Review: Orphaned Land “Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs”

Review: Orphaned Land “Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs”

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In 2014 Yossi Sassi part his way with Orphaned Land. This fact caused a question to many fans: what will happen to the band. And now, four years later we have an answer in a form of new, sixth album ‘Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs’.

Actually, ‘Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs’ in not an album, but a kind of manifest. Or rather a cry from the hearts of all those, who try to do something for peace, but constantly confronted with a lack of understanding, unwillingness to listen to the neighbor, and most importantly – total indifference. “When I’m writing music with the band, I’ve always been trying to figure out why humanity is unable to break out from the cycle of wars and bloodshed and ego, – says Kobi Farhi, – It’s not due to a lack of solutions. There are many solutions. The biggest problem is that people don’t want to face those problems. […] Every time a revolutionary figure emerged throughout history, whether it’s Socrates, Jesus Christ, Che Guevara, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi or many others, they were all assassinated. It’s a pattern that Plato acknowledged 2500 years (Allegory of the Cave) ago and you can see that we’re still trapped in that. On this album, we say that loud and clear”. So, the album is dedicated to all those unsung prophets and dead messiahs. But while listening to it there is something, deep inside, that shouts “I do not believe!!!”. And automatically Victor Pelevin’s words about wholesale from the revolutionary underground pop up in memory. Because putting Socrates and Che Guevara in one line is, gently speaking, a profanation, even if it’s sincere.

Anyway, one can admire or desperately disagree with Kobi Farhi, reading his words “…the fact that we’re doing a better job than our own foreign ministry, maybe it all means that we are the true ambassadors for our country. We are the ones creating a dialogue and friendship through music”, but let’s try to put the politics aside and listen to the mentioned music. And here the band has no equal in the constantly developing (also by themselves) genre “oriental metal”.

In Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs the band made a step back to move far forward. Unlike their previous album ‘All Is One’ here w got harsh vocals, which interwoven with choirs and rich arrangement.

13 songs of an album are 13 absolutely independent works that, nevertheless, organically merge into one array and the album is perceived as something solid.

Of course in the foreground aren’t guitars and rhythm-section (although, they play an important, if not decisive role), but violins, cellos and such folk instruments like darbuka, oud, qanun and saz. Otherwise it would not be oriental metal, not Orphaned Land. With this, it sounds great and all the instruments are  heard. It is not only the band’s merit, but also Jens Borgen’s mixing and Tomas Lindgren’s mastering.

An album opens with eight minutes song “The Cave”, which greatly shows what can be expected from the album: growl mixed with choirs, folk instruments woven with heavy guitar riffs, uneasy drums pattern and a highly pronounced oriental line in the vocals. All this magnificence changes with more aggressive “We Do Not Resist”, “In Propaganda” with oriental melodies and “All Knowing Eye”, which keyboards and guitar solo turn into a ballad.

“Yedidi”, the song written by medieval Jewish poet and philosopher Judah ben Shmuel Halevi made with all the piety to the original, but nonetheless in metal arrangement.

Genesis‘ guitarist Steve Hacket took part in monumental “Chains Fall To Gravity”; great guitar solo is his handiwork. However, this list of guests is not limited only by him: on the first single “Like Orpheus”, which is more metal than oriental, Blind Guardian‘s Hansi Kürsch vocals can be heard. And in, perhaps, most heavy song from an album “Only The Dead Have Seen The End” (which in its first minute transmits the modern life in Israel perfectly) Tomas Lindberg (At The Gates) took part.

Well, Orphaned Land surpassed themselves again. They created a complex but very interesting, beautiful and quite simply perceptible album. So it’s very interesting to see what will be the next album.

‘Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs’ will be released on January, 26 via Century Media Records.

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Bikes, Music, Alcohol and Anarchy. Also books, gigs, traveling and alcohol one more time.

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