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Orphaned Land - The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR CD (album) cover

THE NEVER ENDING WAY OF ORWARRIOR

Orphaned Land

Experimental/Post Metal


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4 stars Orphaned Land has been for years one of the most respected bands coming from the Middle East, and their last album, Mabool, has a big spot in my heart along with albums such as The Dark Side Of The Moon, Metropolis Pt. 2, The Visitor, and In The Land Of Grey And Pink between other albums that really changed the way I listen to music; so I had big hopes for this album.

6 years and over 600 hours of studio work have passed since the release of Mabool, so I had huge hopes for this album. Making such pretentious albums can be risky for the band and lead to bad critics (Be and PoS coming into mind) because the hopes are huge and the disappointment could be just as big. Gladly, I can say that didn't happen to me. The band made an amazing work with ORwarriOR putting all of their heart and soul in around 1:20 hours of pure awesome.

Let's talk a bit about the style. Orphaned Land is known for their mix of progressive metal with oriental music and their constant evolution since their first album. The band keeps its oriental vibe, although this time they've gone a lot more into the progressive side of their music. I also noticed the the instruments used are way more classic. Less ouds and more electric guitars. However, they succeed in maintaining the oriental vibe though their amazing harmonized riffs, which is a point in favor for me. It's not easy to pull such amazing sounds with traditional gear. Anyway, lovers of the oriental instruments, fear not for there still are amazing instruments. I'm just pointing out that their use maybe was more subtle. That's the impression I got. The style is similar to Mabool. Less death metal and more progressive with clean vocals and a huge oriental feel. Conclusion: If you are looking for innovation from Mabool, you probably will feel a bit disappointed since they go for the same formula. If you don't care about them going for the same working formula, you will not be disappointed.

Now let's talk about the album itself. It is another concept album, this time about the struggle between light and dark, good and evil, inside each one of us, being the Or Warrior (warrior of the light) every person. The listener. Just like Mabool, it is an album that requires various long and focused listenings. It is like an expensive wine or a Kubrick film. You can't just drink it in order to really enjoy it. You need to analyze it, to really understand it, to find all of the subtle harmonies and little things. The album is too awesome to focus on a few songs. But my favorite ones or the ones that I think about the most are probably the two parts of "The Path". Be sure to give them a good listen.

Now is there a thing that I didn't like and didn't live up to Mabool? Yes. And that's why this album is getting 4 stars instead of 5 from me. The album's flow wasn't smooth enough to ensure that the listener stays focused for the 1:20 hours. Unlike Mabool, it wasn't as easy for me to stay focused during the album.

Conclusion: We are in front of a huge and amazing album. We are in front of 6 years of hard work by the most respected metal band coming out of the Middle East and one of the most original bands from the last two decades. Does it live up to Mabool? Maybe yes, maybe no. But anyway an amazing and unique album that every progressive metal lover should have. If you didn't get it, do it now.

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Send comments to Urik (BETA) | Report this review (#262812)
Posted Tuesday, January 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I heard the third Orphaned Land's album, "Mabool - The Story Of The Three Sons Of Seven", in 2004, I was sure I was faced with a different band. The fuse of middle eastern musical influences with progressive and death metal worked perfectly and I can say that it was one of the most listened albums at the time. But although I found the band above average in creativity, producing a very original and captivating music, I thought it was almost impossible the band be able to overcome its third album. Then, six years after the launch of this album, I can say that they were able to overcome it. I say this based on two fundamental aspects. The first, and foremost one, is that although the band has kept its characteristics, they are much more progressive in this album. The second aspect is that there are much more intricated and very well worked instrumental passages, what caught my attention enough. If I have something to complain about the album, it is the lack of heaviness in some passages. But nothing that damages the hearing of this wonderful work. "Sapari" opens the album in a masterly way and shows the entire power of the band and great Shlomit Levi's vocals. There are great ballads and interludes based on folk music like "Bereft In The Abyss", "His Leaf Shall Not Wither" and "Vayehi Or" or more rock inspired like "M I ?". But it is in "From Broken Vessels" that all the band's creativity comes up. A mix of death metal elements, progressive and folk music are distributed in seven and a half minutes of music, with excellent and intricate instrumental passages, clean and guttural vocals, heavy riffs interspersed with acoustic passages, and good keyboard's layers. With the same assumption, with more or less keyboard presence, I can cite songs like "The Path Part 1: Treading Through Darkness", "The Path Part 2: The Pilgrimage To Or Shalem", "Disciples Of The Sacred Oath II" and "Barakah". The song "The Warrior" is more epic and sounds much more dark and obscure, while "New Jerusalen" is totally folk inspired. Summary, all the songs make sense in the context of the album and I couldn't give it less than 5 stars.

