Order Of The Ebon Hand, black, Greece
Alexandra Alexiou Photography

Order Of The Ebon Hand have been veiled in obscurity the last few years, yet they have made a big comeback recently, so it’s time for them and more specifically Orestis Oikonomopoulos’ time to accept my call and discuss over the band. Plus, there are some new things announced in here!

Good evening, Orestis! Finally, it’s time for us to do this discussed interview! What are you up to?

Hey Crystal! I’m at home, listening to ‘Born Of Winter’, a song by Enthrone Serpent, to which I’m due to take a part in; it’s a decent case of well played, melodic black metal which has a lot of potential to gain our attention in the near future. Despite being summertime, some moments are wintry, a season which I’m born for, so everything suits me fine.

Order Of The Ebon Hand is a warhorse in the extreme, hellenic metal genre. The current lineup yet is recently updated. Who are in the band right now?

I love how you put this label on it… warhorse. Totally agreed with that! Since 2017, the band consists of Phlaigon (guitars), Kalma (keyboards), Baron Bonisagus (bass), Deimos (drums) and me on vocals.

Would you like to give us a short bio of the band? How did everything begin, your ambitions and what have you done so far.

Order Of The Ebon Hand started being active in August 1994. Our main goal in the beginning was to play oldschool Black Metal. We have released two albums, ‘A Mystic Path To The Netherworld’ in 1997 by Hypervorea Records and ‘XV: The Devil’ in 2005, via Season Of Mist. Apart from the debut, each album is about a Tarot card, under the black metal veil. In contrast to many black metal bands, Order Of The Ebon Hand pay close attention to their image during on stage and not only in black metal events, while we have appeared on stage with Slayer, Rotting Christ, Candlemass, Accept, Therion, Nightfall, Abbath, among others.

There have been 13 years since you released “XV: The Devil”. Ever since, silence…

We haven’t released something, yes. Yet the band was on stage sometimes, during this time. We are multitasked perfectionists, you see, so someone could easily accuse us of being late in things. Other bands pull off new things quite often and then nothing remains, so our goal is mainly focused to the exact opposite. For now, the band has already completed “VII: The Chariot” which will be our next album. It was produced by Victor Santura (Triptykon/ Dark Fortress), at the Woodshed studios.

When it comes to your live performances, I saw that you were the opening act for Abbath in Athens, back in 2016, where you covered Motorhead’s “Deaf Forever”, as a tribute to the late Lemmy, since it hadn’t been a month since his passing by then. I presume he has had a huge impact on you, as well as Motorhead, right?

Yeah, Kyttaro live club has always had a great sound so we enjoy to play there (Cheers, George!). “Deaf Forever” is the opening track for the Orgasmatron album, and even though it has this rock n’ roll riff, it’s themes are epicly dark and the lyrics could have easily been on an early Bathory record. What should we say about Motorhead and Lemmy… the original lineup is the Holy Trinity! By the way, “White Line Fever”, Lemmy’s autobiography, apart from the great laughter it brings, it has all the answers for all new bands when it comes to dilemmas, choices and rough times everyone goes through here and there. The ultimate rock n’ roll and metal handbook!

Last December you appeared along with Wolves In The Throne Room, in Athens as well. A great event, held by a greater promotion company; Smoke the Fuzz has done great things the past few years. Wolves had also become a sensation with “Thrice Woven” last year. How important was your participation there?

Definitely, it was a very important night with a thrilling feedback by the audience; 1000 people if I’m correct. It was a great plan by a great promotion agency which was fairly loved by the audience. I, personally loved the band since “Two Hunters”. They were also great people to us, very kind and friendly. When it comes to Order, it was an important night since it was our first appearance as a 5 member band – especially for the newest members, a first concert for someone to such an event is like a dive in the ocean and deserve a big respect for their courage and performance!

You also appeared at the Horns Up Festival III in Trikala. What was this experience like for you? How were the province people towards you? Do you think that there is potential in there, when it comes to metal?

This was a fascinating experience! Everything was perfect; the sound, the audience, we received everything and let ourselves flow, it was a very special performance. The entire experience was great and we will surely be back! There was a lot of give and take with the crowd. That was the best moment so far. No matter if it’s a province area or the capital of the world, the real moments are needed! There has to be also some will to live here and now, and not be tough, judgmental and far away from everything. If not, you miss the moment.

In 2013 you appeared on a split with Generation of Vipers. The track “Behold the Sign Of A New Era” is quite promising… has this new era begun for Order?

We hadn’t even thought it like that, but now that you mention it… new era? Sure, why not?

Are your expectations and ambitions fulfilled via Order Of The Ebon Hand?

Of course not, ambitions and dreams never end. I’m happy and lucky with everything we’ve witnessed so far but we’re not full yet. That’s how it is supposed to be, you have to stay hungry! If someone’s full, it’s more fair to call it quits.

How important are politics for music, you think? Especially that now in Greece of 2018 things have gotten out of control?

Personally, I really don’t care about anyone’s socially engaged art. Each artist has to feel this burn for his art and not to serve specific interests. Art that is about art, is the ultimate of art. Especially when it comes to black metal, whose lyrics are based on the Left Hand Path, which is aiming for the man itself as a unit and not as a whole in any form of social category. The dragon doesn’t hide in circles, desperate for fame, but does what his inner self tells him to, not concerned on the others’ approval or disapproval.

What’s the next step for Order Of The Ebon Hand?

Concerts for sure, for the support of the new record “VII: The Chariot”. The concert part is something we really enjoy and gets us in many places, while we can take many other people with us who wish to follow our journey. Yet, we feel the need to record as a five-member band. The next Tarot card which will guide our themes is the eleventh, “XI: Justice”.

The last words are on you. See you soon!

People are being bombed with huge amounts of information, something that gets me to wonder whether anyone will give himself a chance to take some space and realize what’s going on; to gain something new or to read this interview. If you are one of those, my personal greetings to you and I hope to see you at one of the upcoming Order Of The Ebon Hand concerts!