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ÍON is a project fronted by Duncan PATTERSON, former member of ANATHEMA. Along with a group of hired musicians, including Lisa CUTHBERT, who appeared with PATTERSON on an ANTIMATTER album, ÍON creates music that blends ambient instrumentation with Celtic and other European traditional and folk motifs.

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3.80 | 5 ratings
Madre, Protégenos
3.96 | 8 ratings

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ION Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Immaculada by ION album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.96 | 8 ratings

Ion Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A few things got me hooked into hunting this one down. Firstly, the fabulously descriptive 'memowakeman' review simply found a whole lot of resonance with me, the melancholia and the folkish feel are perennial soft spots for my ears. Second, I am a 'johnny come lately' to the Anathema phenomenon, working my way from today to before, subsequent to a chance September 2012 concert in Budapest that just blew my mind. Thirdly, a pure white misty cover always seems to seduce my attention (my first ever LP was the Beatles White album and my all-time favorite recording is the Strawbs "Hero & Heroine"). My car is white too!

Ion is a real head shaker, really askance from the Anathema style, with no harmonic guitar wallops here. The style is more romantic, melancholic, pastoral veering towards Gothic and Celtic with little guitar electricity, in fact the main instrumental weapon is mandolin, which is never a bad thing in my book. Distant hints at Clannad, Shine Dion and Dead Can Dance, but that tells only a little of the true nature of the spectral music presented here. Contemplative without being boring, enchantingly dynamic and serenely profound, Ion is a shimmering sheen on a tranquil lake, the sun caressing the browning leaves. When people ask me "what's the big deal with prog", I always seem to answer "it's a sonic travelogue, a musical picture postcard", which is why it is so wholly suited to the art of movie soundtracks. This is a fine example of that premise, as English, Romanian and Spanish are used to convey the adventure.

A forlorn voice intones "Tu eres la salvacion", then a clanging acoustic guitar dallies with a slashing violin, a distant light far way on the horizon , beckoning and enticing one to follow into the darkness and search out some unknown Shangri-la, unafraid and yet breathless. A perfect intro.

"Temptation" certainly evokes some strong biblical impressions, wearing a spellbinding Arabic motif and the spiraling voice of Lisa Cuthbert, a musical cobra hypnotized by the numbing sandstorm of sounds. Though highly repetitive, it never bores for one second, showcasing a sense of vastness and grandeur that only the desert can hope to provide.

It's somewhat companion piece has a more Christian feel, thus evoking similarities with the great band Iona, a tabernacle of vocal "Adoration", heavily buffeted by tingling mandolin (What a gorgeous instrument that is!), religiously caressed by flute adornments and a strong sense of Celtic dynamics. The contrast between Arabic and Gaelic styles is immensely impressive, as if telling both sides of some past Crusade.

Another absolute highlight is throbbing beauty of "Damhsa Na Oceithre Ghaoth", an invitation to dance to instrumental Celtic magic, deeply resonating as well as pulsating, a musical form that will never die, so deeply rooted in traditional European culture going back to the Roman and Greek Empires (and still very much alive in Portugal, France, Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland, Scandinavia, Spain, Portugal, and Hungary). There are some similarities to Mike Oldfield's otherwise fabulous "Voyager" album (another sadly misunderstood work from the master). The flute, violin, mandolin, a sudden relentless bass and rumbling drums play a vital part in enhancing the mystical feel of this tremendous piece.

"Invidia" is another stunner, entirely driven by mandolin, percussion and the magnificent voice of Lisa Cuthbert, this time in a way more medieval mode, crushingly attractive and thoroughly enthralling. Has a similar feel to the latter piece "The Silent Stars" and is another total winner.

Cooling raindrops introduce the ghostly "Cetatea Cisnadioria", a castle /museum in Transylvania, a mystical and oft misunderstood region that culturally unites Hungarians, Romanians and Germans and remains deeply rooted in folk traditions that defy time and space. The 10 minute + ambient epic is the longest piece and what a magical ride it is! Spoken word in Romanian and a haunted organ give this piece its initial letters of noblesse, then swerves into abysmal ethereal expanses, with extended wail vocalizings (a gentler version of The Great Gig in the Sky) that hint at the Turkish conquest, a historical fact that the locals have no intention to ever forget. A violent thunderclap serves as a final reminder.