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Send comments to peccatum (BETA) | Report this review (#263544)
Posted Saturday, January 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars For European like me, Israel is quite exotic country. It's not Arabic and Israelites would take this probably as offense, but some elements they are incorporating in their music are the same. Let's just call it "Middle-Eastern". There for sure has to be something in the water.

Strings, wild rhythms, choral singing at times, wild pace and complex ' n ' promising song, that's intro - Sapari. Unfortunately, this song (and others) are sometimes so unclear that I don't understand what they are actually singing. Hopefully, lyrics are in English (thank you for choosing to do it this way so people like me can understand without Hebrew dictionary).

But this is not Prog Metal at all costs, sometimes we get some kind of Post Metal guitar sweep picking or sometimes just plucking of strings.

Hell, this is (as Hellboy says) helluva record, these M-Eastern flavours are everywhere through this record and Death Metal growls are of low amount (so Marty is happy because I believe in a world where you can get "tough" music without them, but don't believe me, many people like them so what). So many influences, so many melody twists, so interesting and rewarding experience, this album is real deal that treats listener very well.

There is story, but I wouldn't bother myself with understanding it for now, it will come later (same procedure I did with Scenes From a Memory).

Words simply cannot define how extremely beautiful "The Never Ending Way of ORwarriPR" is. Because what you get here is definitely one of the most interesting experiences of 2010. Truth is that this year brought many albums so far and only some of them are good.

Some simply aren't, but this happens when you have so many releases here.

They simply cannot please everyone and they aren't even trying to do it.

But "Orphaned Land's" fourth installment to world of Prog Rock,

that's something different. Real deal they say, attractive title.

Mysterious cover, even looking like common tattoes.

Unlike this review's row width, this album isn't

descending in quality, on the contrary, it

is evolving, growing on you not with

each listen, but with each track.

Of course, except last one

which serves as some

kind of outro. This

is usual, I'm

used to it.

So

5(-),

nothing

bad really to

mention, because

this record is almost flawless.

Of course, I'm leaving some kind of

backdoor here because you know, let's give it

few weeks or even months and we'll see what's the final result of this

really unique album. So far one of the best ones I've heard from this year to be honest.

OK, let's promise poor old Marty this little expressionist form of designing review, I don't do this regularly (I never did this actually)

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Send comments to Marty McFly (BETA) | Report this review (#280167)
Posted Saturday, May 01, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars I have listened to The Never Ending Way of the ORwarriOR a few times and, while very impressed with the musicianship, ethnic influences, production, and songwriting, it just doesn't grab me! I admit that I am not a lyric-driven music lover (Jon Anderson vs. Robert Wyatt or Peter Hammill to me is a contest of melody--the voice as an additional instrument--not verbiage), I seek melody, harmony, subtlety, and innovative twists, tricks, progressions. Also, I am not very tolerant or attracted to musics employing a preponderance of "heavy" or "metal" stylisms. A well-crafted and performed CD that lacks . . . something! (Plus, I like what I've heard of "Mabool" a little better.) Good, IMHO, but not essential. Excellent addition for those who like their prog on the heavier side.

