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Order of Nine - "A Means To Know End" (CD)

Order of Nine - "A Means To Know End" CD cover image

"A Means To Know End" track listing:

1. Single Shot
2. A Means to Know End
3. Devotee
4. In The Know
5. An Offered Hand
6. Ghost of Memories
7. Gods at War
8. Ninth Knight
9. Show No Remorse
10. Last Dance

Reviewed by on January 13, 2009

"'A Means To Know End' is a nice effort, but nothing that hasn’t been done before and done better."

Formed in 2001, Pennsylvania band Order of Nine is a traditional American power/traditional metal band, and 2008’s “A Means To Know End,” the band’s third release, is exactly that.

The rhythm guitar riffs throughout function mainly as an anchor to the vocal melodies and solos and are fairly generic. However, though rather simplistic, some of these riffs are quite catchy and drive the songs well, perhaps most comparable to a less complex, modern day Metal Church. The clean guitar parts are decent, but are a little too similar to Iced Earth, as are several of the harmonies.

The best attributes of this album are the solos and vocal performance. Vocalist Michael DeGrena has a similar style to that of Ronnie Munroe (Metal Church) and Tim Aymar (Pharaoh, Control Denied), and puts in a solid performance throughout the record. The lyrics are decent and aren’t too cheesy, but they aren’t the best either. The solos are well written and executed and are the highlight of the record. The intro soloing of "An Offered Hand" has a Yngwie Malmsteen flavor to it and displays guitarists Scott Haggerty and Steve Pollick's talent.

My biggest criticism of “A Means To Know End” is its lack of originality and embarrassingly obvious rip offs, namely being from Iced Earth’s “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” The title track is perhaps the best example of this, as their clean intro is very similar to “Melancholy” in both nature and tone. There is a riff that is nearly identical to a riff from “The Coming Curse” that had me double checking what I was listening to. Also, there are numerous harmonic guitar lines and song structures that are also heavily throughout the record that reek of Iced Earth's “Something Wicked…” and "Dark Saga."

Overall, “A Means To Know End” is a decent, but not spectacular release. There some catchy melodies, solid vocals and good solos, but also generic riffs and blatant rip offs. The best cuts are “In The Know,” “An Offered hand” and “Gods At War.” This album is nice effort, but nothing that hasn’t been done before and done better.

Highs: Quality solos, solid vocals, "An Offered Hand"

Lows: Blatant rip offs and fairly generic sound

Bottom line: The overall talent of the band members is here, but the songwriting is a bit lacking and disappointing considering the band member's abilities.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)