Vera : What a beautiful, moving title of this new studio album from the epoch-making Israeli band Orphaned Land! When the previous album ’All Is One’ came out, we got to get used to the fact that the refined oriental music became more and more mainstream and sleek, but on ‘Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs’ we fortunately find more passion and rage. That’s not a wonder if you look at the state of the world since 2014.
Not so long after the release of ‘All Is One’, multi-instrumentalist Yossi Sassi and one of the four inseparable friends since the beginning, left the band. We were a bit worried, but in Idan Amsalem Orphaned Land appears to have found an accomplished sound wizard and his guitar solos even have a kind of Pink Floydish tinge. That’s always a pro! The album was composed around an engrossing story about human beings that prefer to be in a cave in the dark because it is familiar, instead of going out to experience the new challenge of enlightenment. Metaphorical suitable on many kinds of situations, just like the Bible and other writings are multi interpretable. You can read more about that in the interview, here we will focus on the musical achievements.
As I said, more punch and fervency, no more sweet female vocals or pop melodies that estranged us a bit from our beloved death metal band with oriental influences of the early days. Of course, they will never sound exactly like in the nineties, but when we already hear a firm amount of Kobi Farhi’s grunts in the first songs, then we know we are in for the ride. The eight minutes long opening track ‘The Cave’ and ‘We Do Not Resist’ show a band at its peak: Middle Eastern flavoured, but passionate and driven by higher forces. Mandolin and sensitive clean chants add a very melancholic zest to ‘In Propaganda’. It leaps to the eye that the band used a lot of additional choirs and a (Turkish, thus very dramatic) string quartet. This is a fine addition, but we are also charmed by the emotive guitar solo in ‘All Knowing Eye’. It gets fully Hebrew in ‘Jedidi’, while the long and manly calm ‘Chains Fall To Gravity’ includes a magnificent guitar solo of Steve Hackett (ex-Genesis). Then it is time for a fetching rocker. Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian) can be heard in ‘Like Orpheus’ and they also shot a video clip for this song. The next songs again offer us captivating catchy metal with eastern influences, easygoing to listen to, with ‘Only The Dead Have Seen The End Of War’ as proper statement including Tomas Lindberg (At The Gates) as intense guest vocalist and finally an epilogue in which strings, spoken word, Pink Floydish guitar soloing and choirs really leave us in awe about this new work of Orphaned Land. In the end, the sad state of the world we are living in is good for one thing: the creation of deep-draught art!