Sometimes there are months that are just too good to be true. October was such a one. New releases by quite a few bands, including some personal discoveries in the shape of Rhapsody, Avalon and, indeed, Magnitude 9...

Guitarist Rob Johnson, like his good friend David Chastain, is a very active fellow. Not only is he a prolific solo guitarist, but he also plays in (to my knowledge) at least two other bands. There's Saddleback Shark, for example (that I am entirely unfamiliar with), and there's aforementioned Magnitude 9. The latter band, consisting of Corey "Psyco Drama" Brown on vocals as well as Joseph Glean (keys), John Homan (drums) and Kevin Chown (bass), has recently released their debut album, "Chaos to Control".

Magnitude 9's music has been compared with Fates Warning and Symphony X. Especially the latter comparison is an apt one - Magnitude 9 plays progressive heavy metal with a distinct neoclassical flavour, enriched with wild keyboard and guitar solos. I personally fail to see the comparison with Fates Warning, because that band is more laid back, less powerful, more subtle, less guitar-oriented. Besides, Fates Warning drummer Mark Zonder is quite a story of his own. Be that as it may, "Chaos to Control" is an album full of balls'n'chunks, amazing guitar work and driving tunes. Check out songs like "End of Time" and "Another World" and you'll know what I mean.

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Written October 1998


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