VII: The Chariot
- 2.Μόρες || The Night's Mare03:34
- 5.Knight of Swords06:27
- 8.The Slow Death Walk07:57
Order of the Ebon Hand, despite of their very few releases during the twenty-five years that they exist, they are pretty known and respected by the underground and not only the Greek one. If you listen their releases throughout their long history, you will understand why they deserve that respect. So, after a long absence from discography, they return after fourteen years after their second full length album, to present us their third one called “VII: The Chariot” which was release in June of 2019 by Satanath Records limited to 500 copies and it contains eight tracks of about forty-four minutes in total.
Their music is a nice mixture of nineties Black Metal, you can listen to the Scandinavian influences such as Satyricon, some modern touches which may remind you of Watain and of course the obvious references to the oldschool Greek Black Metal sound. The first element that found quite impressive is the perfect balance that they have achieved between melody and speed. Although that the album is really powerful and the speed is fast almost in most of it, the melody is always present. The other characteristic that i ‘d like to mention is the very nice double guitar riffing. There are a lot of parts where the guitars play a similar riff but not the same at the same time, giving a very interesting result. The last element that i liked was the use of keyboards. They are present only in a few parts of the album, where the band needs to add a more atmospheric touch to the music and the very elegant keyboards do it perfectly. The songs last from four to eight minutes and each one has a unique structure, other times they depend on how the riffs build up the intensity and lead up to the climax, while other times they depend on the changing of the riffs and of the tempo, leading the compositions up to their climax by the use of keyboards or slower passages. It also seems that they have put much thought into the structure of the tracks and none of them becomes boring to the listener.
Regarding the band’s performance, all of its members have delivered a very strong and flawless performance. The guitars, which are the leading instrument, have a clean sound and a very accurate output. The bass is not that audible and sometimes, I think that is missing from the compositions. The drums are very stable and accurate while they don’t lack of passion. The production is clean and quite flat. I think that if the bass was more audible and the overall result more bassy, the sound would highlight the compositions in a much better way. In my opinion, the burring of the bass is the only flaw in the mixture, which despite that, it presents the instruments correctly. The vocals are very expressing Black Metal vocals that reminded me a lot of Satyr, both in the growling parts and in the cleaner – more narrating ones. The lyrics are written in English and they are contained into the nice, six-page booklet. The lyrics presented here are dark stories of life and death, inspired by classical writings and mythical worlds as their two songs “Knight of Swords” and “Αίαντας” by Shakespears’s “Macbeth” and Sofocle’s “Aias”.
Generally, the return of Order of the Ebon Hand is a quality release. It won’t be a monumental album of the Greek Black metal scene, but it can show, on one hand how the band has evolved through time and on the other hand the quality and variety of the Greek scene. The tracks I liked most were “Dreadnaught”, “Wings”, “Sabnock” and “Αίαντας”, although all tracks have their interesting moments. This release will be surely appreciated by the fans of the 90ies driven Scandinavian and Greek Black Metal. This is a nice album that deserves your attention.