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Order of Nine
Seventh Year of the Broken Mirror
February 2013
Released: 2011, Nightmare Records
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Waspman

Pittsburgh’s Order of Nine has been slaving away in underground metal circles for over a decade now with three previous albums under their belt (plus one earlier release under the name Templar). Released back in 2011, I’m surprised that SEVENTH YEAR OF THE BROKEN MIRROR slipped past us here at Metal Rules, because this is just the type of album we tend to love.

As you might have guessed from my leading comment in the last paragraph, Order of Nine play progressive power metal of the “dark” kind. That is, the band is more in line with bands like Evergrey and Brainstorm than Helloween and Hammerfall. Indeed, the crunchy riffs of songs like “Words That Were Said” and album-highlight track “Dreamspeak” are powerful and memorable. It definitely seems like the band has everything going for it. Except...

...there are two things keeping the band from the top tier. One is their composition; the album starts off really well, but all of the songs start to blend together in a power metal churn after a while and no memorable riffs jump out and grab you. As I said earlier, “Dreamspeak” is the one truly exciting song on the album, and “Spiral Staircase” has some great riffs and solos but most of the other songs are good but unexceptional.

The other issue is vocalist Michael DeGrena. He has a very smooth voice and can obviously sing, but his register is so low, and his style so laid back that he can be a detriment to the songs. After a bunch of spins of the album, I’ve accepted his style as a “signature” for the band (for better or worse), but I can’t help but feel like he needs to inject more emotion into his voice because throughout this album, it often feels like he is completely ambivalent to the music.

In spite of these issues, it’s to the band’s credit that SEVENTH YEAR OF THE BROKEN MIRROR is still quite a satisfying power metal album. There are plenty of hooks and melodies to be found within so power metal fans looking for something a little different should check these guys out.
Track Listing

1. Seventh Year of the Broken Mirror
2. Words That Were Said
3. Dreamspeak
4. Spiral Staircase
5. Changing the Guard
6. Innocence
7. Third Wish
8. Eye of the Enemy
9. Twelfth Talisman
10. Reign Down
11. Winter’s Call


Michael DeGrena: Vocals
Mark Kreh: Guitar
Steve Pollick: Guitar
Mark Howard: Bass
Chris Dillon: Keyboards
Larry Boord: Drums



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