Nine O Nine – ‘The Time Is Now’   Leave a comment

Featuring a trio of renowned artists, (To Pica, lead guitarist, of Sacred Sin and Ramp, Arlindo Cardoso, drummer, of Low Torque, One Hundred and Twenty, To Pica, Waco and Sergio Duarte, vocals, of Reaktor, RCA, Sergio e os Animais), Nine O Nine is a melodic hard rock/heavy metal band, from Portugal. Their debut album, ‘The Time Is Now’, is available, via Raising Legends Records, in stores and digitally.

The Time Is Now – Kicking drum intro, surrounded by lively cymbal action and surprisingly mellow vocals. A slightly melancholic tone, with a contemplative vibe. Steady, mid-paced rhythm and a dreamy quality, generally. A bit repetitive and no striking features as yet, but let’s see what the rest has in store.

The Way Back Home – A little bit trancy and poppy, in the synth and keyboard intro. Slightly weak in presentation, with a much softer sound than expected, though it is hardened, briefly, by a slightly screamo section, which does increase the tension and lift it up towards the end.

Beauty Femme – Gentle acoustic intro, thoughtful in tone and lower in vocal pitch, less reflective of the lyrics than is deserved. The musicianship itself is good, but up until the latter part, there’s just an unfortunate low vibration to the whole thing, which doesn’t do justice to the song’s or the band’s potential. Ending on a fading acoustic section, it leaves a certain sadness behind it.

Never Let Me Down Again – Now that’s a more powerful riff intro! It’s about time the riffs showed themselves more audibly and they do here. There’s a stronger flavour to this track and now you get the sense that they’re actually feeling it. Good to hear the mood lifting and the beat moving upwards with it. Everything just comes together more cohesively here. The more upbeat vibe suits the song and it closes with a quicker, harmonised vocal, with a lot more life to it.

Aquilam – Shriller riff intro, with added vibrancy. Still a slight sense of regret/sorrow within it, but generally, much brighter. A little briefer in length and though it still seems to be tinged with sadness, the mood has improved, on the whole. The best thing about this track is that it’s more riff centred and the ending shows as much life as the intro, in that respect.

King – Notably heavier intro, with a suitably darker underlying thread, edging towards grunge territory. Within this track, there’s a slight Soundgarden echo, in places, serving it well and it even moves into Pearl Jam arenas, at times, which is always a good sound. In the main, this song breathes a lot better and comes to life, in doing so. The grungier direction seems more apt.

The Rush – Quirky organ intro, before blasting into life, with a plainly powerful vocal and drum fill. This is a much more metallic sound. Again, it brings greater light to the track and it’s clear to see that the heavier this band get, the more comfortable they are. The uplifting feel of this is palpable and this is where Nine O Nine need to stay. Closing on an active drum roll and a fading return to the organ, a new lighter vibe’s been injected now and it works.

Big Event – Gradual, slight didgeridoo sound introing, easing into another heavier accompaniment. Intriguing visuals follow. A more colourful track altogether, evoking forest scenes and a sense of adventure. Much stronger beats and a cultural flavour throw a genuinely interesting angle into it. Imagery of outback jungles flood your mind, creating a whole new emphasis.

Sofia – A heavier, steel string and gentle piano combo intro’s, morphing into a melting riff and vocal section. Opening onto a passionate crash of emotion, hitting you in torrents, this is really a beautiful flood of passion. Well-placed sound effects make it audible, as it crashes against the rocks at the end. Nice finish.

Overall – ‘The Time Is Now’ may have started out unremarkably and weaker than hoped, but it morphed into a pleasant surprise, with a lot more to offer than first appeared. Initially, it’s definitely more alt pop than heavy rock/metal, but persevere and eventually, the harder aspects come to the fore. Nine O Nine’s skills and passions clearly lie in the rockier arena, so the best advice would be to break free from the poppier elements and keep them there. ‘T.T.I.N.’ would just benefit from being ‘heavied up’, consistently, throughout. Worth bearing with it, till the end.

6/10 ******

For fans of alt/indie/grunge rock, soft rock and experimental metal.

Posted April 6, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

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