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Orphaned Land - All Is One CD (album) cover

ALL IS ONE

Orphaned Land

Experimental/Post Metal


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Sagichim
COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars Not living up to the standards...

"All Is One" is Orphaned Land's fifth album, an album which is trying to keep a positive momentum and justify the good reviews the band's were getting for the past few years, placing them justifiably in the top of the most promising prog metal acts today. I'm sure the band is very proud of themselves for releasing this album, they are exactly where they want to be. As far as they are concerned they found the perfect fusion between pure ethnic material and metal music. If you were following closely their first four albums you could certainly see how the band's music and approach are slightly changing. In their two previous albums the band included a few tracks which weren't trying to be complex or to have an 8 minute of ever changing music kind of song (Sapari, norra el norra), but on the other hand trying to follow a good and strong melody. The outcome was strong songs that blended perfectly with the rest of the material giving you a break from the more challenging material. Here this approach seems to be more apparent, the songs tend to be a little more humbled, only this time they are not strong anymore. So what went wrong here? The main problem with this album, and it has a few, is simply the lack of strong material. Until recently I thought this is one band that could do no wrong, I must admit that I was terribly wrong.

When I first heard about the album and read what singer Mr. Farhi had to say about it, I thought I was in for a special treat. This album is suppose to be bigger than before, the band incorporated more than 40 musicians to help them achieve a fuller and reacher sound, the acoustic oriental parts are playing even a bigger roll than before. So how big is the change? For my taste it is very big. The songs are much more simpler, no more 8 minute songs of complex riff after riff like in their debut, and no more dark haunting atmospheres. This is evident the most in the guitar department, Yossi Sassy (who have released his first solo album last year) is playing much more power chords instead of those amazing and inventive leads he used to play. Most of the songs are trying to focus on a melody or a certain theme including an orchestral instrumentation which sometimes reminds me of what Led Zeppelin have done in their oriental 1994 No Quarter project. The acoustic parts are overall good but I'm missing the gentle beauty those same parts had in their previous album. Don't get me wrong it's not a bad album in any way, I was just expecting something much much better.

"All Is One" is the least progressive album the band have recorded and it is also the least metalic. The growling vocals have been reduced to minumum and they are almost completely gone, Farhi is often using his clean voice along with some very emotional and soulful singing, something he really developed and got very good at over the years. In spite of the album being less progressive it Still can satisfy the progressive listener due to its rich instrumentation and a few songs that can certainly be considered as prog. I won't go into each song because it will take forever, I'll just describe them in general.

Most of the songs have something in common. They are short songs (4 to 5 minutes) which follow one beautiful melody, are they among the best melodies the band have to offer? No they are certainly not. The fusion of oriental themes played by exciting and original instruments and powerful riffs is very strong, it seems the band have found the way to blend them perfectly until they are locked as one, I believe this is the reason why Kobi Farhi stated that this is Orphand Land's best album. While they did manage to do so, the songs fail to really catch and excite me. There are two songs that can evoke the older and progier songs the band have done, "Fail" and "Our Own Messiah". Not even does the album sound more oriental it also sound much more symphonic than before

In conclusion I am sad to say that this album doesn't live to its potential, it doesn't have any killer tracks or doesn't break any new ground, of course there are some really good moments every now and then, but generally I don't even remotely have the excitement I get while listening to any of their previous albums. I hope I am not witnessing one of my favorite band's decline. I would advise for newcomers to start with any of their previous albums before going into this. Even though the band have shifted gears I would be very pleased to see the rest of their fans embracing them as always, I know I do. 3.5 stars.

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Send comments to Sagichim (BETA) | Report this review (#987217)
Posted Thursday, June 27, 2013 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
5 stars 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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Send comments to kev rowland (BETA) | Report this review (#1002516)
Posted Saturday, July 20, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well come on guys!!!! I can't believe that there are only two written reviews to this album and a total of 38 votes (at the time I am writing my review)...it's absurd!!! These guys deserve more attention, they are one of the most underestimated bands in the metal progressive environment and at the same time I think they are one of the best. This album is almost a masterpiece and I think it is even better than Riverside's last album (and believe me this costs me a lot!!), the chorus is Amazing and the singer's voice is terrific. Let's say that it is little less progressive than Mabool and less growling but it gains in terms of melody and rhythm. It deserves 90/100 that means 4.5/5 stars and is absolutely among the first 2 albums of the year (together with Shrine of New Generation). So all you progressive fans out there listen to this album and let the world know what you think about ORPHANED LAND!

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Send comments to victor73 (BETA) | Report this review (#1005140)
Posted Thursday, July 25, 2013 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
4 stars No fail!

