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Magnitude 9 - Decoding The Soul CD (album) cover


Magnitude 9

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4 stars With their new "Decoding The Soul," high-energy metallions MAGNITUDE NINE immediately establish a more streamlined, metallic tone than on their previous album, the excellent "Reality In Focus." "Decoding" is thus not as distinctive or dynamic as prog-leaning listeners might have hoped for from the band's return from "Reality," but it remains a crisp, forceful, and rewarding work of melodic, FATES WARNING-esque prog/power metal. The performances of "Decoding" live up to lofty expectations, with rich, expressive vocals from Corey Brown and spectacular axe attacks from Rob Johnson, who shines on every level. (Some listeners may note the relative de-emphasis of keyboardist Joseph Anastacio Glean, who adds essential atmosphere but is rarely spotlighted.) The songs are also consistently charged with biting metal energy, although the disc's creative, melodic peak comes near the end of the album, on the introspective, intense "Torn."

MAGNITUDE NINE's current musical direction leaves them less room to impress --they seem restrained from flashing their full spectrum of instrumental colors-- and "Decoding The Soul" is not essential for prog-metal fans seeking boundary-busting ambition. It is an explosive blast, however, and highly recommended for the melodic prog/power-metal faithful.

Report this review (#25703)
Posted Monday, July 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars There is something about metal and melodic rock that pulls me in without fail, like there is some kind of invisible magnet in every note of the music, or a subliminal message embedded in the grooves of the CD that calls out to me. It is so straightforward yet filled with more hooks than you can shake a stick at. MAGNITUDE 9 is another one of those bands that once you hear them, you cannot seem to get enough and their songs never get old.

In January of 2004, the band plans to unleash their third album ''Decoding The Soul". The cover alone will have you transfixed with its "War Of The Worlds" imagery. The image seems to say . we are looking for you, you cannot run and hide, and we will find you and then decode your soul to takeover the human race. Does it really seem all that far fetched these days? Who knows? Maybe I am watching too much Star Trek lately.

All of that of that sci-fi stuff aside, the music is outstanding. There are great vocals (Corey Brown), a powerful rhythm section (John Homan - drums & Ian Ringler - bass), a guitar player that is ready to take on the world and conquer it with one flick of the wrist (Rob Johnson), and the final piece, keyboard wizardry (Joseph Anastacio Glean) to turn it all into true to form progressive rock. The layer of keyboards always seems to alleviate the influence of the other parts just enough to give a composition more balance and division.

It is nice to see this band is from the U.S., lately it seems a lion's share of the talent is coming from overseas for some reason. I guess everyone is going for the brass ring in the U.S. rather than just deciding to play great music. A magnitude of nine . maybe they should change the nine to a ten, on a scale of 1-10 they are a 10 in my book. This is a band at the top of their game positioned to break it big, keep your eye on them.

Report this review (#25704)
Posted Friday, January 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Magnitude 9 is one of those small progressive metal bands that have yet to recognized. They have gone quite un-noticed for quite a long time. This album should get them recognized. Well, it damn well better get them recognized.

Since 1997, the band has created now three full-length albums, and each one has been better than the last, so it seems. The best band to compare Magnitude 9 to would easily be Queensryche. But what's that? Aren't Queensryche recognized as classic prog-metal? Yes. And somehow Magnitude 9 manages to take a step back and bring us all back into that time. Classic metal today. It is hard to find bands that can pull this off, and Magnitude 9 manages to hit that mark. The music that the band makes is strong, and stands out. These songs are something that you can actually remember to. They have memorable choruses, and even more memorable guitar solos.

The album itself is just a piece of art. Not just the album cover, but the flawlessness of the album. It has practically reached perfection. Every song is stronger than the first, and it just craves you to want to listen to more.

The ten-track album is just over 45 minutes, which I think is very damn good. Especially for this album. It is pure excellence. The one song that I thought stood out from the rest was "To Find A Reason". Chops with the guitar, lead, and harmonious synth always make me shudder- but that good kind of shudder - but really, all of the songs are pure genius. The more and more I listen to the album; I just demand more of the music. Perhaps we can get it with a possible fourth album?

Decoding the Soul is an excellent addition to anyone's progressive metal collection, these guys I think are ready to make it onto the big time. I for one, am dying to see them if they make a Canadian run in their next tour.

Report this review (#25706)
Posted Friday, April 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Magnitude 9 still sound an awful lot like prog-metal veterans Fates Warning. On this album they begin to play more power metal than prog-metal. At times it feels like a nostalgic flashback to the late 80's style of power metal (Armored Saint comes to mind). It's still the same issue, the band still hasn't doesn't enough to differentiate themselves from groups like Fates Warning. They're definitely very good musicians, so they're still a good listen.

