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Orphaned Land is becoming one of the most important Oriental metal bands in the world today because their spectacular music that sums up the elements of progressive and death metal with the Middle Eastern folk music are getting more professional with every full-length album. After the successful material that the band released on the albums "Mabool" and "The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR", the new album, "All Is One", became one of the most anticipated albums in the global metal scene nowadays. The high quality mixture of the tasty Oriental-charmed music can't let the listeners down anyway, especially when a professional band like Orphaned Land is creating it. If you're ready for some melodious musical structure and some catchy growling moments, then you have to start this Oriental experience now with this album.
First of all, before even listening to the album I've noticed something strange about the artwork, as it has the same symbolic concept of the artwork that has been designed for the album "Believe" for the American band Disturbed (released in 2002). The new sound that has been created on this album doesn't sound totally different from the previous work of Orphaned Land, and the Middle Eastern flavor of the clean vocals on this album has the same smell of the album "El Norra Alila". The guitar progressions remind me of the album "Mabool", but the choirs and the Oriental fabric of the keyboards are more mature and grown than the previous albums, so this album definitely is not copying the previous sound of Orphaned Land.
Though this is the first full-length album with new guitarist Chen Balbus in Orphaned Land's discography, the result was really successful (though we sure will miss the guitar touches of Matti Svatizky). The tracks "Our Own Messiah" and "Let the Truce be Known" were the first singles from "All Is One" and the influences of the previous albums are clearly obvious in the structure of these singles, but the progress that the band created here made the riffing and the singing memorable and catchy, especially the lead guitar sections and the keyboard efforts. There are many fascinating slow-paced tracks on this album such as "Children" and "Brother", both tracks presenting excellent bass performances and both tracks used many folk Middle Eastern instruments like bouzouki, oud, and chumbush. The creative drumming of Matan Shmuely blew every track on this release, and the Oriental-styled procession has made the fabric of the tracks bend toward the folksy Middle Eastern sound and showed some professionalism (hear the tracks "Freedom" and "Through Fire And Water"). There are some harsh vocals in the track "Fail", but that wasn't what I've expected from this album. I didn't want Orphaned Land to get softer with every release, so some harsh vocals are required for the fans of death metal here!
This is not a simple release, and only those who're interested in Middle Eastern culture and music will enjoy listening to the tracks of this album, but if you're searching for an aggressive metal release, then you're in the wrong place. I liked the elements of this record a lot, but I can't hide my anger against the softness that the band has reached on this record. I wish the band will satisfy the extreme metal fans on the next releases without giving them smooth musical structures only. "Mabool" is still my favorite record for Orphaned Land even though I was expecting this fact to be changed with this record, but anyway, "All Is One" is a good album and it's recommended to all the worshipers of Oriental and Middle Eastern metal music.
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