Orphaned Land is back with a new album. On the first couple of listens I was somewhat disappointed, but the album quickly started to grown on me and soon I realized that it is just as satisfying as the previous The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR. Though the band's masterpiece is the brilliant Mabool - The Story Of The Three Sons Of Seven. We get a high quality and very appealing blend of Symphonic Metal, Folk Metal, and Prog Metal. I am occasionally reminded of Kamelot, occasionally of Dream Theater, and (in a special kind of indirect way) Cruachan. While Cruachan brings Celtic and Irish Folk music into a varied Metal context, Orphaned Land is doing something very similar with Jewish and Middle Eastern Folk music. Both bands also include some extreme Metal elements and mixes clean vocals (male and female) with occasional growls. They utilise a plethora of "traditional" instruments painting a rich and exotic tapestry of sound.

With All Is One I feel that the band has streamlined its style somewhat compared to earlier efforts, but without losing any of its originality or poignancy. Prog fans are bound to notice the generally shorter tracks lengths, but don't let this mislead you into thinking that they have abandoned their progressive side. The material is strong throughout and they keep it varied enough to retain the listener's interest throughout. I find the album thoroughly enjoyable and inviting repeated listens.

Overall, All Is One is an excellent addition to any collection that already includes the band's previous two albums

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#1007019)
Posted Saturday, July 27, 2013 | Review Permalink
Second Life Syndrome
COLLABORATOR
Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams
3 stars I confess that I've had quite the time trying to rate this album. On the one hand, this is Orphaned Land, a rather well-known group that love to bring different peoples and religions together. That is a worth cause. However, on the other hand, this is a music review. So, I need to be honest and true to my gut.

Orphaned Land is a progressive metal group from Israel that utilizes heavy guitars contrasted with beautiful Middle Eastern strings. It's a great sound, for sure. But, that's literally ALL they do! This might be one of the flattest albums I've heard in 2013, as every song is basically the same. So, while the results are beautiful, addictive, and sweeping (think a sword and sandal epic); the whole is less than its parts. What we get in the end is an album that starts out with a set of tricks, and then doesn't change a thing until the end. Yes, you will be glancing at your watch quite a bit.

Now, don't get me wrong. This album has some high points. Unfortunately, those high points are at the very beginning and at the very end. The problem is that you have to wallow through the monotony in between those two points. For example, I find "All is One" and "The Simple Man" to be awesome. The former is different than the rest of the album, and the latter is perhaps the greatest use of the bag of tricks here.

There is very little in the way of variety or variation here. "Fail" is sung entirely with harsh vox, but that is definitely not something I like (though the music in that track is great). There are also two tracks sung in a different language, but they lose my interest. So, with what little variety there is, the band just misses the mark again and again. Sure, the metal portions sound okay, and the strings sound wonderful, but I find myself just wanting to hear a Myrath album instead.

Overall, beauty and monotony clash here. The album is admittedly profound lyrically, but lacking musically and creatively. All in all, a good album, but not something I will listen to much more.

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Send comments to Second Life Syndrome (BETA) | Report this review (#1085848)
Posted Wednesday, December 04, 2013 | Review Permalink
ProgShine
COLLABORATOR
Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team
3 stars Orphaned Land's goal with their music is bringing together different people from different religions, specially in their native land (Israel). And this is a very noble act, it's great to have a band that really believe that their music can change the world, and in their own world it is really changing something, at a small scale, but thats how everything starts.

Said that I also have to say that for a person that is not familiar with this eternal religious conflicts is quite hard to go with the flow of the band for more than one album, and it's the third since their come back in early 00's...

I've known the band pretty much like everybody else, through the fantastic Mabool (2004), I bought that CD and was so good that I was really impressed. A band that dared to mix Progressive Metal with Israel traditional folk music? That's new for me, bring on! By the time of their The Never Ending Way Of OrWarrior (2010) I pretty much didn't pay attention on them, not sure why. With their new album, All Is One (2013), out I've got a copy of the album through Century Media to review.

Honestly, what can I say? Orphaned Land is a very good band that find a very comfortable place for themselves with their now perfected Prog Metal/Tradicional Folk music. But that's the big problem, the band I liked used to dare a bit, and in this album pretty much is so flat...

You have some growl vocals here and there, some female vocals here and there, some keyboards and string instruments playind middle eastern music on the background while the guitars, drums and bass keep the metal going. But that's it. All Is One (2013) lacks in surprise, in thrill the listener.

I think their path with this album is pretty much settled, they'll keep writing about the conflicts as long as they keep hapenning, they'll keep mixing the 2 strong elements of their music. And that is kinda sad. It become predictable.

I really hope I'm wrong and that I'll be surprised once again with their music in the future.

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Send comments to ProgShine (BETA) | Report this review (#1086586)
Posted Saturday, December 07, 2013 | Review Permalink

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