Orphaned Land: All Is One

Israeli peaceniks go beyond their metal roots

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After a decade of labyrinthine, quest-like, groundbreaking concept albums containing more musical footnotes than the annotated Old Testament, even a rabid fan could be forgiven for approaching All Is One with mild trepidation. There’s always the danger of a band’s increasingly messianic mission to unite all monotheist religions combining with one overtly complex saga too many.

The opening title track, a bombastic stampede of Nightwish proportions, obliterates all concerns. What follows evokes Devin Townsend and Viking-era Quorthon as scholarly Jewish troubadours in medieval Muslim Spain. Fire And Water is so beautiful it runs chills down the spine and tears down the cheeks, while Fail will have atheists drop to their knees in gratitude for what this group of believers have created.

Shama’im, sung in Hebrew, can top the Israeli charts without losing a single metalhead along the way. Shamelessly vast, sweeping, melodic and accessible, All Is One provides a knockout metal commentary to the by-now cliché anti-Christian, pagan approach. All Is One is less about conceptual expanse of before and more about songs, less about progressive death metal and more about Middle-Eastern rock that stands without peers and, as such, is utterly unique.