"Reality in Focus" (Century Media/Inside Out Music; 2001)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Magnitude 9 play melodic hard rock that's got such a powerful kick it's almost instantly irresistible. They're one of those bands whose music has "meat" on it. In other words, the music is complex and full, like what you'd expect from a heavy metal symphony. 

Don't get me wrong - this isn't Metallica and "S&M" here. This is a band who rocks in the traditional sense - with guitars, bass and drums. (Okay, and keyboards, too.) The music is powerful, the songwriting solid and the overall effect epic. The music of Magnitude 9 reminds one of Stratovarius and Gamma Ray but with their own angle and style.

As if to prove the epic-ness of thier sound, of the ten songs on this CD, only one is less than four minutes long and two clock in at over seven minutes. Even the longer tunes don't lose their powerful thrust, however, thanks to the superior songwriting and the band's unique musical talents. The vocals are soaring, the guitars are chunky when they should be and flow effortlessly into raging leads when necessary. The melding of the keyboards and guitars sometimes bring to mind the work of Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord of Deep Purple - not in the studio but as they play onstage. And the terrific drumwork holds it all together from one track to the next. 

Magnitude 9 is a band you need to look into if you're into melodic power rock. It's the kind of hard rock that reeks of majesty, especially when cranking out of your speakers with the knob turned to 10 (or 11).

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2001 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:59:46 -0400.