The achingly beautiful "The Silent Stars" only reinforces the mesmerizing qualities that have enchanted us earlier, showing both vision, consistency and creativity. I cannot help but to be reminded by that fleeting late 80s alternative act This Mortal Coil, the ability to marry the various vocal ingredients into a Gothic/Medieval background. Gently swaying, soothingly repetitive and utterly sensual. I know a few ladies who would just swoon listening to this!

"Return to Spirit" is finally more syncopated, a doom-laden boom-boom beat over both whispering voice and wailing backing vocals, slashed by what sounds like a 'cimbalom' (Hungarian dulcimer). This is a merciless killer track and thus creates some very vivid images in the listener's mind, a sense of foreboding, primal fear and impending salvation.

"Tu eres la salvacion!" Gracias Guillermo!

4.5 Transylvanian boogeymen

 Immaculada by ION album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.96 | 8 ratings

Ion Crossover Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Review originally posted at

Honestly, I had not heard about Duncan Patterson's Ion before; he was known and recognized by his Anathema and Antimatter works, but I ignored the fact that he had another project, very different and probably the most personal of them all. Ion's second album (the one I am reviewing) is entitled "Immaculada" and comprises a selection of eight fabulous tracks, created by Patterson, and performed by several talented musicians that he invited. The album's total time is about 51 minutes.

The first song is "Immaculada", which starts with Spanishspoken word that seconds later leads to a calm and hypnotizing guitar. An atmospheric sound is being created little by little, I love the synth work, the accurate violin sound and the female voices that suddenly appears. One can feel relaxed, while the seconds pass, your mind and soul feel truly calm and peaceful.

Linked to the first track, all of a sudden "Temptation" begins, and holy god what a beautiful song this is. A mandolin leads here, its sound is repetitive but addictive at the same time, the true beauty of this tracks is how the other elements/instruments are joining until all together they create a unique atmosphere, which shares lots of images and textures, that one should receive. I really feel caught by the music's webs, and I cannot escape until the song finishes.

"Adoration" is a very friendly tune. I like that soft acoustic guitar sound that accompanies the flute and percussion a lot. This is a much calmer song that may be considered as a ballad. The female voice is quite beautiful and perfectly complements that charming sound. In this album it is common to note some folk and Celtic influences, let's remember that Patterson is of Irish nationality. In the last minute we can also listen to a cute bagpipe sound.

"Damhsa Na Gceithre Ghaoth" has a darker atmosphere in the first moments. Nice and repetitive percussion opens the gates to the strings and the flute seconds later. The sound reminds me a bit of some Mike Oldfield's passages. There is a stop after three minutes, and then the music begins to be re-built in a soft but constant way; the bass notes work as background while the flute leads, then the other elements appear.

"Invidia" is the shortest track, which does not mean it is weaker, not at all. Here we can appreciate once more that folkish sound, a great use of percussion and his sweet acoustic guitar playing. After the introductory minute, female vocals appear and make the music even more beautiful than it already was. The last minute is particularly good, when the music volume and components increase and create a wonderful atmosphere that shares different feelings.

"Cetatea Cisnadioara" takes me to a film passage, I imagine a person staring at the rain, and thinking about life and everything, until he/she decides to act. The sequence changes when the rain sound stops, and a new passage begins with a soft, disarming and even desolated mood. Seconds before the third minute a touching female voice appears and all together makes a haunting ambient. It is important to point out that this is a ten- minute track, so you will find several colors and nuances here, and in general great relaxing instrumental moments.

"The Silent Stars" is another beautiful and touching melody, probably the softest of them all, the one that can be considered as a pure ballad. Piano, female voice and flute create a wonderful sound, but be careful, because if you are not that tolerant, you may be bored or want to skip the track. There is an interlude when spoken voice appears, and later the song's original structure restarts. After five minutes the song becomes better and better, with the addition of strings and some other instruments, though it is repetitive, it is rich on sounds.

"Return to the Spirit" reminds me of Enigma and Recoil, a weird combination. The drums and vocal sound produce a sexy feeling. The six minutes are pretty similar, what you should do is pay attention to the different noises that are being added while the seconds pass ? better to use good headphones if you want to truly appreciate them. It is a cool track, however not my favorite, and not the one I would have used to close the album.

What a great and positive surprise! From the first time I listened to it, I felt caught by the sound, and motivated to write this review. Now I am eagerly waiting to the next Ion album because this left me with a great taste. I would recommend it to anyone who likes ethereal, atmospheric and folkish music. Don't expect anything related to Anathema, this is quite different. My final grade will be 4 stars.

Thanks to evolver for the artist addition.

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