Orphaned Land. I don’t know how to begin to write about these guys, so just to start; they’re from Israel, and they play heavy metal.
That doesn’t really narrow it down though, but I can say this is one of the most original albums I’ve come across in a long time. It doesn’t try to copy other bands, it isn’t trying to impress, it just is. It’s here and it’s awesome.
This is a band which has taken me by complete surprise. I picked up this album on a whim, and after playing it on repeat for a week, I’m ready to write something other than, “holy hell, this is brilliant.” I’ll start by giving some background on the production of the record. All Is One marks the band’s sixth full length release and was recorded in three different countries; Israel, Turkey and Sweden. These countries are Jewish, Muslim and Christian respectively, and this is relevant because Orphaned Land‘s work is as much of a spiritual journey as it is a piece of music. The album needed a master at the helm, and this task was undertaken by producer Jens Bogren (Devin Townsend, Kreator, Amon Amarth).
Onto the music. It’s obvious from the opening title track that middle eastern influences just ooze from this record. But you also come across the less obvious symphonic metal touches frequently in this track, which add another dimension to the band’s music. This track sets out Orphaned Land‘s message that we are all one as a people of earth – which religion you follow doesn’t matter, we’re all human. Coming from Israel, the band are familiar with the many years of conflict and war that region has suffered due to religious differences.
Brother is a serious high point of this record, which shows off every ounce of passion the band have poured into this album. Their careful craft is more obvious in this track than any other! It’s a slower moving track than the opener, and tells a historical tale. String sections are heavily present here, which makes it feel like it would be suitable as part of a movie score. It’s also here that the vocals of Kobi Farhi truly shine out. Freedom is another top pick from the album – and incidentally, that is exactly what All Is One gives you; freedom. It’s soul searching music at its finest. The guitar work on this record is executed perfectly, and the intricate structure moulds the song together is very impressive. This track is a well timed instrumental, because it breaks up the record into two distinct sections, serving well as an intermission between the halves.
The album finishes up with Children. It’s a slow burner at the beginning, with haunting and melodic string sections paired up with passionate vocals. This is the seven-minute epic that this record needed for a closing statement, where brilliantly timed guitar solos meeting with almost decadent strings.
When the curtains close on this record, you’ll have to listen to it again to even to begin to comprehend what you’ve just listened to.
But when it hits, and you realise just how special this record is, then you’ll need to listen to it yet another time!