Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Onward To The Recycle Bin! (Part XVII) - 55%

OzzyApu, October 20th, 2010

1994 wasn’t the most promising year for making it big as a metal band in the land of “fuck you, my God has a bigger dick than your God.” Their music, however, I’m still not bought on. Orphaned Land play doomy death metal with a Middle Eastern folk twist on everything. If I could strip this music (oh how I wish I could) I’d take the bass, riffs, death growls, and then I’d merely fix the drum sound and repackage this album for the rest of the world.

Everything else on this album I either dislike or absolutely hate: the moaning style cleans, the female vocals, folk sections, and especially the snare sound. Good fucking lord that snare is so annoying that it ruins the experience all on its own. Death’s Leprosy + Dream Theater’s Images And Words + Abbath’s (Immortal) breath = the snare sound (the rest of the kit is sort of thin, too), which is overly loud, stale, and a buzzkill on the shredded guitar tone. That tone backs riffs that twist, tear, butcher, and char the shit out of any flesh it comes in contact with. It pays well to hear these guitarists unravel some thrash / Mid-East-cool leads and riffs, but that drum sound defeats the purpose.

All my headbanging urges still can’t be restrained by those guitars, which kick off the album on a good note. Those first three tracks are neck breakers in that respect, with the mid-paced routines on “Ornaments Of Gold” being sweet thrash monsters. It’s here when the bass guitar really begins to shine right under the guitars that, while I call shredded, are sort of consumed in a purely amplified sound. By this I mean that there isn’t a whole lot of grit to it; the tone is crunchy, but it doesn’t kick balls like some other hefty guitar tones. Solos are harmonic and clear, thankfully, and sticking with “Ornaments Of Gold” I can say that when the band wants to get atmospheric on the death metal side, they can. Any other way and they just sap up the music with the lame folk execution, which is heard immediately on the next track. Honestly, that crap is so annoying, destroying the flow (as in “Aldiar Al Mukadisa”) or legitimacy of the death / doom approach. The folk-ness is apparent on every track in varying forms, but keep the that nonsense off the record and please don’t include female vocals unless they can actually contribute something aside from out-of-touch moaning.

Keys have their say in a fantasy synth style which is old school and calm, but the one stabbing it in the back is Kobi. Now this guy’s growling is coarse and airy, which goes hand-in-hand with the guitar tone, but his moans are the ugly cousin that decided to show up. The growling is menacing but disciplined, yet this moaning is louder and Kobi gets so carried away with his monotonous, dry talking that it drags the songs into a standstill; nothing gets done when he opens his mouth and decides to groan his lines like some old man. Add some woman singing with him and we have a really lame duet lacking presence and power.

I’d tell you to stay away from this, but then again you’d probably like this more than I did. If you dig Middle Eastern tunes to your extreme metal, then you probably shouldn’t pass this up. Personally I can’t stand the sterile acoustics or jangle-jangle tunes mixed with demonized doom / death – and they aren’t implemented well together apart from the riffs – but that’s just another reason why I hate it. Being from the Middle East, I expected this band to at least mold the two sounds together rather than clutter up extreme metal with sappy folk tunes or cultural influences. Some things work and others should just die at the brainstorming session.

Infidels that worship the worm... - 93%

Human666, July 30th, 2008

Shall bring Sahara's storm!

After the band supported acts such as 'Tiamat' and 'Cathedral', self released a majestic demo tape and based themselves as one of the leading metal acts in Israel, the band received a contract from the french label 'Holy Records', and thus released their first full length album entitled as 'Sahara'.

The first part of this album contains three unreleased songs and one interlude, the second part contains four rerecorded tracks from their debut demo 'The Beloved's Cry'. One major difference from their previous demo is the absolutely flawless sound quality. The overall sound of this album has much more depth, the guitars sounds heavier yet thicker than before, the bass can be heard quite well and has a pretty piercing sound and the keyboards has a more inflated shape as well.

