quarta-feira, 24 de janeiro de 2018

ORPHANED LAND - Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs (English Review)

Year: 2018
Kind: Full Length


1. The Cave
2. We Do Not Resist
3. In Propaganda
4. All Knowing Eye
5. Yedidi
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 the War
13. The Manifest - Epilogue


Kobi Farhi - Vocals
Chen Balbus - Guitars, saz
Idan Amsalem - Guitars, bouzouki
Uri Zelcha - Bass
Matan Shmuely - Drums, percussion

Technical team:

Jens Bogren - Mixing
Tomas Lindgren - Mastering
Metastazis - Artwork
Shlomit Levi - Female vocals
Steve Hackett - Guitars on “Chains Fall to Gravity”
Hansi Kürsch - Vocals on “Like Orpheus”
Tomas Lindberg - Vocals on “Only the Dead Have Seen the End of War”


Press Contact: Arne.Jamelle@centurymedia.de (Europa) / kelly@rightanglepr.com (EUA)


Text: Marcos “Big Daddy” Garcia

Before we can get started with this review, some patience is needed from the reader. This isn’t a common review, so a long introduction must be written, and some concetps must be made clear for all.

When one deals with Science and Philosophy, no one can deny the importance of the Greek philosopher Plato (428/427 B.C. - 348/347 B.C.) on the format and canon of all knowledge we have today. One of his greatest works is the Allegory of the Cave, a mental experiment that can be found on his book “The Republic”. With a simple argument, Plato shows that a person that born and grew on the darkness of ignorance and that is constantly induced with fear (inside the cave), if someday confronts what makes he/she fell fear (a new reality, the coming of wisdom), leave ignorance behind and see the world as it really is (out of the cave), but suffers in the process (the pain in the eyes due the light). But if he/she tries to get back and help his companions on captivity (those that were born and raised on the cave along with the one that was set free), they won’t recognize their sad state and will throw the blame on knowledge (light) for the bad effects that they see on the one who is free (now, after being able to see the light and reality, his eyes can’t see on darkness anymore), so they’ll fight to stay in ignorance, and even will kill all those who try to bring them out of their illusion that they live in.

Many attribute the creation Allegory of the Cave to the experience of Plato witnessed as his master and friend, Socrates (another great philosopher that made great contributions to our knowledge), the same one who freed many from the darkness of ignorance, and had the ignorant ones against him.

Socrates was accused of three crimes:

1. To not believe on the Greek costumes and Greek Gods (an accusation that keeps the religious status quo and the traditional conservative thought);
2. To join forces with evil gods that likes to destroy cities (another accusation filled with religious feelings and political temporal power);
3. To corrupt the youth with his ideas (on this accusation, we can see clearly how some want to keep the status quo of ignorance, because it’s on young people that lies the hope for a better future).

His accusers: Anytus (a rich Merchant, representing the politicians, a powerful and influent man on Athenian society), Meleteu (an unknown poet and writer of tragedies, the official accuser, but nothing demanded that he was a respectful, skilled or fearful man, but just someone to sign the accusation, the representative of the poets and seers), and Lycon (an obscure rhetoric, who had small importance and authority on Socrates’ condemnation, the representative of the class of speakers and rhetoric teachers). The condemnation: to be exiled with his tongue severed (to now seduce people with his ideas), or to die. Socrates preferred the second path.

Dr. Martin Luther King
Some asked for his death with mean interests, the blind people followed their words like they were orders, and the wise master, light bearer of knowledge, has died.

If we all stop and think, how many times we read about this very same thing on the books, or saw on the news or TV documentaries, since the world was young and men started to engrave his memories for the future generations?

Another example: for all those who read the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, the same ones you find on the Bible and Torah, how many times the people of Israel wanted to give up on their journey to the Promised Land and go back to the slavery on Egypt (from where they were free)? How many times they didn’t try Moses’ patience, and even JHVH/Adonai’s patience as well? Rewriting: how many times they didn’t want to go back into the darkness of ignorance, to serve as slaves once more? A life of freedom and knowledge demands constant daily efforts, and we must leave behind our comfort zones.

