I have probably said this countless times by now but I love black metal, especially black metal that is unique and different from the sea of Burzum and Darkthrone clones. Order Of The Ebon Hand are just that, unique and different. It should be no surprise as the band has been around through some of the greatest years for black metal music. Formed in Athens, Greece in 1994, the band has two full lengths previously with the most recent being 2005’s XV: The Devil so with VII: The Chariot, it marks as a triumphant return for the band. Part of that difference in sound is the addition of Baron Bonisagus on bass, Deimos on drums and Kalma on keyboards. Each new member has brought something special to this latest offering.
What makes this album stand out from XV: The Devil is the fact that it has a different atmosphere than the older material from the group. Yes, this album still has the amazing guitar work of Phlaigon and ferocious vocals of Merkaal but it is as if they pushed beyond previous capabilities to reach a higher level of musical craftsmanship. The track Μόρες is a great example of the mix of technicality between the instrumentals along with the haunting piano notes intertwining at all the right moments. The track Wings is another example of the versatility of this group. It starts off sounding like the intro to a first wave black metal track then transitions into spiraling chaos from the darkest abyss. All the instrumentals on this album are phenomenal. The guitars, drums, bass and keyboards flow perfectly together where nothing clashes or outshines any other but just blends masterfully together.
VII: The Chariot is definitely Order Of The Ebon Hand’s best work to date in my opinion. It sounds like the band is back, stronger than ever and ready to drag souls into their dark void. If you are a fan of a mix of different black metal styles like raw, melodic, atmospheric and just pure straight forward blackness in vain of Darkthrone, Necromantia, Mystic Circle and Emperor, then this is a must listen to for you. Order Of The Ebon Hand may not be the most known in the underground after all these years but do not pass up this gem.
Overall Score: 9.0/10
Review by Neil Andersen
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