'The Sahara's Storm' is an excellent opener. Very energetic heat and cruncy riff sets, and there is a marvelous oriental vibe for all of it's way which merging flawlessly with the straightforward, aggressive growling which penetrate at the right moments of the song. 'Blessed Be Thy Hate' is the doomiest song this band ever written. Very melancholic feeling and tons of twisted riffs which creating together a long epic and doomy journey. This is a song which will make all the doom fans happy. A must hear.

'Ornaments Of Gold' is nothing less than a masterpiece. This is what I call a "Rollercoaster song". So many riffs, so many ideas, so many moods...all merging together into a seven minutes long epic song, perfectly. It has a very consistent structure which emphasize each idea to it's saturation point and then mildly continue to the next section, creating a long and continuous opus which flowing easily and will leave you crave for more. Though each second of this song is just amazing, the absolute high spots of it are the first mammoth riff, which is literally unparalleled for it's sheer originality, and the melancholic ending with the soaring vocals and the astounding, apocalyptic lead guitar.

The last song, called 'Orphaned Land', begins with a slow, brooding riff and the song warming gradually until it reach the fantastic chorus which contains an energetic riff and melodic lead guitar that creating together a grandiose harmony that will force you shit oysters from your ears. The ending of the song is quite impressive as well, very emotional leading guitar from Yossi Saaron which just closes this song wonderfully. Then there are some clean guitars and oud at the background which will settle the atmosphere down, like a calm after the storm.

'Sahara' is a wonderful album. If you like doom, folk, death or just looking for a revolutionary album, you'll be more than grateful for owning this album, which is just a sign for what will come two years afterward...

Warning: It will grow on you. Fast. - 99%

SepherZ, July 3rd, 2006

The only reason this album doesn't get a perfect score, is that I like El Norra Alila a tiny bit better. I don't know how to explain that, but that's the way it is, so they couldn't possibly get the same grade.
This is Orphaned Land's groundbreaking debut album, featuring the best riffs in the entire world. The reason this album doesn't get the title the best album in the world, then, is because it has some parts being the best parts ever written in the history of metal, but some other parts being a little boring and tiring doom metal.

Orphaned Land's Sahara opens with 'The Sahara Storm', a rather odd choice for an openning track, as I believe it is one of the weakest songs in this album, but it also has it's great moments, with an excellent folk-chorus and some nice brutal parts near the end. As soon as the opener ends, starts "Blessed Be Thy Hate", probably the best song Orphaned Land ever managed to write and perform, with only a short weak part on the 4:35 mark. It starts with heavy distortion Check out the amazing ending riff for this one, starts on 8:15. Probably the best riff in the entire album, especially with the short pause in the middle, followed by a mean growl by Kobi - and back to the excellent riff, fading out to Ornaments of Gold, another excellent song. Can you hear this song's intro and tell me Orphaned are NOT the most original death metal band ever? I doubt it. Simply the best riffs ever written. And what an impressive vocal ability Kobi presents here. I simply can't stop headbanging for the riff that starts around the 2nd minte mark. Simply a feast of emotions and excellent riffs through the whole song. Aldair Al Mukadisa is a short pause, somewhat unnecessary. Seasons Unite starts with the strongest riff of the song, and continues with some great downtuned riffing and heaviness. It amazes me how unique Orphaned Land managed to sound on this album. Every song is totally different from the others. The Beloved's Cry is the most famous song out of this album, and is the most quiet one. It's a sad song about tragic love, and is very heart-touching. Unlike all others though, it doesn't have anything brilliant in it whatsoever. It's just good, that's all. My Requiem has the best part for headbanging on the whole album starting out near the 4th minute mark. Pretty priceless in my opinion. It starts with clean vocals and bursts later on. The Storm Still Rages Inside is pretty much the summing of all you've heard till now, and is the last long-track in this album (The next two are 4 minutes long). It also has one of the best riffs ever written in death metal starting at 1:48. The next two songs are much less impressive, but are also good, with a funny thing happening at Above You All - You can hear where the best riff of 'The Kiss of Babylon' originated from, as most people who hear this album already heard Mabool. How surprising.

