Order Of Nine - A Means To Know End
Nightmare Records
Heavy Metal
10 songs (42'42)
Release year: 2008
Nightmare Records
Reviewed by Marty
Surprise of the month
Pennsylvania, U.S.A. based Order Of Nine originally got their start as Templar, a band that was heavily influenced by early Queensryche material and even did a cover for a Queensryche tribute album a few years back. The band's third album Season Of Reign saw them finally hitting their stride. A Means To Know End, the band's latest release offers up some of the best old school heavy metal that I've heard this year. Taking influences from early Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, especially albums like Sin After Sin and Stained Class, Order Of Nine also adds some solid and muscular U.S. power metal "meat" to their sound. Combining the amazing guitar talents of Scott Haggerty and Steve Pollick with the "throaty" Geoff Tate/Blaze Bayley like vocals of Michael DeGrena, Order Of Nine's metal is chocked full of exciting and interesting riffs, very technical lead harmonies and just enough shredding lead guitar work to even satisfy the Yngwie fans out there.

The "old school" metal feel jumps right out of the gate with the first track Single Shot. A song about a hitman, the U.S. power metal style combined with a retro midrange boosted guitar tone gives the band a Priest/Accept type of sound. Reckless and almost thrash metal like interludes crop up now and again and most tracks feature extended instrumental breaks and amazing lead guitar work. The Queensryche influences surface quite frequently with the title track, A Means To Know End being a prime example. With a quiet intro, the track slowly builds in heaviness and with the atmospheric heavy riffs, gives the song Warning era QR qualities. Speedier segments also remind me of Priest's Dissident Aggressor. A Beyond The Realms Of Death type of arrangement awaits the listener with Devotee, a track that shows the more creative and atmospheric side of the band with it's epic feel. An Offered Hand is Order Of Nine's finest hour. One of the best "pure metal" tracks I've heard in a long time, the killer main riff borrows a bit from Yngwie's Evil Eye yet is much more pounding and heavy. Moody and catchy with speedy instrumental segments Michael DeGrena's sheer and total command over his voice vaults this track into epic Maiden territory. Ghost Of Memories also bounces back and forth between clean guitar segments and galloping riffs with huge emotional vocals and amazing harmony lead guitar work. Gods At War once again visits the U.S. power metal sound yet with an abstract Queensryche feel as well as neo-classical elements. Show No Remorse also has the U.S. power metal feel and Dio-era Sabbath is front and centre for the odd time signatures and ominous riffs for Ninth Knight.

Although keeping "true" to the traditional heavy metal sound, Order Of Nine also uses some drop D tunings to add extra atmosphere and heaviness yet avoids the "trappings" of the typical modern metal sound that severely overuses that sort of tuning. The way Iron Maiden songs grab the listener and takes them on a journey with epic and thematic instrumental passages is exactly the feel I get when listening to this band. They have a strong grasp on how to produce quality and exciting heavy metal with a vocalist that gives them more of a tougher sound than is the norm nowadays. The production job is huge, giving the band a big powerful Mystic Prophecy like sound with the lead harmonies propelled by multi-tracked chunky riffs. Lots of bands like Mystic Prophecy, Cryonic Temple and even Hammerfall have the same sort of sound yet Order Of Nine's songs seem to have a lot more "substance" and longevity with repeated listens. Unlike some others in the traditional metal genre, Order Of Nine doesn't have to hide behind a huge production job.....they actually write some great songs.

Check out their MySpace page.

Killing Songs :
A Means To Know End, Devotee, An Offered Hand, Ghost Of Memories and Gods At War
Marty quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Order Of Nine that we have reviewed:
Order Of Nine - Seventh Year of the Broken Mirror reviewed by Alex and quoted 77 / 100
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