Israel’s Orphaned Land are one of the progenitors of what’s become known as Oriental Metal, where power playing nestles comfortably alongside a range of Middle Eastern influences. In existence since 1991, and still with two members of the original band, the music they play contains very poignant lyrics which attempt to promote the idea of peace in a troubled world, and deriving from a troubled part of the world, they use their lyrics to focus on the achieving of peace and unity between the three main Arabic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam).
Band founder and one of the surviving members, Kobi Fachi said “When I’m writing music with the band, I’m always trying to figure out why humanity is unable to break out from the cycle of war and bloodshed and ego”. As a result, the lyrics of their songs are often politically charged, but not necessarily from the standpoint of taking sides. Rather, it’s simply to reflect the issues all sides have to face. They’ve taken their time with this new album, their first since 2014’s All Is One, and they’re pleased with what they’ve done. Kobi Fachi continues “We’re impatient for you to hear this new album. I want to tell our fans; growls are back, as well as killer melodies which will break your heart”.
The album opens with ‘The Cave’, the track which gives the album its title, where they sing “One cannot forgive a man who’s afraid of the light”. This track suggests what’s to follow, with strains of Western rock rubbing up against traditional Middle Eastern Arabic backing. The track ‘Yedidi’ is a rock song sung in Israeli, where they ask “why have you sold me to my enslavers for aye?” When they rock out, they do so with commendable power (not for nothing did Metal Hammer award them the epithet Global metal band of 2014) with the juxtaposition of the two styles often making for challenging and rewarding listening, though ‘All Knowing Eye’ is a straight-ahead rock tune. On the track ‘Chain Fall to Gravity’, prog luminary Steve Hackett plays guitar on a song where they sing “you are the one who opened his eyes to the light”.
With other guest appearances by Hansi Kursch (Blind Guardian) and Tomas Lindberg (Lurking Fear) Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs is an artistic tour-de-force from a band with a formidable and furious sense of purpose.