Magnitude 9 - Reality In Focus

Year of Release: 2001
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD 27
Format: CD
Total Time: 59:39:00

Hot on the heels of their successful debut album Chaos To Control comes the new Reality In Focus which from the opening chords of the powerful "No Turning Back" indeed illustrates that from now on there is NO turning back for this Ohio based band. The mighty chops make me think of the best of Rainbow with Corey Brown's vocals being in the same league as the majestical voice of Ronnie James Dio! Then again Rob Johnson's guitar playing is reminiscent of Rhapsody and Royal Hunt blending nicely with the melody but still able to illustrate the technical contents of his multitude of skills. "What My Eyes Have Seen" kicks off with a superb integration of keyboard parts laying out the carpet for yet another classic progressive metal anthem flirting with a heavy AOR version. I simply love those powerful, dry sounding rhythm breaks! The synth solos incorporated in "Far Beyond Illusion" simply sound stunning, rubbing shoulders with fusion, but still being part of yet another rock classic that we can put among the likes of Fates Warning, Europe and Shadow Gallery. The same intensity of the keyboard solos blends together with the guitar solos in "Afterlife" and especially towards the end the arrangement contains some very original turning points, backed by a great sounding drum animal in the person of John Homan.

Malmsteen-like guitar pyrotechnics introduce "The End Of Days," once again taking speedy synths into its slipstream. Rob Johnson then again comes close to Ritchie Blackmore during the Iron Maiden cover "Flight Of Icarus" with all of the band doing its best to come close to vintage Deep Purple as well. Ample seconds into "Temples Of Gold" and you know you're on a roller coaster ride towards Rhapsody-like material with Luca Turilli sounding guitars playing games with Joseph Anastacio Glean's synth sprints. And while real prog buffs might consider this release to be too much metal and not enough prog, the pièce de résistance on this album comes right at the very end with the superb "Mind Over Fear" which should be the kind of music the band has to concentrate on for future recordings. There's speed here backed with calmer passages, there's loud guitars and silent piano, wonderful vocal harmonies and intelligent drumming all packed into one compressed ball of energy. Also, from a productional point of view, this is by far the most interesting track on the album, and if the final track will be the style of the first track on the third album then Magnitude 9 is on the right track!

Released in North America by InsideOut Music America (IOMACD 2020-2)

No Turning Back (6:32) / What My Eyes Have Seen (5:34) / Far Beyond Illusion (5:39) / Afterlife (9:11) / The End Of Days (4:38) / Lost Along The Way (4:34) / Flight Of Icarus (3:53) / Temples Of Gold (6:24) / Quiet Desperation (5:16) / Mind Over Fear (7:32)

Rob Johnson - guitar
Corey Brown - vocals
Joseph Glean - keyboards
John Homan - drums
Kevin Chown - bassist

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

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: March 21st 2001
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 748
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]