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Orphaned Land - Mabool - The Story of the Three Sons of Seven CD (album) cover


Orphaned Land


Experimental/Post Metal

4.08 | 323 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars ORPHANED LAND's second album, Mabool, is almost spotless in my opinion; I continue to be impressed every time I listen. Their style, a mixture of Israeli folk music with death metal and Western orchestral elements, is extremely original, but what's more, this band has the conceptual intelligence as well as the musicianship to pull it off without sounding in the slightest bit pretentious. I would suggest that listeners consider whether or not they will be offended by religious elements--these being drawn from the story of the Flood which is a feature of all three major Judeo-Christian religions. I also think that if you are a fan of OPETH, and particularly of Ghost Reveries and Damnation, you are especially likely to enjoy ORPHANED LAND's work. In fact, the outro of "The Kiss of Babylon" may even remind you of the outro of OPETH's "Harlequin Forest."

"Birth of the Three" opens the album with the basic premise: three warriors who hail from each of the three Judeo-Christian religions. All three of the descriptions seem fairly complimentary, and I have to wonder, was the lyricist thinking of the Narnia Chronicles a bit when he describes the Christian character as "lion wisdom"? The further you get into the album, the more you'll be in awe of KOBI FARHI's vocal versatility. With three styles at his command--Western, Middle Eastern (NOT easy because the notes are closer together than the Western semitone) and death-metal growling, it seems as if there's almost nothing that FARHI can't do...and for that, they have female solo vocalist SHLOMIT LEVI.

Easily one of my favorite tracks is "Halo Dies," which is the heaviest track as it introduces God's rage at the sins of interesting thing I've noticed, which may be part of the Israeli cultural heritage, is a greater willingness to face this side of the Torah head-on than one usually sees in music written from a Christian perspective. "A Call to Awake" is also quite innovative, in the way its opening blends a reversed lute track with one going forward.

The second truly stunning moment on this album (or should I say, MOST stunning) is "Building the Ark," which melds Latin Gregorian chanting in with Middle Eastern instrumentation. Somebody obviously paid attention in Music Appreciation, as European music from the Middle Ages was sometimes closer in the chords used, to Middle Eastern music than it was in later times. This song is followed by "Norra El Norra," which according to the liner notes is a traditional song that has been given a metal arrangement. "Mabool" itself is very nice, but contains one of the only two awkward moments on the album, to my ears--there's a falsetto I could've done without, but I'll cut them some slack because of the chance that comes from another cultural heritage.

The third moment that stands out the most is also the longest song on the album: "The Storm Still Rages Inside." While it might lull the listener into thinking there's not much to it in the beginning, as a slower song, I think this song is the equal of songs like PINK FLOYD's "Comfortably Numb" or OPETH's "Epilogue," and even at over 9 minutes, it feels at the end as if it wasn't long enough. The album closes with "Rainbow," which musically seems like a bit of an anticlimax after "The Storm Still Rages Inside." However, since it was necessary for the completion of the story, I'll let them off the hook for that one, too.

Overall, this is a fantastic album that I highly recommend. Anyone who is a fan of prog-metal, or who is a fan of any prog with a Middle Eastern twist, should buy this immediately.

FloydWright | 5/5 |


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