out at the end of the cycle. If the purpose of a first chapter is to draw a reader or listener in for the full ride, "IV v1.0" accomplishes that beautifully.

The band brings an appealing mix of thrash aggression and prog-rock technicality to all three of this chapter's tracks, with "Enough" particularly standing out. The way the chunky thrash intro gives way to the almost Middle-Eastern-sounding verses is masterful, and singer Scott Featherstone's delivery is spot-on.

The band also scores with the speedy "Anger Within," which features guitarist Chris Lotesto's best solo, as well as Chuck White's best performance behind the drum kit. Somewhat less successful — though not bad at all — is "Love/Hate," which feels a bit one-dimensional compared to the other two tracks.

The digital release was produced and engineered by Neik Kernon, who's worked with Nile and Queensryche, among others. He's done an admirable job here, creating a perfect balance between Lotesto's guitar and the rhythm instruments.

An excellent first chapter, Ion Vein's "IV v1.0" will definitely pique your interest in future offerings. Here's hoping that full-length disc isn't too long in coming.

Highs: Excellent musicianship throughout, with "Enough" particularly standing out.

Lows: "Love/Hate" feels a little one-dimensional.

Bottom line: An excellent "first chapter" of what will eventually be a full-length release.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)