Review

ORPHANED LAND All Is One

Album · 2013 · Folk Metal
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5/5 ·
Kev Rowland
There is no doubt that Orphaned Land are one of the most important bands in the world today, in the way that they are working hard at bringing together different people and religions who are often at war with each other. “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’.” The album was mixed by Jens Bogren (Kreator, Amon Amarth, James LaBrie, Devin Townsend Project, Opeth) and was recorded in three different countries: Israel, Turkey and Sweden. Ironically, these are countries that are Jewish, Muslim and Christian respectively, which strengthens the Orphaned Land message of unity through music. Over 40 musicians were used to flesh out the sound, including 25 choir singers and eight classical violin, viola and cello players from Turkey. When one studies the artwork, one sees that it is comprised of the symbols of Islam, Judaism and Christianity. But, all of their work would be of no use if the music wasn’t worth hearing, so what is it like?

First off it is virtually impossible to describe, although they often remind me of System of a Down for some reason, as they mix metal with folk, then add in elements from symphonic and power, plus death and plenty of traditional sounds from Israel. I don’t know much about Jewish music, but can hear elements that I recognise immediately. It is this flux and change of styles that make this band musically so interesting. I first became interested in Orphaned Land when I read about ‘The Never Ending Way Of ORWarriOR’ (which was produced by Steven Wilson), and knew that I had to grab a copy for myself and when I heard it I was just blown away. But, this new album is a step change, as they have moved far beyond what they have produced previously. This is progressive metal in the truest sense, as it is creating something that is mixing and blending from so many different styles and cultures to create something that is new and exciting, yet is always accessible and dynamic.

I fell in love with this album the very first time I played it, and repeated listens have only reinforced my view that this is truly essential. www.centurymedia.com
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