Orphaned Land - Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs
Century Media
Progressive Epic Metal with an Ethnic Twist
13 songs (63'31")
Release year: 2018
Orphaned Land, Century Media
Reviewed by Alex
Major event

For a few more weeks I am going to stick with a mission to cover some of my favorite metal bands and their most recent albums. Last week I had Primordial, this week it is Israeli’s Orphaned Land turn. Years and years ago, while reading a review of Mabool by one of my colleagues who long ago seized writing for the site I remember his hesitation whether to provide coverage for this band, given they are from Israel and his wife was a Palestinian. To those who do not know, if there was ever a unifying force in the Middle East Orphaned Land is it. Nothing probably will ever heal the wounds of the people in that region of the world, on both sides of the divide, but if anybody has a chance it is Orphaned Land. Next time the speech on unity, hope and overcoming human prejudice is given at the United Nations, please call these Israelis and give them the stage. Don’t believe me? Find the hour long recent video interview with the band members and judge for yourself.

For all of Orphaned Land profound lyrics and deep philosophical statements, if they didn’t deliver captivating music they would have fallen below par. Yet, in the spirit of my favorite bands, not only Orphaned Land delivers the goods most of the time, once you hear their albums the recognition and identification of uniqueness is immediate. Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs is no different. By now Orphaned Land have mastered the mixture of progressive riffs, ethnically flavored and overall very rich music, featuring authentic native instruments and variety of vocal styles. The latest album is no different, except the Israelis have really stepped up the symphonic angle, the use of massive choirs and orchestral arrangements. When I listen to compositions, I can’t even call them songs, like Chains Fall to Gravity or Poets of Prophetic Messianism, I think of Orphaned Land as Israeli Therion, in the best sense of that comparison. Also, Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs features a broad variety of tracks. There are soft and harmonic introspective melodic flows (All Knowing Eye), which grow empowering as they unfold (Chains Fall to Gravity), ethnic Jewish sadness filled Yedidi, almost melodic death metal (Only the Dead Have Seen the End of the War), angry modern metal slams (We Do Not Resist), symphonic three-dimensionally voluminous The Manifest – Epilogue, and of course the monumental philosophical statement which is the opener The Cave. Immediately catchy, with sweeping breathtaking chorus hooks The Cave is the best representation of the amalgam Orphaned Land has become, with mixture of riffs and melody, a touch of harshness and fantastic female backing vocals. It is the message born by The Cave, however, which will absolutely make you grab the booklet while listening to Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs. This message of dark vs light, about human need for courage and enlightenment is absolutely universal. I could not have said it better than Orphaned Land did, but it is us sticking to our own self-made caves is what makes the world so miserable at times. Darker power metal of Like Orpheus is another place to hear this message, and if you can, do yourself a favor and watch the song’s video for the meaningful message reinforcement and the sign how metal music can bring unity.

The album features vocal guests on Chains Fall to Gravity (Steve Hackett of Genesis), Like Orpheus (Hansi Kursch of Blind Guardian) and Only the Dead Have Seen the End of the War (Tomas Lindberg of At the Gates). Sure, these guests enrich the album’s sound, but I have a feeling that Kobi Farhi, Orphaned Land’s main vocalist, would have been able to handle the softness of Hackett, the cantankerous delivery of Lindberg and the powerful flight of Hansi. He is a force everywhere he is called upon. The choruses on the album though are absolutely exquisite and however many people Orphaned Land has employed to sing on The Cave or Poets of Prophetic Messianism, it was worth every penny (or shekel).

Not really intended to be an epic in scope, as Mabool obviously was, Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs is epic nevertheless, especially if your mind epic is equated with high quality.

Killing Songs :
The Cave, Chains Fall to Gravity, Like Orpheus, Poets of Prophetic Messianism, Take My Hand
Alex quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Orphaned Land that we have reviewed:
Orphaned Land - All Is One reviewed by Andy and quoted 85 / 100
Orphaned Land - The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR reviewed by Goat and quoted 91 / 100
Orphaned Land - Mabool : The Story Of The Three Sons Of Seven reviewed by Jack and quoted 95 / 100
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