Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Order Of Nine-Seventh Year of the Broken Mirror

Nightmare Records

Pittsburgh's Order of Nine trace their roots back to the progressive/power metal band Templar. Under that name the band released one lone album ("A Touch of Winter's Discontent") before opting for the name change in 2001. Not sure what to make of the name as I wonder what the origin is for it. That is neither here nor there, but rather just an observation. Of interest though is this "useful" tidbit from the promo (in regards to lead vocalist Michael Degrena)-"with the dark voice of a Seven foot Vampyre, reminiscent of Peter Steele and lower register Geoff Tate albeit having a rather engaging airy rasp that neither the aforementioned share." Given that introduction how does one avoid the Queensryche comparison? Will get to that in a bit though. After changing their name (and style a bit as I'll also explain later) in 2002 the band would issue the self-released album "Of Once and Future Kings". Shortly thereafter the band's independent release helped attract the attention of Nightmare Records. After signing with the label the Pennsylvania act released "Season of Reign". Since then there have been a few more albums and the band has also appeared on various tribute releases including "Rebellion - a tribute to Queensryche" (again with the Queensryche eh?) and "Evil Lives - a tribute to Black Sabbath". Also of note was the untimely passing of guitarist/founding member Michael Chiccitt in 2008. All of that brings us to album number four (or five if you look at Templar and Order Of Nine as being one and the same band), the interestingly named “Seventh Year of the Broken Mirror”. This is one of those rare albums where you could describe the music within as "real heavy metal" while still mentioning the modern metal appeal it has. An album like this is more than just a Queensryche clone. Templar was more straight-ahead progressive metal as compared to this. In addition to other progressive acts (Fates Warning, Dream Theater and Symphony X) there is some Helstar, Seven Witches, Metal Church, Sanctuary/Nevermore, Iced Earth, Jag Panzer, Destiny's End and Icarus Witch (which is also kind of interesting as Order Of Nine includes ex-Icarus Witch guitarist Steve Pollick in there ranks) in their sound. Throw in a bit of thrash (maybe Heathen is what I hear?) and there you have it. Everyone of those bands mentioned has helped shape what could (loosely) be called progressive power metal/dark thrash. Sure, that sounds like more than a mouthful, but all you need to know is that this is heavy, technical and somewhat dark power metal than has all the best parts of the American scene and European scene without any of the crap associated with either.

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