Magnitude Nine - Decoding The Soul

Year of Release: 2003
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD 151/SPV 085-60542
Format: CD
Total Time: 46:13:00

I had placed high expectations upon Decode The Soul when I wrote my review of their debut Chaos To Control (having at that time already reviewed the sophomore release Reality In Focus). I have to honestly say that I am not disappointed - Magnitude Nine deliver. This is a really good album?all the elements are in the right place, making Decode The Soul a very solid album. Vocalist Corey Brown still sings effortlessly, putting that bit of AOR into the crunchy metal mix. Musically, the band are their most crunchy on "To Find A Reason" and yet they are their heaviest on "Thirty Days Of Night."

Decode The Soul has all the hallmarks of what is now and will be remembered years from now as having been a high point in the band's career. It reveals a band that has it together and knows where they want to go. The band is loose, in a good away, and tight, again in a good way. The arrangements aren't hurried, as the band settle easily into the groove and don't try to force the arrangements. After three albums, they sound like a veteran band who've crafted a sound that appeals to their long-term fans, is fresh enough to draw new listeners, and earnest enough to even draw folks to the genre that might not have given them a listen otherwise.

As on past releases, Magnitude Nine mixes a great deal of melodicism with their chugging metal, making songs like "New Dimension," "To Find A Reason," and "Changes" memorable, catchy and accessible, but none the less powerful for it. The guitar leads are crystalline clear and sharp, Rob Johnson's playing quite precise. Though he does use distortion, too, for effect, as on the slower grooving "Sands Of Time." Drummer John Homan drives things forward with steady, persistent attack, leaving a lot of the darker tones to bassist Ian Ringler. Brown's voice is in great form and suitably textured to give these songs a lot of depth, echoes and backing vocals help enliven the band's sound. Each piece sounds epic, as if it should be the centerpiece of the album.

Dream Theater are rarely evoked except for a particularly John Petrucci-like (circa Images And Words) guitar that opens "Torn" another highlight track on this album of highlight tracks. Guitar whirls about in thick choppy slabs while a chunky bass line pulsates behind the soaring vocals.

All in all, Magnitude Nine have come up with a winner that makes the long wait worth it.

Released by InsideOut Music America in North America in 2004 (IOMA 2072?)

New Dimension (4:31) / Lies Within The Truth (6:03) / Facing The Unknown (5:16) / To Find A Reason (5:28) / Walk Through The Fire (4:50) / Dead In Their Tracks (4:05) / Changes (5:22) / Torn (3:32) / Thirty Days Of Night (3:35) / Sands Of Time (3:31)

John Homan ? drums
Ian Ringler - bass
Corey Brown - vocals
Rob Johnson - guitars
Joseph Anastacio Glean - keyboards

Chaos To Control (1998)
Reality In Focus (2001)
Decoding The Soul (2003)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: April 18th 2004
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 838
Language: english


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