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Send comments to BrufordFreak (BETA) | Report this review (#284720)
Posted Thursday, June 03, 2010 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars After a long wait Orphaned Land finally delivered another piece of their unique mix between Progressive Metal and Jewish/Arabic influences. Just like its predecessor, 2004 release Mabool - The Story Of The Three Sons Of Seven, this is another religiously inspired concept album that presents us with the a classic battle between good and evil. Of course my description of the story arc is very limited since I'm narrowing it down to the very basics. Hopefully once the listener starts digging into the concept of this material there will be a more depth to be discovered.

To me, The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR represents a definite improvement over its somewhat overrated predecessor that, in my opinion, came off shallow when it tried using growl and middle eastern music. It was almost as if these additions to the band's sound were thrown in just to make them sound more original than what their style of melodic metal music actually could give them credit for. Luckily Orphaned Land did improve immensely over the last six years giving more space to their Jewish/Arabic influences while almost eliminating all of Kobi Farhi's rougher growl vocals. This does make the band sound more like an ethnic metal band that adds its surrounding influences into the traditional metal sound but with a definite conceptual and progressive metal element added to it.

It appears that Steven Wilson had once again done miracles since the production on this recording has improved quite a bit since what we heard on Mabool - The Story Of The Three Sons Of Seven. This definitely makes the album a long but very smooth and pleasurable experiemnce. Unfortunately it's the former component that once again manages to make a great recording merely good. I really don't see the point of cramming almost 80 minutes of music into this release since there were bound to be a few distinguishable lesser moment lurking about. Add the fact that none of the compositions actually managed to touch me on the emotional level, meaning no real stand-out moments, and we get another really good but not really excellent album. This is especially noticeable during the ballads that all seem unnatural to my ears since they are mostly here to progress the conceptual story arc and add nothing from the musical point that we couldn't have done without.

I was honestly surprised that this album didn't appeal to me as much as I would have wanted it to especially since the band has improved on almost all of the critical points that I addressed in my review of their previous album. There are even a few jam sessions with prominent spotlight on the Jewish/Arabic influences added! Still, the closest Orphaned Land gets to a masterful performance this time around is the quite versatile composition Disciples Of The Sacred Oath II.

Orphaned Land delivered another quite ambitions offering that isn't without its flaws even though I definitely sense a great improvement in the band's style since the release of Mabool - The Story Of The Three Sons Of Seven. I'm sure that fans of Progressive Metal will love this material but to my utter disappointment this music does very little for me in order to strongly recommend it to anyone else.

**** star songs: Sapari (4:04) From Broken Vessels (7:36) Bereft In The Abyss (2:45) The Path Part 1 - Treading Through Darkness (7:27) The Path Part 2 - The Pilgrimage To Or Shalem (7:45) Olat Ha'tamid (2:38) His Leaf Shall Not Wither (2:31) Disciples Of The Sacred Oath II (8:31) New Jerusalem (6:59) Vayehi Or (2:41) Barakah (4:13) Codeword: Uprising (5:25) In Thy Never Ending Way (Epilogue) (5:09)

*** star songs: The Warrior (7:11) M I ? (3:27)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#285582)
Posted Tuesday, June 08, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars I discovered this band in 2004 with "Mabool - The Story Of The Three Sons Of Seven" and MAN I said what an album. These guys know how to play great innovative prog music. The album was an excellent album and deserved between 4 and 5 stars. Now with the new one the Orphaned Land reached their very excellence..in front of me stands a MASTERPIECE: we have everything here from classical prog sounds to middle-east etnical sounds, from growling to soft and melodic voices (the female choruses are very cool even if I usually don't prefer them in other bands). I give 5 stars to only those albums where I don't ever skip a song and this one represents that case. So for whom likes different etnical styles I suggest to give this one a shot and believe me you won't be disappointed.

