Released: 2013, Century Media Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Orphaned Land are a well-known and established five piece oriental progressive, symphonic metal band from Israel. It’s been three years since their last release, but in this time the band have been busy touring and sharing their message within the music scene.
With almost 20 years into their career, they have gained the reputation as being a band with a purpose. With their unique sound blending oriental, progressive melodic death metal, black metal and folk metal, the band base their music focusing on situations in today’s world.
Despite the fact they are situated in Israel, they are influenced by many people from outside their country, focusing on religious views and bring a lot of issues to people attention that have infact broken down barriers in their fight to bring unity.
In 2012 saw an online petition from their fans to nominate Orphaned Land for the Nobel Prize, as many metal fans felt strongly about the band's commitment to inviting the Arab world to listen to their music, in spite of resistance and outright bans from Arab League countries…this led to thousands of people from all over the world signing the petition.
It was no surprise then, I was looking forward to this release! All Is One is the opening track and certainly makes a strong impact, if there is one thing this band can do, grabbing your attention is certainly one of them, throwing you immediately into the Middle East environment!
It is no surprise this opening track was so good, especially as it was mixed by Jens Bogren (Kreator, Amon Amarth, James LaBrie, Devin Townsend Project, Opeth) and was actually recorded in three different countries: Israel, Turkey and Sweden, which are Jewish, Muslim and Christian, which only strengthened the bands message of unity.
Over 40 musicians were used to create the sound of this track, including 25 choir singers and eight classical violin, viola and cello players from Turkey! This is certainly one of the most outstanding tracks on the album!
Despite the bands strong message and politically charged message, nothing is taken from their sound and musicianship, as they play astoundingly. With amazing guitar riffs and solos, every member just excels and with perfect production the sound is clean, which is great when there is so much going on in the background, making you really appreciate all the instruments used.
After hearing this album, I can’t help but feel I am in a dramatic soundtrack, which is a great feeling, especially when an album can transport you into another place and make you forget where you are.
They manage to capture their traditional homeland sounds with melodic metal and it works perfectly. This isn’t the heaviest album, but has a good balance in their sound, mixing up the album nicely with slower intros, before the guitars, bass and drums kick in.
Despite the dramatic start of the album, the female and choir vocals are only used sparingly, but make a great addition to the tracks when used.
Track 3 ‘Brother’ is a slower song, with sadness to it, before picking up with the next track 4 ‘Let The Truce Be Known’, again with a strong message in the lyrics.
Kobi Farhi has an amazing voice and mostly uses his clean vocals throughout this album, with the track 6 ‘Fail’ taking the album down a different path, with a heavier sound and introducing metal growls and screams.
Track 7 ‘Freedom’ is a lovely 3minute instrumental track, before track 8 ‘Shama'im’; which I have to say was one of my less favourite songs on this album, but I do like the sound of the Glockenspiel.
With a misleading start to track 9 ‘Ya Benaye’ I was happier it took on a heavier route, but still not heavier enough for me, and again I didn’t like this track too much. I did like the chorus and melodies, but the album seems to be losing its appeal for me slightly.
Track 10 ‘Our Own Messiah’ brings the album back up there and I’m back enjoying it again, which leads nicely into the last track 11 ‘Children’, which is a great track, rounding up the album nicely!
When commenting on this release Kobi Farhi stated the following:
"I could never imagine in my wildest imagination that one day an Israeli band would be followed by thousands of Muslims from all over the world," says frontman Kobi Farhi, noting that Orphaned Land are the proud recipients of four Peace Awards issued by their Turkish brethren. "If we do a show in Istanbul, Turkey - which is the only Muslim country where we're allowed to play - people come all the way from Iran, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan just to see us.
These are enemies that are fighting each other coming to see us as one group of people. I'd say that historically the Jews and Arabs are brothers because we are all descendants of Abraham, but the conflict and the differences are so big that we've forgotten that. Discovering the fact that our music is the instrument to remind people that we are all one is shocking to me. I never imagined that blood enemies would open their eyes because of it. That's why the title of the album is All Is One.
I feel this is the greatest album we've made to date. The music is just played better and the concepts are made stronger now. We felt that we've done very complex albums in the past, we've proven that we know how to be the most complex band in the world if we want. But this time we had the feeling that, coming from a very complex region, it's time to make an album that would be fun to do and fun for the fans to hear.
A lot of the songs are very sad and tragic, but they're a little easier to digest the messages in the lyrics. We wanted to make an album that's easy for any metal fan to understand the lyrics from the very first listen. People should be judged by their hearts and inner sincerity, not their religious beliefs.
Our feeling is that we were able to bring our music to a new level on All Is One, I hope the fans will feel the same way."
After reading this I can only agree and love their message within their lyrics and hopefully one day, world peace will be accomplished through the world of metal! m/
Despite this album being less complex as their previous releases, it is still original and they are unique in their sound, having an amazing atmosphere and dramatic feeling throughout.
Even though there are one or two tracks I could happily skip, I personally feel this is one of their best releases to date.
No matter what genre of metal you are into, this is certainly an album that needs to be heard…it really is astounding!
Review by Jo Blackened