For all its niggles, religion is most definitely good for one thing – storytelling. Its lofty fables have inspired countless novels, films and lyrics, and having another go at all things biblical are pastoral prog metallers Orphaned Land. This time, they’ve conjoined with fellow Israel outfit Amaseffer to concoct the soundtrack to a play that pivots on the scriptural story of Abraham.
The concept album Kna’an, led by OL mainstay Kobi Farhi and Amaseffer’s Erez Yohanan, fails to feed off the former band’s more white knuckle moments and instead relies a little too heavily on flat, folk-driven balladry. There’s still dollops of chunky gusto though; Naked gallops with vivid vigour, while Akeda’s melody melts over a backbone of juddering rhythm and machine gun kick drums.
It’s when the flow takes a breather that Kna’an tends to lose impact, with female/male harmonies in The Burning Garden failing to truly gel and Prisoners Of The Past feeling a tad tacky. If you remember that the record is the aural bosom-buddy of a theatrical play, however, then things start to make more sense. Orphaned Land’s emblematic Middle Eastern nods gain even more significance, and the adventures of Abraham don’t seem quite so distant after all.