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Send comments to victor73 (BETA) | Report this review (#285977)
Posted Friday, June 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars After the epic Mabool and a long break (6 years!!) OL returned with their best and most matured work IMHO. This is a masterpiece in any way. The production, the music the whole package is truly exceptional.

So this is progressive metal with folk elements, a lot of experimentation with oriental instruments, melody with growls, their usual style. You may call it global or even eclectic metal, anyways this is their music, full of colors and moods. The two main pillars of this is metal and middle east music. And for the first time the blend is perfect, everything is part of the song structure and the acoustic string parts are not interludes of the heavy parts. This was visible in Mabool but now it is perfect.

I never do song by song review. After each spinning there was a different song that got my attention. But the one that always wins me is the epilogue, the last song. Simple and brilliant.

I am not a great and loyal fan of Steven Wilson but I must agree that he is genious in many ways. His contribution in this release is visible and positive but never overshadows the band's ideas. It just gives it a boost.

There is a lot to say about their religious ideas. I will only say that I agree with their idea of unification regardless of your religious beliefs. I am not an expert in middle east or in history generally, I only see it in a humanitarian way. And I agree that music unites.

This is 2010's best effort in its genre and maybe one of this year's best albums in prog music overall.

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Send comments to Sophocles (BETA) | Report this review (#308869)
Posted Monday, November 08, 2010 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Previous band's album had it's moments, but didn't attracted me too much. I liked the idea of mixing Middle Eastern folk with some heavy music, but openly too polished sound and too eclectic mixture of styles didn't work properly for me.

So, with this new band's release I was interested what is the direction of their development. Yes, this album is a bit different musically, and it's good (who needs two same sounding albums in row?). But ,as with previous one, I have a mixed feeling there.

Biggest progress is in music elements mixing - there on this release I really hear not two often opposite musical genres, mixed in one music, but real melted music of two equal components. This really works. Whole sound became better balanced, compositions are more professional - this side could be hardly criticized.

Now about not such pleasant things - songs became more straight forward , even if have some inclusion of growling vocals, acoustic strings,etc. In all, this album is great example of melodic Middle Eastern power metal with some prog elements. Sound is too much polished and compositions are too faceless, you like it when you hear it, but can hardly remember even small tune when it finished.

For those new for band's music possibly the best comparison of this album's sound will be next: polished mix of Ophra Haza and System Of A Down/Serj Tankjan, but please note the later is really less commercial, much more heavy and possibly not less proggy.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#308884)
Posted Monday, November 08, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars For me this is a step back in ORPHANED LAND's discography. I even like the much more straight forward "El Norra" to this one, at least it rocks out more.This is more in the style of "Mabool..." just not as good. And this surprised me because Steven Wilson helps out on keys and he also mixed it at "No-Man Studios". Maybe it's just me but there seems to be an OPETH flavour at times on this one while "Mabool..." just seemed so refreshing and new when it came out.

"Sapari" opens with female then male vocals as it kicks in with that Middle Eastern flavour. Female vocals return. "From Broken Vessels" features keyboards as the sound builds and growly vocals join in. Clean vocals are used here as well. "Bereft In The Abyss" is mellow with reserved vocals. "The Path Part 1" and "The Path Part 2" are my favourite songs on here.The atmosphere and guitar to open as laid back vocals come in sounds great. It kicks in after 1 1/2 minutes. Female vocals start part 2.Some brief growly vocals then check out the vocal melodies with guitar after 4 minutes. Nice. It kicks in with growls late. "Olat Hatamid" is like a Middle Eastern Folk song to start. It gets heavier and vocals come in after a minute. "The Warrior" sounds like music out of an epic movie with spoken words. Vocals follow but are almost spoken. Not a fan of this. I like the relaxed guitar before 4 minutes and it becomes more passionate before 6 minutes.

