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ORPHANED LAND

Experimental/Post Metal • Israel


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Orphaned Land picture
Orphaned Land biography
Formed as "Ressurrection" in Petah Tikva/Bat Yam, Israel in 1991 - Hiatus from 1997 to 2001

Hailing from Israel, ORPHANED LAND borrow heavily from Middle Eastern music to spice up their extreme progressive metal sound. Founded in 1991 under the original name RESURRECTION, ORPHANED LAND drew attention to their unorthodox sound with 1992's "The Beloved's Cry" demo (issued on cd in 2000) and then made two well regarded albums with France's Holy Records, 1994's "Sahara" and 1996's "El Norra Alila". During this period the line-up consisted of Kobi Farhi (vocals), Yossi Saharon (lead guitar), Matti Svatitzki (rhythm guitar), Uri Zelcha (bass) and Itzik Levy (drums), but internal dissention drove them apart. ORPHANED LAND'S sound is simliar to bands like OPETH, The GATHERING, GREEN CARNATION and BORKNAGAR with heavy Middle Eastern influences and instrumentation thrown into the mix.

A long silence ensued, but in 2001 ORPHANED LAND decided to reunite for a series of concerts and a one-off acoustic set. The enthusiastic response to these showed that their original albums had gradually seduced a large number of fans throughout the Arab world, and proved reason enough for a more permanent reunion to take place. So after obtaining new members Eden Rabin (keyboards) and Avi Diamond (drums), ORPHANED LAND struck a new deal with Century Media and released their long-awaited third album, "Mabool"(The Story Of The Three Sons Of Seven), in 2004.

Highly recommended for fans of progressive metal, this band is like a breath of fresh air, with an original and very unique sound.

: : : TheProgtologist, USA : : :

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ORPHANED LAND discography


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ORPHANED LAND top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.39 | 63 ratings
Sahara
1994
3.48 | 74 ratings
El Norra Alila
1996
4.08 | 323 ratings
Mabool - The Story of the Three Sons of Seven
2004
3.86 | 288 ratings
The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR
2010
3.63 | 197 ratings
All Is One
2013
3.46 | 24 ratings
Orphaned Land & Amaseffer: Kna'an
2016
3.91 | 97 ratings
Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs
2018

ORPHANED LAND Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ORPHANED LAND Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.35 | 39 ratings
The Road To OR-Shalem (DVD)
2011

ORPHANED LAND Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 3 ratings
Orphaned Land & Friends ~25th Anniversary~
2017

ORPHANED LAND Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.55 | 17 ratings
The Beloved's Cry (Demo)
1993
2.64 | 13 ratings
Ararat (EP)
2005

ORPHANED LAND Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 All Is One by ORPHANED LAND album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.63 | 197 ratings

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All Is One
Orphaned Land Experimental/Post Metal

Review by mohaveman

3 stars " Evil falls on each of us there's nothing new. Who cares if you're a Muslim or a Jew? The awakened ones are nothing but a few. And the one to make the difference now is you! " - From All is One.

This album from 2013 shows a slightly calmer and more mainstream side of Orphaned Land. Less growls and churning dark music than previous releases. Which is not to say it is a bad release. I enjoy most of the album with a few exceptions. "All is One" is a fantastic opener with oriental touches that instantly drew me in. The next 2 songs, "Simple Man" and "Brother" I also particularly like. The rest of the album is a bit hit and miss but there are no weak numbers, just not as strong as the opening 3 tracks. I would give this a 3.5 rounded down to a 3 because my attention wanders towards the end.

 Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs by ORPHANED LAND album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.91 | 97 ratings

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Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs
Orphaned Land Experimental/Post Metal

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars With this 2018 release, Orphaned Land found a good balance between progressive, extreme and folk and even commercial leanings. Compared to their masterpiece Mabool, which this work does not exceed, it is lighter and sometimes more straightforward. On the plus side, it features prominent guests such as Steve Hackett with his lyrical guitar solo. Growls and extreme moments are rare but more prominent then on the last normal band release "All is one". Can we say that the band caught the second wind? Maybe, as there is enough vitality and even new development. Arrangements are closer to progressive metal than even before but elements of progressive rock are evident too, mellotron. Oriental elements are maybe more subtle than on the previous releases but "Yedidi" captures them well without throwing in too many other disruptive genres. Hackett's guitar on the most symphonic "Chain falls to gravity" is pleasant as is graduation of music - this is a lyrical song so no crazy drum fill-ins, riffs or too complex changes. For the fans of extreme metal, listen to "Only the dead have seen the end of war".

I didn't find the album too interesting compositionally in the beginning although I liked it sonically. In the course of time, my opinion has improved even though I think it contains some Orphaned Land cliches or cheesy moments. It is a worthy release by this unique band.

 Mabool - The Story of the Three Sons of Seven by ORPHANED LAND album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.08 | 323 ratings

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Mabool - The Story of the Three Sons of Seven
Orphaned Land Experimental/Post Metal

Review by sgtpepper

5 stars Mabool presents the climax of Orphaned Land music that cannot be easily reached again. After all, they had 8 years to prepare for it, reflect what could go better in the new millenium and update the sound. Not only they achieved that but the band created a timeless piece of progressive oriental metal that succeeds in combining best of oriental folk, progressive metal, death metal and heavy metal to the highest mark. Similar to Opeth, the singer perfected his clean and growling vocals to deliver an excellent piece of lyrics with concept. You can feel anger in the death metal voice but a positive message in the clean vocal - like the battle of Gods ;) The music is complex yet melodic but with changing playing, shift of moods and joy from playing. Instruments are on par with other progressive metal bands, maybe less ornament and focusing on overall music.

The first track already combines all elements that decorate Orphaned Land so much - folk, death metal, progressive metal. You have moments when you want to dance but then soon also headbang or kick the bass drum. "Ocean land" is a song with commercial potential, very melodic, creative guitar solo even if maybe too frequent long growls.

"The kiss of Babylon" has phenomenal female choir behind heavy riffing and drumming. You wll enjoy oriental singing as well as rhythmic characteristics - maybe the most representative track of oriental metal on the album.

We also have a nice oriental intermezzo "A'salk" that has nothing to do with metal. But, the peak is coming now! "Halo dies" is a jewel of modern progressive/oriental metal with death metal vocals. The relatively light initial part is ultracompensated by the death-metal storm which excels in its variety, compositional skills and masterfully creating the feeling raging storm. The malicious riffs are absolutely captivating. After the stormy part, we come to some soft moments with guitars, keyboards but soon followed by progressive riffing. Thanks for providing a long enough instrumental section.

"Building the ark" could be classified as folk metal with European and Asian influences, very good fluent guitar solo. "Norra el norra" is a hymn for all who like to sing be it female or male vocals. "The calm before the flood" shows the versatility by the band - nature sounding peaceful scenery.

"Mabool (The Flood)" and "The Storm Still Rages Inside" could be a counterpart to "Halo dies" - the first being death oriental piece and the latter one a warm slightly reflective song with beautiful female choir.

Don't wait and get this album soon for you've been missing it since 2004!

 Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs by ORPHANED LAND album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.91 | 97 ratings

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Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs
Orphaned Land Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Sagichim
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This one has been sitting on the shelf gathering dust for over a year now, I must have played about half of it before putting it away. Orphaned Land will always have a warm spot in my heart since I was a fan right from the start, the band musical style has changed over the years or should I say evolved. In spite of being labeled extreme metal, those days of the band are long gone, this is more progressive metal than anything, their sound and material became less and less heavy with every album. There's more emphasis on Kobi Farhi's beautiful vocals, their arabic/middle eastern influences grew and include more ethnic string and wind instruments with smooth orchestral arrangements, this has come to perfection in their 4th album The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR. But it's their previous All Is One album that saw them taking an even softer approach, for some reason also the material was just not as good as before to say the least, but what made me loose more interest in the band and wonder "is it all over now??" is the departure of cofounder ace guitarist Yossi Sassy which was resposible probably for the most beautiful and engaging arabic infused metal leads and riffing ever played, yep...that was quite a blow.

Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs has proved me wrong, the album is closer to All Is One production wise, but the difference is the quality of the material and songwriting, the middle eastern orchestral arrangements are all over the place as before, which might seem a little bit too much at first but repeated listenings will reveal the great work put into the songs. Fans will be glad to find out that although there are a lot of calm moments and more tranquil songs the album feels heavier than before which is a good return to form. That said the sound is smooth and polished so the album doesn't sound so heavy overall plus the orchestrated parts also softens the sound. I think the album's strength lies in the melodies, after a few listenings it's so easy to get hooked on those beautiful songs. Even though heavily accented, Kobi Farhi's soulful vocals are simply outstanding, he is doing an amazing job throughout the album. Growling is not a big part of their music anymore and reduced to a minimum but it is still present here and there and it sounds really good and fitting.

Idan Amsalem and Chen Balbus are Sassi's replacements on guitars, bouzouki and saz and inspite the urge we have sometimes to hate the new guy I must say the new guy is really good!! They both fit very well into Orphaned's concept of oriental metal, the riffing and all kinds of leads are powerful and imaginative and of course a few amazing solos especially check out the stunning All Knowing Eye for example. There are a few guest musicians appearing here including the great Steve Hackett!! in Chains Fall To Gravity, how that came to be I really don't know, but he's making a beautiful job with adding guitars on this almost 10 minute epic. Also guesting here is Noa Gruman with female vocals from the excellent Soul Enema. The album works as a whole but there are a few standouts, check out the album's powerful progy 8 minute opener The Cave, that shows their perfect balance of an upbeat metalic rocker fused with a swaying middle eastern orchestra and choir, sounds beautiful. We Do Not Resist is another short favorite of mine, it's the heaviest track here and the only one that really qualifies as Extreme metal, sounds like something from their El Norra Alila era. Love the beautiful chorus here as growlings lead the way until it breaks to a quiet arabic ending. The band likes to include sort of a short biblical anthem in every album, Yedidi (My friend) sung in hebrew is really catchy, taking influences from Yemenite music, something that they picked up in The Never Ending Way album, love it!

It seems Orphaned Land has found the spot where they feel the most comfortable, their formula of perfect balance between metal, oriental orchestration and softer calmer songs works very well once again. The songs are catchy, powerful and full of emotion. Another great addition if you're already familiar with the band, but I think it would also work as an introduction to the band. 4 stars.

 Sahara by ORPHANED LAND album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.39 | 63 ratings

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Sahara
Orphaned Land Experimental/Post Metal

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars Sahara is a great debut album by then Israeli youngsters. There weren't many other bands back in 1994 that would be willing and also accomplish mixing so many different music styles together. First and foremost, this is an oriental mixture of death/doom metal with occassional blast beast (1994 was a great year for the black metal scene), some simplified progressive rock riffs and attempts at rhythm changes. Even though the band are apparently gifted, they haven't matured yet musically and sonically.

Unconventional songwriting, great growling capabilities by Kobi Farhi, confident oriental elements and variety of extreme metal influences are weighted down by bad production sound, not very advanced instrumental chops and undeveloped songwriting. Some instrumental passages are a bit dull and there is not much craft for melody yet.

"The Sahara's storm" shows the band's potential ranging from doomed death metal, heavy metal to black metal blasts. "Blessed by thy hate" has refreshing female vocals but clean narrative vocal sounds dull and cheap. "Aldiar al mukadisa" displays neat oriental capabilities, good for dancing as well as listening. "Seasons unite" is a great doom-metal track. "The beloved's cry" might be one of the most memorable and lightweight tracks that will remain the only live number in the post 2014's concerts. "My requiem" keeps its oriental orientation despite changing metal directions. "The storm still rages inside" is one of the most epic numbers on this record as it keeps certain majesty by its composition and growling vocals balanced by acoustic outro.

