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Order of Nine: Seventh Year of the Broken Mirror

Seventh Year of the Broken Mirror marks the fifth release from Pennsylvania's Order of Nine. The album is largely a mixture of progressive, power, symphonic, and traditional heavy metal (I mean the early 80s work of bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest). They are widely praised by most reviewers and have shared the stage with such titans as Symphony X, Metal Church, Overkill, Fates Warning, and others. They have a few hints of thrash in their work, but not nearly enough to satisfy fans who need great amounts of speed and aggression in their music. These guys play mostly at a slower tempo, but they are very heavy and feature some of the coolest classically-infused guitar solos I've heard in a long time. They also take advantage of the harmonic possibilities offered by two guitarists. I would have loved to hear a little more aggressive playing from the lower end, the guitars and bass, but the guitars certainly keep things moving nicely. I recommend that listeners check out the guitar parts on "Changing of the Guard," "Twelfth Talisman," and "Third Wish" for their differences in capturing mellow parts with something more riffy and crunchy. The latter track is especially interesting for its vocal range, a blend of melody and a deep growl. It's fair to compare these guys with bands like Iron Maiden, Queensryche and Iced Earth, in that each band has a dynamic singer and strong guitarists. The singer on this album reminded me, at times, of Paul Di'Anno, but with a deeper register and more disciplined vibratos.

My only complaint about this album was that I thought some of the tracks sometimes sounded a little indistinguishable from one another and from bands with similar sounds. I liked the songs, but I would have enjoyed hearing more of what these talented guys can do with heavy metal generally. They've certainly mastered this sound, but are clearly talented to explore further possibilities. Nevertheless, fans of symphonic and power metal will find lots to enjoy here--I highly recommend that they check out this album, especially if they like powerful vocals and superb guitar parts. I bet these guys put on a good live show.

Track Listing:
1. Seventh Year of the Broken Mirror
2. Words that were Said
3. Dreamspeak
4. Spiral Staircase
5. Changing of the Guard
6. Innocence
7. Third Wish
8. Eye of the Enemy
9. Twelfth Talisman
10. Reign Down

Added: June 24th 2012
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2899
Language: english

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Order of Nine: Seventh Year of the Broken Mirror
Posted by Danny Heater, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-06-24 07:32:44
My Score:

With what appears to be gothic power metal, Order of Nine can only appeal to listeners new to this sound and just found out about Iced Earth, Jag Panzer, Queensryche, etc. since they seem against any sense of layering whatsoever. The intro song and title track is incredibly misleading because of this; clean, atmospheric guitars, piano arpeggios over the heavier bits, harmonies, and so on would make one think this would continue. It's not even that the track is spectacular, but merely listenable. I could say the same "praise" for "Changing of the Guard" and "Eye of the Enemy" because of the middle eastern stand-out section and more piano respectively, but the rest of the record plods here and there and it's incredibly hard to focus on anything given how unoriginal and simple it is. People calling this prog is funny. The drums sound lazy enough, but the vocalist will turn a lot of people away for being an emotionless Peter Steele and a weak screamer to boot. They really need to latch onto those more symphonic parts because those are the only notable sections. On the surface they will seem like they carry a grandoise disposition but the repetition between most of the tracks and naivety towards atmosphere bogs down an already average attempt towards mystical metal.

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