"His Leaf Shall Not Wither" has words taken from one of the Psalms. This is a pastoral Middle Eastern sounding tune. "Disciples Of The Sacred Oath II" is uptempo with vocals. Growls follow as contrasts in vocals continue. "New Jerusalem" is mellow with female vocals. Male vocals 2 minutes in as it picks up. Female vocals are back as contrasts continue. "Vayehi Or" is a good song with vocals and almost spoken vocals too. "M I !" is good too with reserved vocals and a melancholic mood. Almost "Damnation"- like. "Barakah" opens with guitar and drums then it turns heavier with growls. Clean vocals follow and spoken words. "Codeword : Uprising" is an all out assault with growly vocals. Clean vocals follow as it goes back and forth. "In Thy Never Endng Way (Epilogue)" has female vocal melodies and male vocals. It settles right down 3 1/2 minutes in with piano.

I'm not connecting with this one at all sadly. 3 stars it is.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#308950)
Posted Monday, November 08, 2010 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
4 stars The pilgrimage to Orphaned Land

After having been impressed by the breakthrough release Mabool (the flood), I am once again impressed with this follow-up and to date most recent Orphaned Land album. Once again they give us their totally unique and thrilling fusion of Metal and ethnic music, this time being even more eclectic than before. Various Metal styles (progressive and extreme Metal) is effortlessly mixed with various Middle- Eastern traditional music forms. Oh what original and interesting music this is; and all delivered with such impressive skill and enthusiasm. It did indeed take some time and a bit of effort for me to get into this music (which is true of a lot of great progressive music), but it was certainly rewarding!

There is one problem, however, and that is the length of this album. Even if almost every track is very good in its own right, the sheer amount of music here makes it not so easy to devour. With a running time of nearly 80 minutes, I feel that the album as a whole would have benefitted from being shortened somewhat. Also, the conceptual nature of this album is less evident than that of Mabool. On that previous album, the concept helped to hold it all together and create a coherent and organic whole. On The Neverending Way Of OrWarriOR it is less obvious that there is a story to be told, and this, together with the great musical diversity and immense length, makes the end result slightly erratic. But all the parts remain highly enjoyable, nonetheless.

Production wise, and also in terms of instrumental and vocal skills, the present album can, however, be seen as an improvement over the already impressive Mabool. The alternation between clean and growling vocals was never as natural as this and there is a similar flow and unity between the acoustic and electric elements. There is again a plethora of exotic and traditional instruments among the traditional (Prog) Rock and Metal line-up of guitars, bass, drums and keyboards. The latter together with the occasional operatic female vocals bring with it a tasteful symphonic element. As I pointed out in my review of Mabool, you may easily think that this music is messy due to the, at first sight, disparate musical elements, but it is actually not - it all flows very nicely and effortlessly.

Overall, I cannot say anything less than that this is brilliant music that deserves to be heard by anyone interested in unique and progressive music (this music is certainly very progressive, but it is not, I would say, Prog). Highly recommended!

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#452811)
Posted Friday, May 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is an album that is very much like a musical onion - upon first listen it may seem simple, but every listen after that you peel back a layer and find complexity. Orphaned Land creates an incredibly unique musical experience, melding together Progressive, Metal, Death Metal, and traditional Arabic and Jewish soundscapes to produce a style of music that many of their fans have dubbed "Oriental Metal". To add to this blending of styles, throughout the album they employ the use of many traditional instruments (the Oud? The Saz? The Bouzouki?),songs contain lyrics written in multiple languages, a Yemenite folk singer adds guest vocals, and the band puts their spin on centuries old traditional Jewish and Yemenite folk songs. The lyrics even borrow concepts from Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. This is an extraordinary album, and I can't see any way to give it anything but 5 stars.

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Send comments to dtguitarfan (BETA) | Report this review (#469242)
Posted Saturday, June 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars To put it in simple words, The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR is Orphaned Land at its best. The mix between their Middle Eastern influences with death metal and progressive metal through the album makes for an unique and ground-breaking sound. The vocals on this album are absolutely flawless, Kobi Farhi is a very talented man and he manages to sing in a melodic calm voice and a menacing growl tone.