Overall, musically, this is a unique record with lots of potential but not so much on sale for the proghead's ear, therefore 3 stars.

 Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs by ORPHANED LAND album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.91 | 97 ratings

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Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs
Orphaned Land Experimental/Post Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After the mediocre All Is One and after the departure of the great Yoshi Sassi, my expectations about Unsung Prophets and Dead Messiahs were low... What a mistake!

Because this album fully retrieves the energy and the magic that this band had in the past, offering their typical mixture between metal, death, progressive and folk with outstanding songwriting. Chen Balbus and Idan Amsalen are fully integrated in the band till the point that Yoshi Sassi is almost not missed here, while the rest of the band makes also a splendid work.

It's very rewarding to hear that while some band like Opeth or Pain of Salvation lost their sound and personality with line-up changes, Orphaned Land retrieves all their elements and characteristic sound throughout the years despite all the members that gave up.

I wish also to mention the great collaborations that this album contains, playing Steve Hackett a fabulous guitar solo in the outstanding Chains Fall to Gravity (one of the most progressive tracks in the whole band's career) and singing Hansi K├╝rsch (from Blind Guardian) and Thomas Lindberg (At the Gates) in Like Orpheus and Only The Dead Have Seen The End Of The War respectively.

Best Tracks: it's complicated to pick only a few songs, because the overall quality of the album is very high, but The Cave is one of the best Orphaned Land's tracks, All Knowing Eye is touching and Kobi sings great, Chains Fall to Gravity is surprising and very prog, My Brother's Keeper (pure Orphaned Land magic) and The Manifest - Epilogue (precious homage to Victor Jara)

Conclusion: Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs is not only a triumphant return of our favorite Israeli band, it's also one of their finest records. Maybe not so great like Mabool, but at least as good as ORwarriOR. A varied, touching and very well crafted collection of folk-prog-death-metal with a beautiful message inside and tons of memorable songs.

After this album, I can only wish the best of lucks for this bands in the future! You have managed to give me back my faith in you.

My rating: ****

 All Is One by ORPHANED LAND album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.63 | 197 ratings

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All Is One
Orphaned Land Experimental/Post Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I am sure that All is One was a difficult album to make for Orphaned Land... Moreover, the music shows the band's problems at the time.

Avi Diamond, their drummer in their two previous (and excellent) albums did not return this time, along with their female (and great) singer Shlomit Levi. The founder guitarist Matti Svatitzki also left the band in 2012, and the main guitarist Yoshi Sassi also gave up shortly after the releasing of All is One, being this album his less inspired work.

The result is a disjointed and irregular record, which sounds like a mixture between the epic Mabool and the more intimate and folk ORwarriOR, but without reaching the quality of none of them and showing a worrying inability to bring anything new to the band's career.

Been there, done that feeling the whole time.

The production is fine, and the sound of the album is more orchestral than ever with violins sounding all the time. However, they cannot hide the lack of inspiration (or energy) that this album has with exceptions as the energetic All is One, the beautiful Brother and the epic Our Own Messiah.

Best Tracks: All is One (splendid opener), Brother (the best lyrics of the album), Our Own Messiah (a song which almost achieve to retrieve the magic of ORwarriOR)

Conclusion: All Is One was the reflection of the problems and line-up changes of this great band at the time. I has its good moments and a pair of fine additions to the band's classic song list, but after a the seond or third listening it turns out to be boring, repetitive and not challenging at all, being a clear step back in Orphaned Land's career.

I almost lost my faith in the band with All is One... Fortunately, this would change in 2018 with the release of Unsung Prophets and Dead Messiahs!

My rating: **

 The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR by ORPHANED LAND album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.86 | 288 ratings

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The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR
Orphaned Land Experimental/Post Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After six long years, the follow-up to the masterpiece Mabool arrived!