In this sense of thoughts, it’s easy to see and comprehend that men like Mahatma Ghandi, Dr. Martin Luther King, o Jesus histórico, Muhammad Anwar el-Sadat, John F. Kennedy, Yitzhak Rabin, and even Antônio Conselheiro and many others were assassinated because we aren’t able to leave the darkness of ignorance and to embrace a life with knowledge, and in this way, create a better and peaceful world for all. We can say that they are unsung prophets for the world, and dead messiahs for all our lack of understanding.

Going even deeper on this matter, if you pay attention on daily international news, and take a look on social networks like Facebook and others, you’ll see how hatred can be seen on them. It’s an armed resistance against the light. We prefer to stay on the dark instead of being free!

Mahatma Gandhi
Here on Brazil, you’ll see fine examples on the peoples pleas for a military intervention on government after the failure of democratic government full of corrupt politicians and their allies, the absence of protests against the corrupt actions of the government, and even the hatred turned against LGBT people, afro descendants, against women and many others… We blame each other and hate each other every day, and on the greater part of time, we even can’t see or understand the roots of this evil. We hate all those who try to open our eyes with light, and WE DO NOT RESIST AGAINST HATRED, we don’t make any opposition to the real source of ignorance, and we just omit ourselves or assimilate these feelings, trying to make them up as a good thing… And making no opposition to these feelings, we share the guilty of the blood of the innocents that is shed every single day. We prefer to speak about (both on bad or good way) disposables celebrities on the media to know who was Socrates or Plato, we know more about the guys on TV or computers’ screens on reality shows than Science or the sad news of cruelty on the world that demands our attention and actions! We are alienated from the true world, trapped into the darkest caves, addicted to ignorance and violence against each other!

The Allegory of the Cave was created to show the effect of education or the lack of it on our nature, and how it’s important and precious education and knowledge are precious. In this point of view of our analysis, we see Plato in a new light, not only as a refined philosopher, but as a prophet. The Allegory of the Cave becomes a prophecy for all humanity. Even being written 2500 years ago, we can see how the cave is real in our days.

And this long theoretical was needed to introduce the readers to the main conception the permeates “Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs”, the six and newest release from Israeli quintet of Peace mongers of ORPHANED LAND.

Anwar El-Sadat
To the older fans, a question remains: how the band sounds without the guitarist Yossi Sassi, one of the founding members who left on 2014?

I’ll speak honestly: the band hasn’t changed that much as many could expect.

Their main genre that we all know is the same. The Middle East melodies and elements fused with Metal weight and some aggressive parts that comes from other Metal genres is the same, just being a little more dense and melancholic due the album’s concept. What we can say is that the band used again some elements that we heard on “Mabool” and “The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR”, as the harsh guttural voices and some crushing melodies. But as well, we have that refined work on musical harmonies, excellent orchestrations, female voices, opera choruses as we heard on “All is One”. And the dynamics between guitars, bass guitar, drums and vocals is excellent, and the regional instruments used fits lovely on the songs.

So we can say that on “Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs”, ORPHANED LAND explored even more their musical genre, as we could expect.

To build a sound quality that could fit in an album with all these musical layers is a very hard work. But the band on the production, along with Jens Bogren on the mixing and Tomas Lindgren on the mastering, created a lovely and perfect sonority for the album, a true and perfect jewel, sounding in an amazing form both on the harsh and aggressive parts of the songs and on the melodic and introspective ones. All the details and arrangements are clear, and everything was planned with extreme care.
Itzhak Rabin
Another excellent point that deserves our comments is the artwork. The light colors used fits on the album’s lyrical conception, and the art created for the cover shows the main idea of the cave and the manipulation, but as a sign of hope, the clenched fist of resistance comes from a book, so the true resistance comes from knowledge. The freedom comes from education.

Musically, “Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs” is far denser a melancholic that “All is One” (that had a musically accessible insight), and it is complex in a way that any of their albums dared to be. But don’t worry: it’s not so difficult to hear and understand as well. It’s their most courageous work to date, breeding new musical possibilities for the band. Curiously, in some moments, you hear some “beep” sounds, the same kind of beep you’ll hear on censored videos and TV programs, called “bleep censor”, that the band used purposely on some songs, to create the right atmosphere that anything can be said, because the caves of many would be destroyed (what some sects of politics, media and religions wouldn’t like at all), and in a free interpretation, freedom of speech is another illusion of the cave. And one more thing: on this album, the band’s message becomes universal; anyone can see himself (or herself) on the songs.

