Thursday, May 31, 2012

ARTIST PROFILE: Orphaned Land - Metal For A United People

Orphaned Land are a band that defies the normal standard of what a metal band should be. Hailing originally from Israel, their music is a call for peace between the different warring states, religions, and ethnicities. The premise is that through music, all people of the world can be united. It is with this in mind that Orphaned Land create their music.
The band have been active since 1992, (which, by the way, is a year less than I have been alive), but have only released five full-length studio albums. It takes as long as seven years to create an Orphaned Land album. I have heard every one, and they are works of art. Though one could listen to an Orphaned Land song by itself, the experience of sitting down and hearing the full album is an adventure in itself. Much like a book, each album tells a story, with everything from the album cover, down to the smallest note, playing a purpose. Each album is a work of art, in more ways than one.

The Beloved's Cry, a demo tape, came out in 1993. Sahara was the first album, released in 1994. 1995 saw the release of the limited-edition Ararat EP. El Norra Alila, the next studio album, came out in 1996. From there, though, it was a long, long wait until the next album - Mabool, in 2004. (Which, by the way, is probably one of my top favorite albums.) It was almost six more years, until The Never Ending Way of ORWarriOR came out in 2010. 
Orphaned Land unite people with their music. Their fans are Muslim, Christian, Jewish... I'm sure there's atheists, Buddhists, and who knows what else in there also. Orphaned Land has been named the most influential metal band in the world for their ability to make people put aside their differences, and just enjoy music in harmony. 

Orphaned Land's music features just as much traditional folk music influences as it does metal. They have used countless traditional instruments during the course of recording. Many of their melodies (if not most) come from traditional sources, such as chants, prayers, and folk songs. Sometimes they quote chapter and verse. Sometimes they growl and snarl, just before a harmonious chorus begins to sing. The band have spent over 600 hours in studio with the Arabic Orchestra of Nazareth, in preparation for The Never Ending Way of ORWarriOR. They sing in English, Hebrew, Arabic...

“As people that were born into the tragedy of our region, we have always been devoted to creating harmony between conflicts, a musical heaven on earth, a tango between God & Satan. Even in the album’s artwork we combined Hebrew and Arabic, regardless of the fight between Jews and Muslims. I found a Jordanian guy, specialized in calligraphic artwork. He took letters from Hebrew and Arabic and moulded them in his art to create a symbol of peace. Same goes for our band photo, where we portrayed a synergy between the three monotheistic religions, that believe in the same God and yet, ridiculously have been killing each other for centuries "in the name of God" and turned the holy land into an orphaned land. Naturally we continued this idea of union on a musical level as well and the result is as always crazy, it's a miracle – in our concerts: our Jewish fans sing in Arabic and our Muslim fans sing in Hebrew, brave friendships have spawned and our Middle Eastern metal music destroys all this political witchcraft we have been trapped in for so long. This is a musical journey of hope in lands of war, creating heaven on earth, building a new Jerusalem.”  -Kobi Farhi, vocalist of Orphaned Land. Quote taken from OHP

Every day, in the news, we read about some type of conflict in the Middle East. The place where civilization is said to have begun (unless you subscribe to the Atlantis theory), the homeland of three of the world's most influential religions, is torn apart by fighting, revolution, wars, racial conflict, and political agendas. From this maelstrom, rose forth Orphaned Land. They, and those who listen to their music, have brought more peace to the Middle East than most of those politicians and peacekeepers have. 

Music is a powerful thing that can unite the world. Music is a magic, more powerful than any one could dream of. Music can bring together people who have been enemies for years, decades, centuries, millenia... and they will put their differences aside, and sing together. More than wars, more than divisions, more than religion or politics or philosophy or capitalism, it is music that can bring everyone together. A joy, a hope, a dream can be born, even in the darkest hour... if only one remembers to turn on the amp.

You can follow Orphaned Land on Twitter at @OrphanedLand, and like them on Facebook HERE.

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