Orphaned Land – All Is One
Date: June 25, 2013
In an age where metal music has become so pathetically disposable in the mind of an average listener and attention spans have waned to the point of oblivion en masse, Orphaned Land’s latest album, All Is One serves as 2013’s ideal musical litmus test for the initiated and uninitiated alike. The people who get the simplicity and the breathtaking beauty present in this record will be in for a treat beyond treats, and the rest will simply shake their heads in bemusement.
Orphaned Land may have very well sealed themselves as one of the most creative and talented bands of the 2000s, or aughts. For people unfamiliar with Orphaned Land, they are an Israeli band that play a certain unique mix of progressive metal, Middle-Eastern folk metal, and death metal.
Without doubt there just aren’t enough superlatives in the English language to express how significantly this album touches the heart and soul of the listener. Orphaned Land have always been on a quest to transcend the confines of music as an art form with peaceful messages. There is a clear reason why frontman Kobi Farhi and team are regarded among the most gifted and respected composers. There is clear heart and emotion behind every note they play and that is exactly what separates them from the multitude of mindless bands out there.
There really isn’t much point in analyzing each song and picking them apart since that would be a gross injustice to something that should be absorbed heart and soul. But it just has to be said that the duo of “Brother” and “Children”, along with “All is One”, “Through Fire and Freedom” and “Let The Truce Be Known”, are arguably some of Orphaned Land’s finest ever moments and definitely some of the most stunning pieces of music I’ve ever been privy to.
Each and every track from the album leaves a listener with a wonderfully unique sound featuring more than 40 musicians; which includes choirs, violins, and many traditional instruments too. To keep it short, it’s like a beautiful dream where a listener enters into a peaceful world which these masterminds have created, and complete the journey by uncovering new methods of being united – sonically and emotionally – and progressive.
Without question this might very well be Orphaned Land‘s magnum opus. A culmination of everything they ever were, are, and ever will be, filtered though peaceful messages of Kobi Farhi on vocals and heart stopping melodies by Yossi Sassi and Chen Balbus on guitars, oud, saz, bouzouki, chumbush, piano and other amazing traditional instruments. Orphaned Land’s presence in the field of metal is a credit to the geographical and musical diversity of metal these days and a boon to its being as a genre intent on the pushing of boundaries in all manner of concepts. The way they mix their styles alone is unique, but to create such mesmerizing and creative music the way they do makes them phenomenal.
While Orphaned Land has built a reputation for releasing some of the most amazing concept and complex albums in existence, there seemed to be a noticeable departure from that particular ethos on All Is One. For instance, Kobi Farhi’s growls are almost non-existent. The songs are shorter in length with catchy choruses. The complexity is quiet less. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s completely dependent on an individual whether he is able to appreciate the simplicity in this album or just ignores it.
Another unique factor which separates Orphaned Land from the rest of the folk metal bands which follow the Middle-Eastern format or metal bands in general are the lyrics. These lyrics are positive and uplifting, while still being deep and complex. Rather than chanting about Satan or Paganism, their lyrics speak of Biblical matters and the Abrahamic religions (and in a positive light, too!). For instance on the track “All Is One”, where Kobi Farhi says: “It doesn’t matter whether you are a Muslim or a Jew”–Or on “Let The Truce Be Known” where he talks about unity: “We raise our hands and walk, Upright to move towards each other, No guns, no death between, The enemies now turned to brothers.” And then you look at the album cover and read the title again and it all makes sense.
If one observes the cover art carefully, you can find the symbols of three Abrahamic religions (Jewish, Christian, and Muslim) and co-incidentally it was recorded in three countries, Turkey, Sweden and Israel respectively. Interestingly Orphaned Land doesn’t follow one master mind that writes everything; they work in a way that All Is One. It’s amazing to see how beautifully they create music with a perfect blend of synergy and harmony. I am sure this album is going to inspire many people in the tragic Middle Eastern lands. After listening to All Is One, it’s evident that there is an “in-your-face” message for everyone to embrace:
“People should be judged by their hearts and inner sincerity, not their religious beliefs.”
And like Kobi said in our recent interview: “We live in a place where huge amounts of people who consider themselves enemies still share one thing in common, they are all fans of Orphaned Land, and in these lands of orphans and bloody holy wars, our only weapon is music, and hopefully we will grow to understand that All is One.” So do yourself a favor and turn it on, tune in and stay peaceful.