This Masterpiece of music demands that each song must be analyzed separately.  The album deserves, believe me.

The first song is “The Cave”, where we can find contrasts of melancholic and melodic moments with some aggressive parts (showing a great work of Kobi on the vocals, very good choirs and amazing guitars). We can see many citations, and the most iconic is from Plato, “One can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark, the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light”, the reality of the cave that the lyrics deal with.

“We Do Not Resist” is the next, the song for a lyric video, filled with extreme vocals and a harmonic atmosphere (the harsh tunes shows an uncommon diversity, something difficult to hear), and the bitter theme of the lyrics is our alienation, when we adore gossipmongers and forget the hard reality of our brothers worldwide.

The beauty of the Middle East melodies mixed with orchestral embodiment of “In Propaganda” seduces the listener. The lyrics are showing the modern outfit of the chains and the cave’s illusion: the media propaganda.

“All Knowing Eye” is a lovely, charming and melancholic song, with the first half using acoustic musical instruments and on the second electric ones dominates, but always keeping the melodic feeling. It’s a painful and sad lamentation for all those Prophets/Messiahs that came and failed to enlighten us all, and the song bears a melancholic language, bearing the same spirit of the prophet Yirmeyahu, or Jeremiah.

Filled with traditional regional rhythms of Middle East is “Yedidi”, a more simple song. This one is an adaptation of a work from the Spanish Jewish physician, poet and philosopher called Judah Halevi (1075 -1141), celebrated as one of the greatest poets (both on secular and religious works), and who was killed briefly after he arrived on Holy Land, on the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem (a legend say that he was singing a “sionid” whe he was killed after being run over by an Arab horseman as he arrived in Jerusalem).

Filled with melancholy and Progressive Rock touches along with orchestral elements is the amazing “Chains Fall to Gravity”, and where a guitar solo is played by Steve Hackett, GENESIS guitarist (maybe he is paying back the appearance of Kobi on his last solo album, “The Night Siren”). On this song, the language seems a lot with the same prophetic style of writing used by Yešayahu (the biblical prophet Isaiah). This song shows the process of the one who leaves the cave, be enlighten by wisdom and become a new Prophet/Messiah to the world.

The first song of the album used as a Single, maybe “Like Orpheus” can be described as the most accessible song, filled with an amazing work from Chen and Idan on the riffs. Of course, we must speak about the elegant touch given by the voice of Hansi Kürsch, BLIND GUARDIAN’s singer to the song. Orpheus is a mythic harp player who could calm down beasts and monsters, and his music could even give some comfort to the tormented souls of Hell, to where he went to look for his wife, Eurydice. Obviously, Hell is the greatest cave of all, and you can read about this Greek myth for yourself.

Reciting the teachings of Plato once more, the beautiful and short “Poets of Prophetic Messianism” is led by very good harmonies, charming female vocals and oriental melodies. One of the most iconic quotes of “The Republic” is here: “Anyone who holds a true opinion without understanding is like a blind man on the right road”. The task of the Prophet/Messiah is to free people of darkness and illusions, so can you tell how many of them were killed on their sacred mission?

Uria and Matan are showing one of their finest moments on the rhythmic session on “Left Behind”, a song where heavy tempos, solid melodies and orchestral instruments. Here, the ones who are in the cave wish to be free from their torments and fears. The dazzling testimony of the Prophet/Messiah feeds their hopes.

Janusz Korczak
Dense harmonies mix with Oriental/Progressive tunes and whispering voices on “My Brother’s Keeper”. The Prophet/Messiah’s earns to return to the cave and free his former companions. “I exist not to be loved and admired, but to love and act. It is not the duty of those around me to love me. Rather, it is my duty to be concerned about the world, about man” is a charming quote of Dr. Janusz Korczak (07/22/1878 or 1879 - 08/05 or 06/1942), a famous Polish-Jewish educator, children’s author, and pedagogue, whose ideas are present on modern day educational system. He was brutally murdered with his students on August, 1942 on Treblinka Extermination Camp. He could have escaped, but refused to run away and leave his students alone.

