Saturday, June 11, 2011

Von Isley-Von Isley EP



2011 has seen a few changes in the Von Isley camp. This Ohio born band remains committed to bringing their own sound to the masses as usual but with a new drummer and second guitarist added the new music promises to be more heavy. Let's back up some though and explore what makes Von Isley tick. The concept for Von Isley started in the late 90's when guitarist Joshua Isley went looking for musicians who shared his desire to create not just another band but rather a new style and sound. He wanted to put on a show for the audience. Unfortunately he had to abandon the idea as he could never find the right combination of musicians to see his concept take form. Fast forward to 2008 and Joshua and vocalist Jennifer Isley formed the band you now see before you. Despite numerous line-up changes Von Isley carried on and now the husband and wife team have finally found the perfect combination of musicians to see their vision come to life. This EP is actually from 2010 and while top notch in nature it supposedly is a shade or two less heavy than the band today. Whatever the case the five songs on display here are quite good. Von Isley's music is hard to nail down honestly. They pull in prog rock, goth, Euro-metal, doom, epic, 70's hard rock and traditional heavy metal and create a one of a kind sound. Lead by the stunning Jennifer Isley the music has an almost mythical vibe to it. The guitar arrangements are driven by technical heavy metal riffs while the rhythm section offers a solid foundation for the compelling storyline. With first listen the vocals though are the most striking feature of Von Isley. In a world where female heavy metal vocalists are few and far between anyway Jennifer stands head and shoulders above the competition. Her amazing voice actually has more in common with the lush sounds of 70's singers like Stevie Nicks than with your current run of the mill heavy metal front women. She gives the music this beautiful and commanding presence and draws the listener in with her intimate voice. Songs like "Dragonslayer" have many interesting layers to catch your attention and yet vocalist Jennifer Isley sings like she is spinning a wed upon which each thread is another piece of the story. With only these five songs though sadly the whole affair seems far too short. You want to spend more time in Von Isley's world where the magic is on display in bright and vibrant colors. For Von Isley the journey has been long and full of many twists. Yet with each passing moment they improve and invite us, the listeners to join them for the next new adventure. I for one will gladly tag along and see what tomorrow brings for this dynamic band.


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