Orphaned Land are one of those bands that I keep trying with mixed success. The Israeli band are immensely talented so that’s never the problem for me. They mix their trademark “Oriental Metal” with progressive metal, symphonic metal and even a bit of death metal. They’re back with “Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs” which comes almost 5 years after their last album “All is One.”
The last album really was a disappointment for me. I suppose that expectations were high after the Steven Wilson produced “The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR” which was the album that caught my attention (along with many others). “All is One” sounded forced and the concept behind it just left me a bit cold. “Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs” has a concept which definitely works for me. Through out history, mankind has always assassinated the person who embodies peace. It’s a pattern that has yet to be broken and it makes for a good focal point for this album.
Another issue with the last album for me was that I didn’t find the songs to be quite as good as the album prior. The band had lost founding guitarist Matti Svatitzki , so I thought perhaps that was part of the reason. And now the band has also lost the other founding guitarist. All this change can effect a band’s chemistry for sure but on “Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs,” the band seems to have gelled. The music is stronger than the last album and they as epic sounding as ever.
The album has a couple of epic tracks: the 8 minute plus opener “The Cave” and “Chains Fall to Gravity.” “The Cave” sounds epic musically, very symphonic. However, I am not keen on the overdone backing vocals. Choirs are fine for some but I think it sounds cheesy here. Vocalist Kobi Farhi proves he is still one of the best vocalists in the business. I like the atmosphere on “Chains Fall to Gravity” a lot. It’s both grand and yet beautiful at the same time.
Blind Guardian vocalist Hansi Kursch guests on “Like Orpheus” which is awesome. I love Blind Guardian and Hansi adds a nice dynamic when combined with Farhi. It’s definitely one of my favorite tracks on the album. As I have said many times, I am not a fan of spoken word and over use of samples. That said, the sample at the start of “Take My Hand” works well to start the song which has a soldier like march to it.
“Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs” has not made me a big fan of the band but I do think it’s a step in the right direction. Is it as amazing as “The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR”? No. Is it better than “All is One”? Definitely. I do enjoy what Orphaned Land brings musically to the table even if I find some of the lyrics to be a bit off. “Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs” is not a masterpiece but a solid album by talented band.
1. The Cave
2. We Do Not Resist
3. In Propaganda
4. All Knowing Eye
6. Chains Fall To Gravity
7. Like Orpheus
8. Poets Of Prophetic Messianism
9. Left Behind
10. My Brother’s Keeper
11. Take My Hand
12. Only The Dead Have Seen The End Of War
13. The Manifest – Epilogue
Label: Century Media Records
Release Date: 26 January 2018