Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Orphaned Land - The Neverending Way Of ORwarriOR (2010)

Music transcends all. The recent documentaries "Global Metal" and "Heavy Metal In Baghdad" were eye opening, in depth looks into the world of metal around the world. And, time and again, showed us that in the most oppressive, politically charged regions, music is the fiber that ties us all together. Never has this been more evident than in self described "Jewish Muslim Metal" pioneers Orphaned Land, who have taken ethnic folk metal to the Middle East, and thrived.

"The Neverending Way Of ORwarriOR," a concept album of epic proportions, was recorded over the span of 5 years, and 600 studio hours. It combines vocals in four languages with a host of both traditional middle eastern instruments and Oriental soundscapes. Simply put, the words "exotic" and "diverse" don't do the album justice. Divided into three distinct subsections, the album tells such a lyrically compelling story, that it must be read to appreciate at its core.

From the start of the opening offering "Sapari," you are treated to some of the more infectious grooves the album has to offer. Upbeat, uptempo and uplifting, the insanity of the drum fills alone will have your foot tapping. "From Broken Vessels" delves into the progressive, with alternating periods of growls and pitch perfect harmonies. A wailing guitar intersection slows things down before the stomp begins anew. A fitting ethnically charged interlude starts a screaming end, before an all out stop.

One of several acoustic tracks follows, with "Bereft In The Abyss" serving as an introduction to the two part tale that is "The Path." Equal parts heavy and heavenly, Orphaned Land are flawless in their execution here, with melody and purpose coming together to form something greater than the sum of its parts.

From the softer offerings of "Ola Ha'Tamid" and "The Warrior," to the aggressive, yet captivating "Disciple Of The Sacred Oath II" and "Vayehi Or" this is an exhibition of musical proficiency. Every note is played with the utmost expertise, but also with the vigor that comes with the attached message. "Barakah" let's a dark narrator take the fore at times, backed by orchestrations and a single acoustic guitar. Melodic vocals delivered so passionately draw you in, as if you are a child, hearing the stories of your people.

"Codeword: Uprising" starts with a flurry of drums, only to be complimented with a flowing guitar and some of the deepest growls to be had. Various sounds interject, with short bursts of instruments and vocal samples darting in and out. The guitars chug away, tangled with dark, fast paced screeches. The tempo builds as the story comes to its peak. The epilogue, "In Thy Neverending Way" is a work of guitar mastery, almost concluding the tale in solo form. Beautiful female vocals enter, fluttery and light. And the last words are spoken. "Go in peace, and find thy faith/Evolve thy self, and lose all hate/So a heaven you may create."

This is more than a fusion of metal and Middle Eastern culture. Orphaned Land have created a masterpiece that overshadows the unrest of a region. They have chosen to tell a story that is profound on its own. But paired with a musical outing that is both brutal and subtly empowering, it becomes a story for the ages. And no amount of soldiers, guns and bombs can change that.


Official Site - http://www.orphaned-land.com/
Myspace - http://www.myspace.com/orphanedmyspace

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