Music with a message has long been a starting point for many bands but for Orphaned Land that message is of the most extreme importance. Spreading the missive of peace and understanding has been at the root of the Israeli band and their output since the very beginning and over the last twenty six years. Addressing the turmoil that has long held their homeland in a state of flux, frontman Kobi Farhi uses his platform to bring the issues facing his country to a wider audience – helping many to overcome fears, to understand what is really happening in the world and to bring light into a land filled with darkness.
On Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs the band are on fine form with an expansive sound that takes in both western ideas of metal but also incorporating more traditional elements within the songs. It’s an important factor in what makes Orphaned Land interesting; “Chains Fall to Gravity” weaves eastern flavours through its opening moments and Farhi’s vocals complement the tone with a beautiful, smooth and rich quality that speaks to the narrative sublimely. A backing choir bring a wonderfully cinematic scale to the fore while Steve Hackett (Genesis) contributes climbing guitar lines that sing with passion. The song is a genuine highlight in a record full of great moments.
Symphonics are the main draw for the Orphaned Land of today but the death metal roots that they sprang from show their rage on opener “The Cave” and following track “We Do Not Resist” and in Farhi’s deadly growls the band have a fiery voice. “Like Orpheus” features a fantastic guest spot from Blind Guardian’s Hansi Kürsch with a chorus tailor made for the soaring vocals that he is so good at while “Only The Dead Have Seen The End of War” has Tomas Lindberg (At The Gates) and his distinct voice to boost the drama.
Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs is the sound of a band staying true to their core ideals while progressing their sound in a cohesive and splendid manner. Orphaned Land have much to say and with their sixth full-length that message has become even clearer – there can be hope if we allow the light through.
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