Sound — 9
Only a few months ago the metal media was trying to paint Florida's pride and joy, Deicide, as having lost the will to go on. This provided drummer Steve Asheim with a convenient window in which to put the name of his new band out there: Order Of Ennead. They were formed from the ashes (no pun intended) of previous side-project, Council Of The Fallen, featuring Asheim on drums, Scott Patrick on bass, John Li on lead guitar and Kevin Quirion on vocals and guitar. Their sound is tight, with a slick production that emphasises the alchemic nature of the band. Despite being firmly rooted in the black metal 'feel', death metal also runs amok, perhaps unsurprisingly, through Asheim's drumming. You may be thinking 'Great, another Belphegor clone! ', but the truly appealing element in Order Of Ennead's melting pot is the lead guitar work. The guitar solos are melodic, yet retain a very metal dynamic and speed, and are performed expertly by Li. No relation, if that's what you're thinking. Seemingly oblivious to the fact that Steve Asheim is meant to be the big name in Order Of Ennead, the guitarists really are the stars of the show, with John Li's aforementioned soloing skill and Kevin Quirion's impressive juggling between rasping vocals and rock solid tremolo rhythms taking centre stage. That is not to undermine the drumming though, as Steve Asheim's lightning fast bass and blasts return once again to give us all a mild headache.
Lyrics — 8
Order Of Ennead clearly state the efforts put into their lyrical content. The album deals with various moral, personal and philosophical issues in a surprisingly calm and effective manner. In fact, 'The Culling', which is about distancing yourself from negativity and those that are negative, is probably the most death metal song on this CD. Not a problem, of course, but a little bizarre considering that the senile Satanism of Glen Benton is a point of comparison, despite Benton having no involvement what'soever in Order Of Ennead. Indeed, Kevin Quirion's vocal style is also far removed from that of his new Deicide bandmate; his intelligible rasping style is more 'With Strength I Burn' than 'In Hell I Burn'. He ties in neatly with Order Of Ennead's black metal foundation, without spoiling the numerous death and thrash based segments.
Overall Impression — 9
'Order Of Ennead' is a meticulously crafted work, with flawless structures and dynamics. From no-nonsense opener 'Seeking The Prophets' to the furious black metal and extended piano outro of 'Dismantling An Empire', it manages to both kick ass and ooze classiness simultaneously. Standout tracks include 'As If A Rose I Wither', 'Introspection And The Loss Of Denial' and the beautiful 'An Interlude With Reason'. They are confirmed to be working on their second album already, and if it's half as good as this, Order Of Ennead will quickly become a force to be reckoned with in extreme metal.