Released: 2010, Earache Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Steve Asheim (the skinpounder in Deicide) and his troops under the Order of Ennead moniker are back, after releasing their excellent self-titled debut album via Earache Records in 2008.
Order of Ennead had set a high calibre bar for their own sharply played, technical mixture of both death and black metal on their debut already, basically impressing people all around the world by the album´s complex and technically advanced song structures that the guys had obviously honed for quite some time before nailing all the parts for their songs down completely.
The band´s follow-up album, AN EXAMINATION OF BEING, obeys the same known formula that was set on their debut already; the songs are filled with some highly technical wankery, both instrumental and song structure-wise that should not leave anyone cold. Apart from all this technicality that this album contains so much of, the music herein comes across as hot, fierce-sounding and twisted as before, if not more. Order of Ennead haven´t abandoned or lost any of their trademark-ish tightness of the new songs but have pulled together such an ear-slashing package of beautifully flowing tunes once again that surely gives them some credit as one of the most noteworthy extreme metal acts that is out there these days. AN EXAMINATION OF BEING is a carefully crafted extreme metal album, and there´s basically nothing on this record that they wouldn´t have paid attention to, as far as the songs are concerned anyway.
Naturally it´s both Steve´s incredible drumming and John Li´s exceptionally phenomenal guitar work that seem to steal the 2 leading roles in Order of Ennead´s shamelessly violent and modern sounding death/black metal attack. The band has never spat on the idea to include some melodic parts for their songs - and the band´s 2nd album makes no difference to that rule either. This time, however, they haven´t bothered to include any acoustic or piano driven interludes/parts but have left them all out democratically from the album completely. In that sense this album is also a little bit heavier, meaner sounding and kind of a more straightforward effort than its predecessor. And speaking of all things slightly heavier and meaner, "The Scriptures of Purification" is probably the album´s heaviest and vilest number on this merciless follow-up record of the O.O.E. camp - with some truly crushing and catchy riffings dominating the song, without forgetting somewhat perfect lead work courtesy of John Li in it either.
It would be an overstatement to say AN EXAMINATION OF BEING will take its place at the top of the extreme metal throne as one of the finest and revolutionary albums of all time as it probably will not be ever valued that much amongst the fans of this type of extreme stuff. However, it´s already certain that Order of Ennead have released 2 quality albums full of blistering and technically demanding black/death metal that people with more extreme tastes for metal, will undoubtedly appreciate for some years to come.