Vera : Orphaned Land occupies an exceptional position in the metal scène. Since the debut 'Sahara' came out in 1994, they drew the attention with their blend of raucous death metal with oriental influences. They are situated at the source, since Orphaned Land appears to be formed in 1991 by four Israeli students. In 1996 'El Norra Alila' was released, but then a silence of eight years occurs. Of course it is not that easy to run a band in a region torn apart by eternal conflicts. Orphaned Land has become a kind of ambassador of these regions and they strife for more unity between different cultures by the international aura and congenial feeling of heavy metal.
Israel is situated in the midst of hostile Arabian countries and live gigs mainly happened in their home country until they did a European tour with Paradise Lost in 2005. From then on we could enjoy their appearance on quite some European festivals. They have been working on the successor of 'Mabool' (2004) for six years. Every detail was considered twice and fine-tuned to the max. Without any doubt we can state that 'The Never Ending Way Of ORWarriOR' turned into the best album Orphaned Land ever made. As crown on the work, these innovative ideas were mixed by Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree); he calls this band the Middle Eastern Opeth. In a way, he is right. The extensive songs (average length is seven minutes) have progressive textures and turns, but death metal influences remain noticeable as well.
The album begins with 'Sapari', an accessible song with female vocalist Shlomit Levi as lead singer, completed with clean male vocals of Kobi Farhi. This is the first single and it shows the band in a moderate way. Usually they are much heavier than this. 'From Broken Vessels' illustrates this right away with its firm grunts and chunky riffs. Yossi's guitar solos serpentine through the inventive structures in a tempting manner. 'Bereft In The Abyss' is a lovely, dreamy song, but sad. 'The Path part 1 - Treading Through Darkness' kicks off acoustically, but it has its crescendo towards grunts and ferocious guitar leads. Dark spoken passages give a cinematic aspect to this album, also invigorated by the symphonic orchestra of Nazareth that adds some smooth and dramatic strings. A song like 'Olat Ha'tamid' is traditional and Arabic, yet 'Disciplines Of The Sacred Oath II' turns out pretty wild and very metallic. The concept is divided in three parts and especially the second part starts very solemn with grandness overtones. Musically and lyrically this album is so rich and wealthy that I suggest embarking for an amazing journey yourself. 'Vayehi Or' even reminds me of Bowie and gothic metal. Just let yourself go and enjoy this spirited masterpiece that bridges east and west.