• Emotional summary of the band's early years - A review of Orphaned Land's "The Road to OR-Shalem"

    Orphaned Land - The Road to OR-Shalem (2011)

    The Road to OR-Shalem is not only a highly recommendable live record but also a collection of Orphaned Land's greatest hits of their early works and therefor a great starting point for anyone who wants to discover the quintet's epic Middle Eastern folk metal and its positive message of peace, spirituality and unity. During this concert, the open-minded Israelites are supported by numerous guest vocalists and instrumentalists that add even more diversity and oomph to the sound. If compared to the DVD version of the same name, the band cut a handful of tracks and shortened some excerpts but all the essential tunes are included with seventeen diversified songs and a whopping running time of more than seventy-eight minutes. Most tracks are taken from the band's previous folk driven studio records The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR and Mabool - The Story of the Three Sons of Seven. A few selected cuts are also taken from the group's debut Sahara and its follow-up El Norra Alila that include some doom and even death metal influences. The traditional folk tune "Bakapaim" is regularly performed by the band but can't be found on any official studio record and is an interesting additional gimmick.

    The release convinces with an organic and almost perfect production where all vocalists, instruments and the crowd can be heard. The enthusiastic fans are particularly present during the calmer tracks and interludes where they masisvely sing along and manage to send shivers down my spine. The set list itself is not only representative of the band's large discography but the order is also wisely chosen. Spiritual, short and sometimes entirely acoustic pieces are followed by more epic, heavier and plugged tracks. The guest performances really add more diversity to the concert and I must particularly point out Shlomit Levi's enchanting female guest vocals and Steven Wilson's laudatio for the band as well as his appeasing guitar play. Particular song highlights are the atmospheric, progressive and surprising opener "Halo Dies" that summarizes the band's strengths and spirit perfectly, the positively liberating yet intellectually challenging "Birth of the Three", the enchanting, folk-driven and hypnotizing "The Kiss of Babylon", the traditional "Bakapaim" with its great folk chants and percussive finish, the dramatic and almost cinematic "Ocean Land" with a perfect combination of different vocalists and the chilling, intimate and relaxed "The Beloved's Cry".

    Overall, The Road to OR-Shalem is a great live release for old and new fans of this band that deserves more attention, followers and respect than it already gets. The only downsides of the record are that some of the calmer and shorter tracks end up sounding a little bit too similar in my book, that the last songs of the concert aren't as energizing as the opening tunes and the fact that since this concert took place before the band's magnum opus "All Is One", the group's most essential hits are still missing on this release.

    Final Rating: 91%

    « This might be a return to form - A review of Lacuna Coil's "The House of Shame / Delirium EP"Der aktuelle Stand der Diepentalsperre im Sommer 2016 »
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