And the surprise was big when the Orphaned Land aficionados realized that this album was some sort of return to their roots, retrieving the formula of El Norra Alila but improving it in a very beautiful and challenging way. The result is an album that is not so epic, diverse and accessible like Mabool, but excellent anyway.

The production is also more straightforward than Mabool, with a not so extensive use of keyboards (played by Steven Wilson by the way, who also appears in writing credits), clear and natural drumming and wonderful guitars. And talking about the guitars, they are the absolute protagonist in ORwarriOR, acting Yoshi Sassi as a true guitar hero!

Sadly, the songwriting is not so incredible like in Mabool, leaving a pair of subpar songs here (the too obviously commercial New Jerusalem, Barakah...) But the overall quality of the album is superb anyway.

Best Tracks: From Broken Vessels, Bereft in the Abyss, The Path, and Disciples of the Sacred Oath II.

Conclusion: improving and expanding the folk-death-prog metal formula of their first two albums and leaving a bit of the grandiloquence of Mabool, Orphaned Land created a truly great record with a ton of memorable songs, an incredible guitar work from Yoshi Sassi and beautiful singing and Arabic melodies, which is still one of the best prog- metal album of this decade, despite its obvious flaws.

Shocking at the beginning, hauting in the long-term.

My rating: ****

 El Norra Alila by ORPHANED LAND album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.48 | 74 ratings

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El Norra Alila
Orphaned Land Experimental/Post Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars El Norra Alila is another Orphaned Land's journey in search of their true sound!

And on this attempt, they added even more elements to their mix. Dozens of oriental instruments which are more prominent than in Sahara, female vocals, choirs, Arabic chants, percussion, violins... But the result is nevertheless not so far from their debut album, sounding this record too immature compared to their later works, when they truly developed their authentic sound and personality.

But the album has its moments and is rather enjoyable despite being too long and lacking more catchy melodies. They increased the epicity of the songs, with great guitar solos from the very gifted Yoshi Sassi, and they added more clean vocals and tons of keyboards, being this album more accessible and easier to hear than previous records.

The production and musicianship are also good enough, and I can imagine that this album was not easy to make!

Best Tracks: Find Yourself, Discover God (powerful opener), The Truth Within (great guitar solos), A Never-ending Way (good slow track), Of Temptation Born (the best riffs of the album), The Evil Urge (in this precious acoustic track can we hear what a great singer Kobi Fahri is)

Conclusion: it's easy to hear that the band invested great effort and that they tried really hard with El Norra Alila to surpass the quality of their debut Sahara, crafting a pair of good songs in the process (sometimes even very good)

Nevertheless, is a record that you can easily avoid if you are not a die-hard fan of the band.

My rating: ***

 Sahara by ORPHANED LAND album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.39 | 63 ratings

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Sahara
Orphaned Land Experimental/Post Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Debut full length album from Orphaned Land, one of the most original and disruptive death metal bands of the 90!

The production sounds old school and dusty these days, being the guitars the most damaged part of the album, among the noisy drums. But the extensive of oriental instruments like oud, darbuka and kanun, together with the powerful Kobi Fahri's vocals make this album more attractive than tons of other death metal records from the 90's.

Sadly, the songwriting is a bit irregular and sometimes even boring in the Sahara part of the record, being the compositions which come from The Beloved's Cry demo the best ones. However, the mystic and attractive mixture of their music among the prog approach to extreme metal will surely appeal both death metal hounds and prog archeologists.

Best Tracks: The Sahara's Storm, Season Unite, The Beloved's Cry.

Conclusion: dusty, poorly produced (despite the recent remaster) and too old school, Sahara is otherwise an enjoyable prog- metal album which still is one of the wildest death metal adventures of the 90's and a true example of how to mix very different musical (and not only musical) cultures.

To be tasted with the right perspective.

My rating: ***

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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