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Orphaned Land – The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR: Review

February 4, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Orphaned Land is a progressive death metal band from Israel in 1991. Their location of origin is obvious in their incorporation of Middle-Eastern musical elements. Since their birth, they have been constantly growing in popularity and reputation. However, this is the first album by this band which I have listened to. It is entitled The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR, which loosely translates to “warrior of the light,” and was released on January 25. This is one of the select few 2010 releases that is a must-hear!

The Music (rating: B+)

  1. Sapari
  2. From Broken Vessels
  3. Bereft in the Abyss
  4. The Path Part 1 – Treading Through Darkness
  5. The Path Part 2 – The Pilgrimage to Or Shalem
  6. Olat Ha’tamid
  7. The Warrior
  8. His Leaf Shall Not Wither
  9. Disciples of the Sacred Oath II
  10. New Jerusalem
  11. Vayehi Or
  12. M i ?
  13. Barakah
  14. Codeword: uprising
  15. In Thy Never Ending Way (Epilogue)

Though I cannot compare this to any of the band’s former albums, the majority says that it’s not nearly as good as Mabool. After listening to this album, I immediately put Mabool high up on my to-do list. If Mabool is better than this, it must be an absolute masterpiece because The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR is a wondrous work of art. It is similar in quality to Opeth’s Watershed, which is a compliment. And though there are many resemblances with Opeth’s work, Orphaned Land has nonetheless created a distinct, recognizable sound that burns bright in today’s metal scene.

Their individuality is highly admirable. Without doubt there are many recognizable influences or connections to other artists, but it is impossible to mistake this band for another. Usage of oriental influences is very unique and brilliantly executed. From another perspective, it could be a novelty that has yet to wear out on me as I expose myself to more of Orphaned Land’s material. However, my instinct denies this. Do not let this band pass through you; there is no substitute.

Not many bands can achieve the level of musical mastery of Orphaned Land. Their rhythms are either flashy and impressive or musically intellectual; more often than not, it’s both. The clean vocals and guitar melodies are phrased fluently and creatively. Also, the drumming is subtle but simultaneously full of content. The overall musicianship achieves levels of complexity mirroring that of Opeth’s. Without doubt, this album brings a great deal of intelligence and “outside-the-box” inventiveness to the scene.

Everything is basically done right in this album. Musicianship is of high quality and uniqueness and originality are undeniably evident. I do however feel that there is room for slight improvement, though very little. For example, the instrumental performances, however spectacular, could still be tweaked to perfection. Nonetheless, The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR is a marvelous product that will not be seeing the end of its days any time soon.

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