Showing again fine melodies from Middle East regional rhythms mixed to orchestral moments and fine guitars, “Take My Hand”, is one of the most exciting songs of the album. It’s the teaching of the Prophet/Messiah, the teaching the can set free the cave inhabitants, where he claims to all to take his hand, for he will guide them to the light.

George Santayana
“Only the Dead Have Seen the End of the War” shows great tempo changes, a harsh and aggressive atmosphere, and where the chaotic and insane guttural voice of Tomas Lindberg (AT THE GATES’ vocalist) show that this song is to be aggressive, a fux of raw energy for the live shows. The song’s title is a quote of the Spanish philosopher and poet George Santayana (12/16/1863 - 09/26/1952), and because he wasn’t married or had apparent heterosexual relationships, as well as for his open friendship with bisexual and homosexual people, became labeled as these in a time where LGBT people suffered many persecutions. This songs reveals the fear and hatred of the imprisoned for the Prophet/Messiah, because the tribulations caused by freedom and knowledge is confused as a bad consequence of his teachings. They accused him, then kill the Prophet/Messiah, and in this way he won’t “fool” them anymore, as they become ignorant and imprisoned once more. In some moments, the language reminds some of the Salms.

Victor Jara
Closing the album, this art masterpiece in musical form, comes “The Manifest - Epilogue”, another dense and heavy song, with a melancholic atmosphere filling its musical arrangements. Two quotes are lovely: one from the Torah (“You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither you are free to desist from it”); and the other is “Canto que ha sido valiente Siempre será canción nueva”, or “Songs of bravery will always be new songs, forever”, from the Chilean teacher, theater director, poet, singer-songwriter, and political activist Víctor Jara (09/28/1932 – 09/16/1973), that caused an artistic/musical revolution on Chile, and who was taken prisoner, tortured and murdered briefly after the coup d'état of 11 September 1973 (yes, this date seems to have a kind of bloody curse on it) of general Augusto Pinochet (again, yes, here on South America, we have a long and sad history with bloody dictators, even with some people asking for the coming back of dictatorship here in Brazil). His hands and fingers were smashed as the army soldiers asked him to play his guitar, and then a shot in his head took his life. His body was displayed at the entrance of Chile Stadium for other prisoners to see, and discarded later outside the stadium along with the bodies of other civilian prisoners who had been killed by the Chilean Army. His body had 40 marks of bullets, and his body received a quick and clandestine burial in the general cemetery before his wife, Joan, fled into exile. This song narrates that the future Prophets/Messiahs can’t stop, and even if it take several centuries, the cave will be gone, the darkness will be utterly destroyed by the light. Our hopes for a better future will not die, and will go on as an inheritance for the generations to come.

If the readers didn’t realize, every historical figure that was shown on this review are some anonymous Unsung Prophets and Messiahs that are dead due the hunger of power, lust for riches and all the others who want men entangled in darkness of ignorance inside the cave. Or even the ignorant ones who wish to stay in the dark comfort zones. Once more: knowledge demands efforts, and living in the light is a constant daily struggle.

Historical Jesus
As the travel from Egypt to the Promised Land crossing a desert for long years…

As the changing of behavior with children, and understanding that they are human beings…

As the opposition to a bloody tyrant, because fear enslaves the men…

As accepting people as good ones, no matter the ethnicity, sexuality or other things, because we are all living in the same world

As to go against the weapons industries’ interests, and make the rivers over blood that exist throughout the world run dry…

As searching the understanding between longtime enemies that already forget the reasons of war…

As promoting the Light of knowledge that dissipates the darkness of ignorance…

The message of “Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs” is clear for us all, and besides the dense, melancholic and bitter content, it is as well a calling for us all. The hope still shines… The Prophets and Messiahs, enlighten by knowledge, still born between us,. We only have to hear their speech and sermons, and the blindness and slavery of the cave will disappear… Embrace your freedom, for it is yours…

All that is left to say is: “Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs” is one of the strongest names to be chosen as the best album of the year. And it can become a classic on Metal in the future. Perhaps, it’s one of the finest albums of Metal on the last 20-30 years.

“He who wants to change the world should start by changing the education system” (Janusz Korczak).

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything” (Albert Einstein).

Grade: 100+%