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Orphaned Land - Sahara CD (album) cover


Orphaned Land

Experimental/Post Metal

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2 stars Orphaned Land’s music is a mix between death metal and Arabic folklore. The idea itself is quite unique and original too. There’re probably lots of Folk Metal bands already out there, but you won’t find this kind of mixture quite often. Basically, Orphaned Land is a death Metal band, but they’re influenced with Arabic folk and Jewish tradition that make them unique, as well as progressive. This debut album is probably not their best, but it’s already showed a good start.

Into the tracks:

The opening track ‘The Sahara’s Storm’ start with guitar solo with some folk atmosphere in the background provided by some percussions. Then the drum beat kicks off and the vocal enter the song and followed by some nice keyboard works. You can feel a quite good combination of metal and folk by the band here. ‘Blessed be Thy Hate’ started with some guitar riffs and medium tempo. This track has some tempo shifting and quite nice melody and solos in some parts.

‘Ornaments of Gold’ is a heavy track. This track sounds more like just a death metal song, there’s only a little of folk influences here. There’s a nice keyboard works near the end. ‘Aldiar Al Mukadisa - The Holy Land of Israel’ gives you quite strong traditional feelings. Starts with some singing and then followed by some sort of speaking and nice acoustic Arabic folk melody. The next track, ‘Seasons Unite’ starts with some heavy riffs and some bass lines. This track also has stronger metal elements here.

‘The Beloved’s Cry’ is a quite nice acoustic track. It starts with some guitar tunes, followed by a male vocal and then some female vocal too. ‘My Requiem’ is a rather slow track with heavy riffs and some quite good guitar solos. The tempo becomes faster in the middle for a while, and then slowed down a bit. The album closed with ‘Orphaned Land - The Storm Still Rages Inside...’ This track has some good and quite cool guitar solos, and some nice acoustic part with traditional feelings in the middle towards the end.

Overall, I think this album isn’t a bad effort. There isn’t a really great track though. Most of them are mediocre tracks, with some good parts in it. Personally I don’t really like this album. I consider that’s because I’m never really into death metal myself. Apart from the sound quality, my biggest problem here is the vocals though. I don’t really mind the growling, except in some parts. The clean vocals however, sound just plain and a bit irritating lots of the times. The album was not well produced too, IMO. The sound quality isn’t really good. Nevertheless, I’ll give this album 5 out of 10, two and a half stars.

This album has stronger metal elements than folklores, so maybe this album would appeal better to death metal fans.

Report this review (#119668)
Posted Wednesday, April 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars I remember the release of this album well. It really stood out in the scene. Their record label Holy Records was very highly rated at that time and I have only fond memories from that time. I have just googled them and found out that they still exsist. That honestly made my day !

I have a great deal of both respect and admiration for Orphaned Land. They mixed Arabic and Jewish folk music in a time where the Palestinians and the Jews was bitterly fighting over some land. Orphaned Land mixed this with death/doom metal and the result was their demo and this album.

The music here is not particular great. The merging of death and folk music is not satisfactory. It like oil floating on the top of water. Some female vocals are nice, but fragments this album and the result is a game in two halves. Death/doom metal with some folk music inbetween. The music is not particular exciting too. It is too generic doom metal. Doom with death growls. But I have heard worse albums than this one. It is an OK album, but nothing more.

The excellent artwork also deserve mentioning. Holy Records always created visual artworks and this album is no exception. The artwork on this album is excellent and one of their best.

2.5 stars

Report this review (#223070)
Posted Thursday, June 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars What?? as of this time this album doesn't even reach the 3 stars mark?? I'm wondering if I have the same cd?? I have a lot of underrated albums to write about but this has to be the most underrated of them all , I truely don't know why??

I have never heard such a great fuse of styles before, done so well and with such a natural quality to it, mixing death metal with a middle eastern/arabic falvor and jewish folk... well it's not really folk but more of traditional jewish prayers. I got this album the year it came out and have been a real fan of the band ever since (I also love the fact that they are from my home town!). Like many of their hardcore fans I too consider Sahara to be Orphaned Land's best album, putting aside their creativity and excellent song writing that is amazing for a debut, it has a very unique atmosphere to it that I can't really express with words. It always seemed to me like the band didn't really try to make a progressive metal album because of inspiration they got from other western bands, it looks like a more natural approach, to mix metal with their family origin music which lies on prayers.

The arrangements are far more clever than just play some death metal riffing and then stop and have an arabic interlude, this isn't really mixing. The metal riffing and phrases are based on arabic jewish scales which creates riffing from another planet top that with some more folky instruments like tablas, oude, kanoon and you have a real 100% progressive metal music from the highest degree . The keyboards here play a small roll but is extremely vital and add so much to the atmosphere. what I love most about this album is that the riffs are changing so quickly, Yossi Sassi is simply brilliant, putting together amazing riff after the other, everything is constructed so well. All instruments come in the right time doing exactly what they need. drums are not just backing the band they are part of the music . Everybody have albums which they consider perfect, meaning every drum roll is in the right place every note is essential and if you could you wouldn't change anything, well this one is no different.

Sound....well this is one is the strangest mixed albums I heard, the old version has an overall muddy sound like was noted before but still you can hear every instrument, guitar distortion is also different which gives the music it's touch. The new version got out the mud a little bit so the album sounds better.

The first half of the album is slightly better, the second half are songs from the demo tape came out one year earlier only had been recorded again and are better played then on the demo, here they are complete!! the second half fuses the arabic element a little bit less but music is still changing and progressive. Man I like how the album ends ,when the last bang switches to clean guitar and then canoon joins in, beautiful emotional stuff , amazing!! I also have to comment on two things kobi farhi singing is fantastic, his growling have a lot of power and energy like they should, they are mixed with clear vocals as he goes along and see fit. And of course the master of all yossi sassy on guitars, he just seems to have it all, the great metal riffing and the lead guitar which is played through out the entire album on top of the rhythm guitar, always phenomenal!! and of course the solos this guy is all about the feeling , check out " ornaments of gold " guitar solo at the end of the song, so sad and emotional and it's only 30 seconds long, and of course " the beloveds cry" guitar solo! You should see this guy in concert he just can't get his smile off his face, he doesn't have that death metal look at all. Bonus tracks include 2 songs from the demo tape that wasn't rerecorded they are shorter tracks still interesting but not up par with the rest of the album, the sound is rawer, not a problem for a fan to like but doesn't show the band's potential. 5 stars for this exceptional debut, totally essential prog music.

Report this review (#634657)
Posted Thursday, February 16, 2012 | Review Permalink

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