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Orphaned Land - Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs CD (album) cover


Orphaned Land


Experimental/Post Metal

3.92 | 108 ratings

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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.

Sagichim | 4/5 |


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