Orphaned Land
All Is One

As great as metal music is – the greatest of all music on the planet, of course  – most of the bands who sport some sort of image are, in all actuality, a bunch of fake posers. Seriously, they are. We’ve all seen it millions of times: a band represents something only to find out it’s all a facade.

Closed-minded metalheads or younger, less experienced kids might instantly lash out at the various artists for being phony or only doing it for show, but the bottom line is that metal, like all other forms of music, is entertainment. Most death metal bands sing about slaughtered hordes of people, severing limbs, monsters ripping innocent people to shreds, etc. Obviously, it’s all for show because the members of the various bands aren’t actually serial killers or witnesses to things only found in horror movies. The dudes in Macabre aren’t exactly hiding bodies under their cement. And the majority of the “real” Satanic bands are really just a bunch of dorks trying to scare people or to get attention.

However, when a band comes around who is genuine in their beliefs and actually tries to do something to change the world, it has to be commended and appreciated. Much is the case with Israel’s Orphaned Land, a band that actually stands for something and does everything they can to make their beliefs a reality. In this case, as has always been the case with them, is to try and somehow unite the people of the world through peace, to educate people that fighting over religion or land or anything else is incredibly counterproductive.

Like U2 back in the ‘80s through today, Orphaned Land has always been about expressing their views and then trying to actually do something about it. To make matters even better for the quintet, they are actually an incredible collection of musicians who have yet to deliver a mediocre album.

Enter All Is One, the band’s fifth full-length release, and all remains splendid in the Orphaned Land camp. They still fuse Middle Eastern folk into their metal, but they’ve grown a bit softer, more melodic over the years. But by soft, it’s not to be taken that they’ve gotten weak by any means. In fact, their music is arguably as powerful, if not more so, than ever before. The guys take a long time to deliver the goods (five albums in 20 years of existence is Tool-like) but when they do their fans needn’t worry about anything less than what should be expected.

Case in point is the title track, which opens the album. By far the strongest passage on the album and arguably the best of their entire career, “All Is One” bursts out of the speakers with such a tremendous hook – musically and vocally – and the arrangement is as powerful as anything released this year. It’s like classic Middle Eastern folk cranked to overdrive via a metal vessel. It’s near perfection, the only downside is that album is essentially downhill from there.

However, that’s not to say that the rest of the songs on All Is One don’t stack up. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Even though nothing else on the album is as remarkable as its title track, Orphaned Land roll out eventual classics “The Simple Man”, “Brother” and “Freedom”, each could eventually wind up on a best-of album.

Orphaned Land may not be the greatest band to ever grace our collective ears with their brilliance, but in all actuality their viewpoints and attempts to make this often terrible world a better, more peaceful place is more important than some cheesy black metal chump declaring war against Christianity or some gore band puking about a rotted corpse coming to life and murdering an entire village of nuns. No, Orphaned Land have more balls than virtually every other metal band combined because they actually stand up for what they believe, they play “life” metal and they do it in one of the most hostile, violent areas of the entire globe. But more importantly, they are damn good at what they do and All Is One is one of the best albums of 2013.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mike Sloan
July 30th, 2013

Comments

  1. Commented by: Rabid1

    I love their last two, but this one hasn’t really clicked. Excellent review, however.


  2. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    I always wanted to like these dudes more than I do. they’re good, I just…I dunno…I feel like I like them more in concept than in practice.


  3. Commented by: Grymmbear

    I LOVED El Norra Alila, Mabool, and ORWarriOR, and I just could not get into this album at all, and it has nothing to do with the lack of aggression so much as it is the lack of major contrast between songs.


  4. Commented by: DK777

    One sign of a very good review: the reader is compelled to go and check out the album.

    And check it out I will! Nice work.


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