Magnitude 9 - Chaos To Control

Year of Release: 1998
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD027/SPV 085-28812
Format: CD
Total Time: 53:40:00

Ask anyone in the know and you'll always get the exact same answer. The progressive metal scene is overcrowded to the point of absurdity, and one more mediocre band will send the latest serial killer on a musician-murdering frenzy that'll span the entire globe. Mighty words, I know, but if anyone is guilty for them, it's the endless stream of imitators that has plagued the scene for several years now. The lesson for your beloved reviewer? Magnitude 9: progressive power metal. HANDLE WITH CARE.

Alas, this relatively new American quintet proved to have what it takes to rise above the murk and decay that is quickly becoming the power metal scene. And fortunately so, as I must confess to having had itchy fingers and my aim set on Chaos To Control as soon as the album took off. The fact that the first two tracks were nothing out of the ordinary and that Rob Johnson's lightning guitar solos sounded like a tuned random tone generator on speed didn't help much either, but once the wonderful semi-ballad "Into The Sun" evolved into an unforgettable chorus that sends vocalist Corey Brown soaring into the skies, my grip on the trigger eased up. That's one serial killer less on the face of this Earth. Go thank your local deity, make amends with your friends, and get really really drunk tonight.

Chaos To Control walks the not-really-thin line between finely crafted technical power metal and overly showy garbage rather often, however, and that is what keeps the album from reaching its full potential. Johnson in particular could use a wee bit more restraint and choose to leave the sweep arpeggios aside for a second, but when one hears the thrashy power of "Another World" and its heavily contagious riff, confusion sinks in again. Are these guys writing songs or just riffs to back guitar and keyboard wizardry up? Both, actually. And even more curiously, they manage to pull it off simultaneously, with the most interesting of ideas drifting off suddenly and coming back from out of nowhere again after an uninteresting display of technique or dull riffage.

Being totally honest, however, one can't deny the fact that Magnitude 9 is a band with a huge potential of staying power, and which's merits are most apparent in the excellent vocals of Brown and, even more importantly, in the creative and crucial drumming of John Homan, who drives the aforementioned "Another World" forward like one mean juggernaut. The members of Magnitude 9 understand the value of majesty and the almighty riff well, and some of the record's vocal melodies are simply brilliant; there is no questioning that. It's just that their sound, heavier than their European peers and yet no Nevermore, could still use a good honing.

Similar artists: Symphony X, Artension, Fates Warning

Released in the US by DCA Recordings, the InsideOut version that was released has a different track order, is minus the "Man On The Silver Mountain" cover, with different artwork. Both covers appear above, the on the right being the InsideOut edition (which is no longer available).

End Of Time (6:41) / Voices (3:48) / Into The Sun (5:51) / Keeper Of Your Soul (5:14) / Secrets Within (4:40) / Another World (5:26) / Don't Say (5:15) / After Tomorrow (5:39) / Y2K (4:32) / Writings (6:34)

Rob Johnson - guitars
John Homan - drums
Corey Brown - vocals
Kevin Chown - bass
Joseph Anastacio Glean - keyboards

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

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: November 17th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website:
Hits: 1149
Language: english


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