At, the same time, there are some signs of developing their own identity. Songs like To Find a Reason show a harder edge, especially the rhythm work surrounding the rather nice guitar solo. I definitely prefer the guitar solos on this album over their previous album, enough to give this album a 4 star rating. I still think this band has additional potential that they haven't quite tapped yet. Then again, it often takes great bands 3-4 albums to really hit their stride. Hopefully that is what we are witnessing with Magnitude 9. I'll definitely be interested to see where they go from here.

Report this review (#64001)
Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is the first album of three that I hear after sometime from this american formation, but I think the expectation was too much (because, I had heard good comments about thier work). Well, I mean they're a good musicians but their style it's a factor that don't help them so much to start in the complex world of the prog-music, at least not this time.

The album has some good songs, in cases such as: "New Dimension, To Find A Reason & Dead In Their Tracks", but no more. As I said at the beginning they started in the wrong direction (if their real intention is to amaze some progressive music fans here and there), perphas if someday they make some changes in their compositions and try to experiment more, they could present more solid albums to the future.

Recommended to Melodic Metal fans only, for those who believes to itself being a real progressive music listener maybe wouldn't enjoy this work entirely.

By: Epsilon.

Report this review (#129063)
Posted Tuesday, July 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Their swansong album

Decoding the soul is the third album of Magnitude 9 from 2004, less good then the predecesor, at least for me, because here the band sounds more metal than prog. Anyway i find it a good album but nothing more, not a highlight all the pieces have the same level. It will be rude from me not to metion that Corey Brown's voice is excelent for this kind of music, but i prefer him on the previous album Reality in focus where shines on every piece, great voice and very underrated in my opinin. The rest of the musicians are very ok, specialy the main man of the band Rob Johnson who really knows to use the instrument and deliver some very efficinet riffs and solos, the drums sounds powerful and combined with the bass of Ian Ringler is a total rythm machine. So, in conclusion not a spectacular album in prog metal, kinda unoriginal in places but good, 3 stars for Decoding the soul.

Report this review (#181532)
Posted Tuesday, September 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars MAGNITUDE 9's third and final release (barring a comeback) is more slick and polished than the first two albums. I agree with another reviewer that there's a hint of Power-Metal on this one that wasn't on the other records. So this is fairly accessible and melodic yet for me it's a step back from the previous album "Reality In Focus" which is my favourite from them. This is one of thoses albums that is hard to criticise and at the same time difficult to praise.

"New Dimension" takes 30 seconds to kick in, vocals and heavy riffs follow. The contrast continues. A calm before 3 minutes followed by a guitar solo. "Lies Within The Truth" is melodic with lots of guitar. Excellent guitar solo 3 1/2 minutes in. Some nice crunch before 5 1/2 minutes. "Facing The Unknown" is a top three track for me. This has a FATES WARNING flavour to it as the guitar grinds away and the vocals are more passionate. "To Find A Reason" has an atmospheric intro like the opening track. It turns powerful fairly quickly though with heavy riffs. The guitar lights it up after 3 1/2 minutes. "Walk Through The Fire" is another top three tune for me. Lots of crunch in this one and a ripping guitar solo after 2 minutes. Nice. "Dead In Their Tracks" features some double bass drumming and an IRON MAIDEN flavour.

"Changes" opens with some very cool guitar before reserved vocals come in. It kicks in quickly as contrasts continue. I like the lyrics to this one a lot. Probably my fourth favourite. "Torn" is more laid back to start with before it kicks in, this contrast continues. I like the guitar in this one.It fades out to end it. "Thirty Days Of Night" has a killer intro, it settles when the vocals come in. Great rocking section before 2 1/2 minutes. "Sands Of Time" is my favourite song on here. Right from the first listen I liked this one. They slow it down but it's still very poweful at times. I like the mellow sections with soft vocals and the chorus. It's all good though.

3.5 stars. I just don't like it enough to offer up 4 stars, but if your into Prog-Metal it's worth a listen.

Report this review (#197608)
Posted Tuesday, January 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
3 stars Progressive metal/melodic metal band Magnitude Nine are back with their third album, and guitarist Rob Johnson shows no sign at all of slowing his band down. In fact they have got heavier, although ex-Psycho Drama frontman Corey Brown is more than up to the task. This album has been co-produced by Michael Vescera who has sung in various bands, including Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force. I am sure that this last connection has helped as there are times when Rob's solo work is just as fluid and rapid but the difference between this and Rising Force is that here the guitars make sense within the song and don't overpower what is going on.

The result is an album that needs to be played at top volume to get the most of it, with melodic rock songs and great harmony vocals vying for place with some shredding guitar. He is fast, but while that is often his main form of attack within solos he can play with restraint when required. In "Walk Through The Fire" they even have a song that could find itself played on rock radio, a heavier darker style of rock that is also extremely melodic, as if Europe had cranked the guitars up even more.

Solid, enjoyable with some great guitar work, this is an album that gives prog metal a good name.

Originally appeared in Feedback #78, April 2004

Report this review (#1005077)
Posted Thursday, July 25, 2013 | Review Permalink

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