Overall, this album is probably perfect, however it's long and sometimes a little tiring to listen to as a whole. Blessed Be Thy Hate is probably the best death metal song I've ever heard, and the whole album is paved with excellent riffs that no death metal fan should spare himself hearing. Get this album if you like both death metal and new scents.

Amazing Music - 95%

Vor, March 12th, 2006

I picked "Sahara" up a few years ago and still it never ceases to amaze and enchant me, receiving play after play on my stereo. Orphaned Land make their debut here and immediately indicate that they have an incredibly unique style and talent unlike any other metal band before. How could one not give such immense credit to a band that has the ability to throw something new and fresh out in the open in a scene filled with so many generic bands? "Sahara" sums up everything Orphaned Land is about from the get-go and foreshadows the development and potential of an already incredibly gifted band that is so much more than plain death/doom metal.
Orphaned Land have the ability to use Mediterranean traditional folk music and combine it with their own rich brand of death metal. Overall, they produce a sound that is perhaps best described as Biblical as is the band's theme. The listener can envision themselves in the atmosphere of a desert or ancient ruins when listening to "Sahara." All instruments throughout the album are superb from the clear guitars to the traditional instruments. Kobi's vocals are excellent as well and carry a commanding atmosphere along with the rest of the music. His growls are ferocious and perfectly executed while his clean singing ranges from being angelic to quite emotional with ease. As always with Orphaned Land, the production is amazing and warm. Every instrument can be heard clearly without anything overpowering something else. The composition of each song is also as good as it gets. Not only does the band know how to play their instruments but they know how to write a song that has ups and downs and carries emotion without ever getting boring or tedious to listen to. Just about everything about "Sahara" is what it should be.
Anybody into metal combined with folk, especially Middle Eastern style music, should definitely listen to this album. There is no doubt that Orphaned Land put much work into the making of their music and "Sahara" is sure to please listeners and attract a huge fanbase for the band. This release is nothing about money, attention, or any of that nonsense. It is only about the love of music and creating an album of the best quality that stands out amongst the sea of other metal bands. "Sahara" is a classic debut that seems to be highly unrecognized yet more than worthy of praise and recognition.

Meandering oriental death metal - 65%

natrix, April 11th, 2004

I will give this album credit for being pretty groundbreaking, as far as opening the doors to Israeli bands and starting up the whole "oriental" influenced (these guys use not only melodies, but oriental instruments, and Hebrew and Arabic lyrics sometimes) death metal movement, but it has some serious flaws.
The main flaw is the fact that there are very good sections to the music, but you can tell that these guys weren't that experianced at the time. Sure, they play really well (Yossi's guitar playing is awesome, and so is Kobi's amazing voice), but the songs have so much going on in them that they have to chop out a really good moment then throw in something else before it has the time to really mature and grow on you. That's the main problem, because I just can't listen to the whole thing stright through without getting bored in certain parts. The other problem is that they'll throw in technical little pieces here and there, which jarr you and disrupt the flow of the song.
"The Sahara's Storm" is a good way to start it out, and it features everything that you'll hear throughout the album from heavy guitars, rumbling death vocals, oriental melodies, clean vocals, and a few keyboards. The ending of "Ornaments of Gold" is really fantastic, a great way to end a song. "Aldiar Al Mukadisa" is really weird: dudes singing in a big building, with a few voice overs, guitars, oud and ethnic drumming. It doesn't sound like anything else on here. "The Beloved's Cry" is a slow ballad, and it's the most consistent song on here, so it's no wonder that it's one of their most popular songs nowadays. Kobi uses only his clear voice on here, with a female back-up, and Yossi plays a really heartfelt solo at the end. "Seasons Unite" starts up as a slower, melodic song, then goes into some mid-paced Morbid Angel-esque riffing in the middle (think the beginning of "Fall from Grace" with a little part with some weird oriental drumming--cool!), before going into something entirely different. There's even a few blast beats on the album, which have never showed up since.
Luckily, they improved with age, and El Norra Alila shows a massive improvement on their sound. This is good for fans of ethnic metal, but I cannot reccommend it to fans of straight-up death, doom, or black metal. It's interesting, but a little difficult to get into, especially if you've heard the work they've done since.