I bought this CD for three reasons: it was on heavy discount, the band is named after a Magic: The Gathering card, and they’re a black metal band from Greece. Now, black metal and Greece; you can pretty much summarize in two words why you should listen up when that’s mentioned. Rotting Christ. They, along with other bands from the classic 90’s Greek scene, belong to some of the best black metal ever made. Of course, it ain’t all glory, and there’s a whole slew of shitty bands from Greece as well.
Which conveniently leads us to Order Of The Ebon Hand. If a black metal band taking their name from a MtG card sounds dodgy, then you’ll not be surprised that the band is musically quite dodgy as well.
Basically, Order Of The Ebon Hand is the worst kind of unoriginal, cliché-ridden, run-of-the-mill generic 90’s black metal there is. You’ve got your sawing guitars with crisp distortion, cheesy synths, acoustic guitars, the lot. Well, no female vocals, I’ll give them that. It’s not quite in the melodic let alone symphonic pen, but neither is it particularly raw or chaotic. It’s in the middle ground, and is all the weaker for it. The vocals are typical hoarse growls and shrieks, and there’s not a passage here worth remembering. I can understand why somebody in the mid/late nineties found this worthy of release, but I simply cannot understand why anybody would consider this worthy of re-release. Generic crap like this doesn’t age well, especially when it isn’t very good on any measure.
Apparently this re-release is also remastered and remixed, which is baffling because the cavernous sound makes the guitars sound a mess and both the vocals and synths are way too low in the mix. If this thin and weak sound is an improvement on the original, it must have been truly abhorrent.