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


Orphaned Land


Experimental/Post Metal

4.06 | 321 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Quickly wore out its welcome

"Mabool" is a sprawling and ambitious musical journey. The sticker that came on the CD says "Exotic mysticism meets Middle Eastern metal." Fair enough, I can go with that description. And yet it doesn't work for me. Though they are talented, it's just all too contrived and cheesy I'm afraid.

"Birth Of The Three" begins with a child's voice before the heavy guitar drops. Harsh and clean vocal styles will trade off, as will electric guitar with folksy acoustics, introducing the mixture of styles that will continue throughout the album. The general sound of the rock here is less extreme than some metal bands, more in line with accessible bands like Riverside and Green Carnation. Even the growl portions are not going to scare anyone off as they are more than offset by pleasant singing. "Ocean Land" features some good guitar parts and a cool chanted ending. "The Kiss of Babylon" rocks hard but also features some cool breaks with male/female vocal trades. The synths remain present behind the distorted guitar. "A'salk" is just gorgeous, a Third Ear Band style track with raga rhythms and a beautiful vocal expression. "Halo Dies" quickly becomes the standout rock track on the album with fierce growls expressing the violence of the lyrics. The complexity level rises here in the guitar/drum interplay to a Pain of Salvation level with the shifts and changes. "A Call to Awake" is probably the low point of the album, sounding like cheesy hair metal in places and not very convincing as prog metal. "Building the Ark" begins like a Loreena McKennitt song which is not a bad thing. Or perhaps the choral vocals will remind you of Therion-lite. A pleasant acoustic track. "Norra el Norra" is one of the better songs with interesting rhythm chops in the first half and piano in the latter half. "The Calm Before The Flood" is a shimmering, beautiful instrumental. The first half features a lone nylon-stringed acoustic, the second half adds strings, wind, female voice, and quiet reverb-laden electric. It's an absolute highlight. The wind and the strings lead right into "Mabool" and now we hear rain and thunder as well. Soon the strings fade and full band comes galloping back with harsher male vocals. The synths rise a bit heavier in the mix as "Storm Still Rages" begins. Nice guitar solo around 1:20 that just tears it up for several minutes. Clean vocals alternate with spoken word storytelling about the great flood. This longest track will drift towards the end adding in some pleasant acoustic and choir vocals over the heavy riffs and drums. This song is basically the big finale as "Rainbow" is more of an acoustic "outro" albeit a very pleasant one, with birds chirping over the guitar.

The CD (my version at least) comes with a second bonus disc featuring a live acoustic performance recorded in 2002. This nice document makes this package especially attractive to fans. The material is older stuff, not the music on "Mabool." This is a fair album with some nice moments but ultimately disappointed. The use of traditional instruments and many languages still could not make it compelling to me. It's an interesting album but for me it's not quite a keeper. 5/10

Finnforest | 2/5 |


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