Above you all...
Genre: melodic death metal with a hint of Middle Eastern folk
Now hailed as the leading Middle-Eastern folk metal band preaching peace and tolerance, Orphaned Land actually started out an extreme metal band. Their 1993-demo "The Beloved's Cry" captures their transition from an extreme metal band to their present-day status. It was reissued in the late 90s, and End of the Light Records have reissued it this year as well, this time in digipak format.
Stylistically, the release leans more towards death metal than Middle-Eastern folk metal, and the listener can expect lots of growls and aggressive crunching riffage; there are even a couple of blastbeats every now and then. That being said, the eclectic and progressive folk metal tendencies of their later releases are definitely present on the release, in the form of, for instance, the Middle-Eastern figures that many of the guitar solos are based on, as well as in certain vocal melodies (in addition to the growls, there are clean male and female vocals on the release) and in the more progressive and atmospheric passages that are scattered throughout the release.
The release also features two bonus tracks, which are much more oriented towards Middle-Eastern progressive music, and even features some electronica elements. They are definitely interesting, but seem a bit misplaced against the backdrop of the otherwise dark and extreme-metal oriented music of the original demo.
The production is, of course, of 1990s demo tape quality, so do not expect a pristine and polished-sounding release. Still, the production is way better than the majority of metal-demos released in the early 1990s.
Perhaps one of the first ever so-called Oriental death metal releases, "The Beloved's Cry" is definitely worth a listen if you are a fan of Orphaned Land or of later acts such as Arkan or Scarab.