Order of Ennead
An Examination of Being

There’s a really dumb old riddle. Goes like this:

Q: Where does an eight-hundred-pound gorilla sleep?

A: Anywhere he wants.

There’s a corollary:

That may be, but it doesn’t mean I want that gorilla in my house!

Okay, I’ll get to the point. Order of Ennead’s new album is a whole lot more satisfying and impressive than their first, and that’s due, in large part, to the fact that John Li, an eight-hundred pound gorilla of a guitar shredder if ever there was one, has decided, it seems, NOT to throw his weight (read: chops) around quite so recklessly this time. The result is an album that sounds more like the product of a band, a cohesive group trying to get across songs first and foremost. There’s still some blinding playing—make no mistake, there’s a whole LOT of blinding playing—but a hint of restraint affords the chord progressions and song structures a chance to make a strong impression.

Indeed, An Examination Of Being has the machine-gun drumming one would expect from Deicide legend Steve Asheim; it features Kevin Quirion’s vocals, which—by genre label—are more black metal than death metal but will sound compelling to fans of either genre; and the songs, much as they are in danger of blurring together in a fury of notes and 200+ bpm tempos, really make an impression. This time out, both the music and the lyrics have more substance. This album is, as the sticker on the front says, something of a philosophical journey (hence the title), and the lyrics, which do focus largely on the ridiculous cosmic joke that is mortality (well, it is death metal of some definition or another, right?), are actually worth attending to and absorbing. Riffs abound in every single track, and for all of their hyper-velocity delivery, those riffs are memorable. To these ears, the riches appear up front in the form of opener “The Concept Of Extinction” (could this whole thing really get underway without a drum fill lead-in from Asheim? Come on!!!), near center with “…In The Mirror,” which does feature Li at way-beyond-full throttle when he solos—melodically and in a superhuman fashion, I must acknowledge—within the structured chaos, and in finale “A Betrayal Of Self.” This last song actually does boast a momentary reprieve (around the 2:00 mark) from the full-on assault. But let’s not fool ourselves: this breather ain’t gonna last long, and even when it does reappear a bit later, it’s only a band-aid on our gaping wounds. By this point in the game, folks, the damage has been done: Order Of Ennead has beaten us into submission. And given the melodic elements, really effective songs, and increasingly mature playing that accompanies the carnage, I for one, am pretty happy about it.

Oh, fine—come on in, Gorilla…

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Donald Kyle
May 24th, 2010


  1. Commented by: Staylow

    This album kills. Been listening to it quite a bit recently. Not sure if it was my mood or whatever, but the debut didn’t make much of an impression on me when I first heard. I went back recently, and while I did find it enjoyable, this album is hands down superior. Nice write up.

  2. Commented by: Dan

    While I thought the music on the debut was decent, the vocals killed it for me. Lame lyrics, repetitive phrasing, mediocre rasping; these three things do an album kill.

  3. Commented by: Cynicgods

    Asheim really cuts loose with these guys. Rock-solid death metal drumming 101. I have to agree with Dan on the vocals, though. Too pedestrian for my taste.

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