The concept of the album is about the classic fight of good versus evil, focusing in the "light" and the optimistic side of life. The lyrics aren't as good and touching as they were on Mabool, but I think The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR flows easily, despite the length (80 min).

This album is definitely an improvement from their previous, Mabool, because of various aspects like production (by Steven Wilson, so you know it's great) and composition (they seem more focused and the music flows more naturally).

Some highlights of the album are: From broken vessels, Disciples of the sacred oath II, New Jerusalem, Barakah and Codeword: Uprising. But don't let this fool you, the whole album should be listened as a whole because it's truly a great experience.

An awesome, original, unique, brilliant and entertaining album. I believe in the future we will be talking of this record as a true classic.

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Send comments to jav1919 (BETA) | Report this review (#493839)
Posted Sunday, July 31, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars This band caught my attention from the release of the Sahara album on Holy Records almost two decades ago. I knotted down this band in my notepad as a band to follow. The latest album, this one, has proved me right.

There is an own genre of progressive metal now called oriental metal or middle east prog metal. Call it whatever you want, but bands like Orphaned Land and Myrath has added a lot of spice (pun intended) to the metal and the music scene. Not at least to the prog scene.

The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR is a heady mix of middle eastern folk music, progressive metal, symphonic prog and eclectic prog. It also takes a detour into Pink Floyd land with some long lingering songs. The music varies between pastoral quiet and huge melody pieces which mainly is in the prog metal avenue.

The result is a massive album which is hard to digest in one setting. Most of all, it is a fascinating piece of music which ties up all the ends from their other albums. It is an album that grows and grows on the listener. It is an album with a long life in a CD/MP3 player.

There is no truly excellent songs on this album. I regard this as one piece of music. But I am in no doubts this is a truly great album which deserve a lot more listener. Just like the other Orphaned Land albums. For me; Orphaned Land is one of the best prog metal bands in the scene. This album proves my point.

4 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#512309)
Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2011 | Review Permalink
Starhammer
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The false prophet...

I generally try to avoid criticising artists too much that stick to same tried and tested formula. Whilst it's always nice to hear something different, such as the direction which the likes of Opeth and Pain of Salvation are taking at the moment, there is also a reason why you listen to a band in the first place, and so more of the same is generally no bad thing. However, after Orphaned Land released one of the best albums of the decade back in 2004, I really wondered where they would go next, as for me a lot of the enjoyment I got from 'Mabool: The Story of the Three Sons of Seven' came from how unique and refreshing the sound was.

'The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR' brings an almost identical blend of metal and middle eastern folk to the table, it might be ever so slightly heavier, but nothing obvious. Straight away this album has lost its impact (through no fault of its own) and must rely solely on outstanding songwriting. Unfortunately, its not quite there either. There are some really great tracks, especially towards the end, but there is also less memorable filler, something which 'Mabool' didn't even come close to. Like its predecessort 'The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR' is also a concept album, but it does not flow in the same way as 'Mabool', and is also a bit too long.

Standing back and pretending I had never heard 'Mabool', I still don't feel that 'The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR' does enough to make me want to explore this band further.

The Verdict: A class act in its own right, but I could easily live without it.

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Send comments to Starhammer (BETA) | Report this review (#563140)
Posted Saturday, November 05, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ok, let me first admit a being a huge OL fan. But this is truly remarkable album and peak of their career. It has somewhat kitch cover and title, but musically, albums like this you hardly find in metal/rock music today. Production is excellent, melodies are soul lifting, perfect blend of oriental spirit and metal. I have always thought that western people can never really fully feel the musical messages of spicy eastern music, and that is why, imho, musicians like omar faruk, or rabih abou khalil were left little known in west. In short, this is story about fight between dark and light that is happening every day, everywhere and in everyone of us. This should be heard, because words can hardly describe this spirit.

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Send comments to fils de lumiere (BETA) | Report this review (#577789)
Posted Monday, November 28, 2011 | Review Permalink

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