Even in the multifaceted realms of prog rock and metal, Orphaned Land stand apart. Formed in Israel in 1991, the band draw upon influences from East and West for their politically and religiously charged songs that aim to bring a vision of unity to a corner of the world where that’s in very short supply. In the latest issue of Prog Magazine, we catch up with frontman Kobi Farhi to find out about the band’s latest album, Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs.
Here, we celebrate the new album by marking the 10 songs that have mapped their progressively epic journey into the heart of prog…
Seasons Unite (Sahara, 1994)
Orphaned Land’s 1994 debut might lack the full musical scope and masterful production of their later releases, but it showed what they were capable of as players and songwriters with this impressive union of progressive and death metal.
Find Yourself, Discover God (El Norra Alila, 1996)
From the folky opening to the frantic metal onslaught that follows, this was another early example that points the way forward for Orphaned Land’s ambitions.
Norra El Norra (Entering The Ark) (Mabool: The Story Of The Three Sons Of Seven, 2004)
A perfect example of Orphaned Land’s range, Norra El Norra has crunching death metal riffs alongside Middle Eastern folk instruments and a piano solo. Farhi showcases his facility with quarter tones, which give his vocals their unique flavour.
The Kiss Of Babylon (The Sins) (Mabool: The Story Of The Three Sons Of Seven, 2004)
The album tells the story of three angels representing the three Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Powered by tasteful twin guitars, the track lets Farhi employ his death metal growl and the result sounds like a Middle Eastern Opeth.
Sapari (The Never Ending Way Of Orwarrior, 2010)
Sapari is what happens when you take a traditional Yemenite Jewish song that is centuries old and give it a prog metal makeover. It’s shamelessly progressive, hugely catchy and exquisitely mixed by Steven Wilson.
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Disciples Of The Sacred Oath II (The Never Ending Way Of Orwarrior, 2010)
Everything comes together perfectly here – the blend of acoustic and electric elements, the Middle Eastern instruments alongside the metal virtuosity. And it’s an epic in composition and structure, brimming with pomp and grandeur.
All Is One (All Is One, 2013)
A fixture in their live sets, All Is One is an Oriental metal masterpiece, from the searing guitar lines to the rousing strings and the beautiful, uplifting voices of the choir. The album is an essential listen for any fan.
Let The Truce Be Known (All Is One, 2013)
Inspired by the Christmas Truce of World War I, when soldiers from both sides participated in an unofficial ceasefire, this is a sweeping metal ballad that plays like a heavy counterpoint to Paul McCartney’s Pipes Of Peace.
We Do Not Resist (Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs, 2018)
A distillation of the new album’s themes, We Do Not Resist seethes with anger. “Why do we deal with the birth of the child of Princess Kate for two days and not deal with kids dying in Africa because they don’t have water?” says Farhi. “It’s that cave. We prefer to deal with the shadows rather than dealing with the truth.”
Only The Dead Have Seen The End Of War (Prophets & Dead Messiahs, 2018)
A track that reconnects Orphaned Land with the death metal of their early albums, Only The Dead Have Seen The End Of War is densely layered, with the orchestra adding drama to the headbanging guitar riff.