THIS WEEK I’M LISTENING TO...ORPHANED LAND A Heaven You May Create (Century Media)
In 2004 Orphaned Land unleashed ‘Mabool – The Story Of The Three Sons Of Seven’. It was a game-changer for them, as although their previous releases had been interesting this third album was a masterpiece in terms of conceptualisation, composition and execution. It’s unfortunate though that despite great press and a good deal of touring the Israeli band never really topped it, nor broke through to the ranks of the true greats where they rightly belonged.
‘A Heaven You May Create’ is a DVD/CD package chronicling a hometown show the band (backed by an orchestra, choir and guests) played at the Heichal HaTarbut in Tel Aviv in 2021 during a break between the lockdowns that played havoc with that particular year. And the reason for the lengthy intro is that the set on CD draws heavily on that breakthrough album: in spite of the fact that ‘Mabool’ was nearly twenty years old at the time of the show, of the thirteen tracks on offer on the live CD five come from that one release. And – trust me on this – they sound as good now as they did when ‘Mabool’ first appeared in the racks.
Kobi Fahri fronting Orphaned Land at ProgPower Europe by John Tucker
But that’s not to denigrate the rest of the material on offer here. Frontman Kobi Fahri and his bandmates rarely put a foot wrong, and the way in which the band blend metal and Middle Eastern influences creates an eclectic and almost unique sound. ‘Sapari’ from the ‘Never Ending Way...’ album comes over particularly effusively, while ‘Brother’ (from ‘All Is One’) is a heartfelt and plaintive plea for understanding and forgiveness – a core theme in the band’s lyrics, and something badly needed right now – topped by some wonderful guitar work. The DVD’s visuals add to the spectacle unfolding onstage, and its extended running time re-instates ‘The Kiss Of Babylon’ and ‘A Never Ending Way’ to the set. As you might expect, a great release from a great band.
‘Sapari’ - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GafBzzDrO3c
‘Birth Of The Three’ - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s80vPAfByeg
‘The Cave’ - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ViIg2dvSQU
© John Tucker November 2023