Order of the Ebon Hand – XV: The Devil

up_020705_orderoftheebonFeaturing members of Septic Flesh and Necromantia, Order of the Ebon Hand is a Greek trio rich with Swedish speed and harmonies, not to mention and underlying Norwegian black metal pulse lurking beneath the surface. I’ve never been able to get into the distinct sound of the scene in Greece… believe me I’ve tried. There was always something really alien about the style of the bands that arose from that location (ie: Varathron, Necromantia, Rotting Christ, etc.). The weird delivery somehow killed the atmosphere I needed to hear and feel so that I could reach that otherworldly state of mind that is essential to the black metal listening experience. Order of the Ebon Hand thankfully sounds nothing like the 2 other bands its members were a part of and even though their take on this genre of music is far from an original strike at the heavens, “XV: The Devil” is a very well written album that somehow rises above a blasting delivery to present some potent “songs”. “To Alloces” perfectly incorporates minimal synth textures to some very moving, though Norge in scope, riff ideas that expand with a full-bodied harmony that is as enchanting as it is dissonant. The keyboards act as a mystical specter lurking in the background to give this song the much-needed element of “creep,” only for the banshee screams of the vocalist to elevate the feeling of chaos even though the guitar work feels very focused and memorable. This formula carries throughout the whole of “XV: The Devil.” Speed does eventually decay into very powerful moments of mid-paced bridges and also the doom laden track, “Gateway to Silence,” which offers a moment of rest and wonder before hurling the listener back on the rack for another dose of blasting torment as found on, “The Visitors.” Think Marduk, Moonblood, Taake and Sacramentum mixed with a touch of Windir and you have a very promising mix of black metal that will keep you interested from start to finish. “XV: The Devil” was indeed a pleasant surprise. – Marty


~ by martyworm on January 3, 2009.

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