Anathema is the past, Íon is the present, Antimatter was in-between and the whereabouts of Duncan Patterson is the red thread that runs along these bands. In the early nineties Duncan started out in the doom metal band Anathema and later he would join Antimatter for three albums before leaving in late 2004 to focus on his own project Íon. He might be the mind behind Íon but he is not as alone as you might be fooled to think when looking at the fact column above. There are a number of guests on this album which features varied instrumentation with musicians from Greece, Ireland, Mexico and Australia as well as several female vocalists from Greece, Italy, Mexico and Russia. What is that if not World Music? Even if they have left their marks on the sound, the overall feeling is mostly with a mediterranean and even more with an Irish touch in my ears.
Íon is named after the Gaelic word for pure, and that is a suiting title for this project from Duncan as the music is, well, pure I suppose. With calm and relaxed songs done in a minimalistic way, it has a personal touch and the music splendidly creates different moods and tensions. There is a dark suggestive feeling that embraces the album even though it bears a feeling of a positive force. The music is very calm and relaxing mostly performed acoustic with inspiration from folk music as well as new age in my ears, and to give the music its moods and to create depth, it is enhanced with some explicit soundscapes in the background.
The starting song and also the title track set the tone for the entire album with its calm embrace. It has a repeating theme from the acoustic guitar while being backed up by piano, flute and spoken words, and even though it is slow it has an epic feel due to the female sweeping vocals. And the epic touch is something that is present more than once despite the minimalist approach it might seem at first that the album has. By small methods and without overdoing anything, Duncan has created music that embraces you and lets your mind lose itself in the wonderful melodies and rhythms, and when you hear the sound of waves in the Irish traditional sounding track Learpholl, you find yourself completely consumed by the music and the beautiful female voice.
There is not a hint of metal to be found on Madre, Protégenos, and if Duncan would not have had a past in Anathema this would not have been an album suitable for Metal Covenant, but now it can be sorted out as somewhat related to metal. However, I am glad that this album ended up my way, since this is an album that I will probably listen to many more times. I would never have thought myself liking this kind of music so much that I found myself doing, but when in the right mood this album is great and hard to resist.
This is beautiful mood-creating music that despite being calm holds a great deal of power. You won't get your daily dose of metal from this album, but if you have an open mind it is well worth checking out.