There has never been a group quite like Orphaned Land — an Israeli progressive power/death metal band with enough Middle Eastern influences to top the Arab charts. On top of that, the band's message of peace, love and religious acceptance is almost untouched ground for heavy music, and Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs might be their most ambitious album yet.
Musically, there is a lot to digest. The growled vocals, absent from 2013's All Is One, make a welcome return. Genesis legend Steve Hackett shows up for a guitar solo, and guest spots from Tomas Lindberg (At the Gates) and the band's heroes Blind Guardian confirm Orphaned Land's metal cred. The mix between the Middle Eastern and symphonic influences has never been stronger, particularly on opener "The Cave" and "Only the Dead Have Seen the End of War," probably the most definitive musical statement Orphaned Land have ever made. The overall feeling is Umm Kulthum jamming with Opeth, and it feels good.
Sometimes Unsung Prophets threatens to collapse under the weight of its own ideas. There is so much to listen to here that casual listeners might feel overwhelmed, but those who stick it out will be rewarded. Orphaned Land's sixth album finds them at their creative peak, more confident and stronger then ever before. (Century Media)