Orphaned Land - Mabool - 2004


Who said metal is dead?, who could say that there´s no risk and attitude inside metal music?... no, no, metal genre is not only formed by classic bands. You have Opeth with “Damnation” (“Deliverance” is another story), Devin Townsend or bands like Orphaned Land, from Israel, that offers a blend of progressive metal, traditional jewish music, death metal, and lots of surprises that can be found inside “Mabool”, their ... album to date. I haven´t listened to their previous albums, so I don´t know if they come from extreme metal (like bands such as Therion or Anathema) or they´ve always played this kind of music. In a very first approach we can say that Orphaned´s music is similar to Saviour Machine´s, but it´s not true at all. While the americans are more dense and dramatic, the jewish are musically more varied, with great arrangements and songs easy to listen to.


Airs of middle east can be smelt from the first track “Birth of the Three (The Unification)” (6:57) where the band combines traditional music with high-skilled death metal and progressive metal. Slow and heavy rhythms and some grunt voices are mixed with clear vocals, keyboards and lots of different atmosphears. Everything in a very clever dose, so the result is highly impressive. The second track “Ocean Land (The Revelation)” (4:43) is a real “hit single” (you know what I mean, don´t you?. The sitar opening is followed by a death metal storm (hey, the sitar is still sounding!) and, after a couple of minutes, the song changes into epic progressive metal with an instrumental climax that reminds me of Pink Floyd!!!. The end of the track leads us to a MINARETE or a ZOCO. The interplays between grunts and clear vocals reminds me of the forgotten band Sirrah. The next track “The Kiss of Babylon (The Sins)” (7:23) has moments of death metal that can be compared to the wildest Opeth but there´s also space for calm moments with traditional eastern arrangements and angelical backing vocals). From the third minute on, a beautiful female voice sings an oriental melody accompanied by traditional instruments before the band joins. But the music fades away and the female voice sings a capella... one minute and a half before the end of the track!!!. I have no words to describe this. The next song “A´salk” (2:05) begins in a similar way... a voice a capella with traditional instruments. Electricity returns with “Halo Dies (The Wrath of God)” (7:29), a epic song with dozens of influences, even from the films, that surprises the listener. This is the kind of album that should be listened by people who undervalue the progressive side of metal... and then let me know if is this prog or not. Our journey through the streets of Jerusalem continues with “A Call to Awake (The Quest)” (6:10), definitely a metal prog song a la Dream Theater. In “Building the Ark” (5:02) the calmer side of Orphaned Land returns with a music that seems to be taken from The Ten Commandments with choruses and traditional strings. If you have imagination the name of Mike Oldfield can enter in your head. The tracks is followed by “Nora el Nora (Entering the Ark)” (4:24), another “hit single” with a main melody played with traditional instruments. Suddendly the rhythm section changes and it becomes metallic, supporting the vocal lines (I don´t understand jewish but it seems to be a prayer). “The Calm before the Flood” (4:25) is a beautiful instrumental track with acoustic guitars, keys and melodic electric guitar licks. “Mabool (The Flood)” (6:59) has a soft and orchestral opening until electric guitar appears after two minutes. Perhaps this song condensates all Orphaned Land´s philosophy with extreme metal, epic metal, progressive metal blended with sympho and traditional moments. The album ends with “The Storm Still Rages Inside” (9:20), definitely not the best song, but it contains long instrumental developments. The final epilogue is titled (“Rainbow (The Resurrection)” (3:00)) with acoustic guitar and singing birds. A very humble end for a masterpiece. guitarra acústica y pajarillos cantando de fondo. Un final muy humilde para lo que el oyente ha sido capaz de echarse encima.


If you follow my advice, be fast because the first edition contains a mini CD with five acoustic track.

I´m sorry I haven´t information about their previous albums, but I´ll try to interview the band as soon as possible. If the term “progressive” means “risk”, “Mabool” is true progressive. Perhaps a little bit heavy in a very first listening, if you´re not into metal sounds, but if you love variation, musical skill, rich arrangements, sound, and concepts, you´ll get surprised. If you´re into metal sounds you must get this album.

author - date - rating - label

Alfonso Algora - Febrero de 2004 -   - Century Media