Orphaned Land
Mabool (The Story of the Three Sons...)


5.0
classic

Review

by Tyler Fisher EMERITUS
November 20th, 2006 | 46 replies | 9,869 views


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of the best metal albums ever, Mabool takes Israeli folk music and mashes it together with some of the tightest and greatest metal sounds in modern music.

I know next to nothing about metal. I can’t tell you the difference between death metal, black metal, doom metal, and all those other metal subgenres. Progressive death metal with a tinge of doom? What in God’s name is that? I never explored metal and I only get into it every once in a while when a really special and unique band comes along. I really don’t like good metal that is just metal. Emperor just doesn’t sit well with me. It needs something else to it like acoustic sections, a great clean vocalist, or maybe some Israeli folk music. Orphaned Land happens to have all three. Mabool, on its surface, looks more like a concept album about Noah’s Ark. With tracks titled Building the Ark and Mabool (The Flood), it seems almost inevitable that the album revolves around that timeless Biblical story. However, the first half of the album sets a slew of different characters. It tells the story of three sons, whom the band describes as symbols for the three monotheistic religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. As they fail to prevent more war based on the differences of their religions, God forces them to face the flood.

A typical metal album could easily cover this concept, but Orphaned Land takes the album to a new level with the addition of Hebrew and Arabic lyrics amongst various Israeli folk instruments mixed in with incredible metal sound. Their metal sounds much like Opeth, mixing angry growls with perfect clean vocals. The band almost never resorts to the stereotypical double-bass fury with ambiguous drop-D power chords. Even when the double bass enters, the instruments have some sort of noticeable melody, brought through with the excellent production. Orphaned Land also possesses a great synthesizer sound, which floats on top of everything in whatever voicing suits the song best. Halo Dies (The Wrath of God) goes through the different metal sounds of the band perfectly, switching tempos and feels masterfully. The song opens with a midtempo headbanging fest with excellent clean vocals. The use of Middle Eastern instruments add a great originality to the sound. This builds to a double-bass climax, seemingly representing God’s wrath with the change to growled vocals, climatic synthesizers and ambient sounds of crashing and destruction. Still further, the song picks up even more tempo with a lightning-fast Eastern influenced guitar riff. This is just half the song and the song continues to go through various different changes including a much softer acoustic section.

However, the album’s strongest point may lie in its variety. Mabool hosts a slew of acoustic and softer tracks, one of the best being The Calm Before the Flood. It features a solitary acoustic guitar going through a great chord progression. As the guitar switches to a clean electric sound, beautiful synthesizer swells and strings add to the atmosphere of the song as faintly, the wind can be heard off in the distance. While not technically challenging, the song serves only to work as its title. Orphaned Land proves they create the most beautiful music as well as the most brutal. It is this contrast that allows the band’s sound to never tire and gives the album incredible replay value. Even the acoustic tracks possess variety and contrast, as Rainbow (The Resurrection) stands as a nearly polar opposite to The Calm Before the Flood. Where Calm Before the Flood was more brooding and anticipating, Rainbow is a release of emotion and tension. A much happier (major keyed) acoustic guitar sings over the background noise of birds chirping. It makes a great, subtle ending to the epic proportions that Mabool takes on itself. Meanwhile, A’salk, the first acoustic track of the album, is true Israeli folk music. A woman sings in a foreign language over ethnic percussion and a Middle Eastern stringed instrument.

Every track on the album is phenomenal, whether it be the symphonic metal of Mabool (The Flood) or the subtly beautiful Norra El Norra (Entering the Ark), which ranges from the best mix of Israeli folk and metal possible to a wonderful piano solo that ends the song on a fade. The hard-hitting opener, Birth of the Three (The Unification) shows some of the best vocals on the album as well as some of the album’s heaviest moments. However, nothing compares to the epic standards of The Storm Still Rages. The longest song on the album, it features excellent lead guitar that takes a huge solo for the first half of the track, although vocals add in on some sections of the song. The lead guitarist realizes that a shred fest for nine minutes would suck, so he plays much more tastefully, only reaching his full speed at the climaxes. However, the true climax of the song comes at a huge angelic choir ending, used in the same manner as dredg on their closing track The Canyon Behind Her.

Mabool stands among the greatest metal albums of all time due to its consistency, variety, and overall excellence in musicianship. The harmonies, the vocals, the overall production, and everything about the album reaches for perfection. The album is surprisingly easy to listen all the way through, especially with its stronger ending. The last five tracks of the album are some of the strongest songs I’ve ever heard and make the album never tire because it is always getting better. This album belongs in the hands of anybody who listens to music.

Recommended Tracks:
The Birth of Three (The Unification)
Halo Dies (The Wrath of God)
Norra El Norra (Entering the Ark)
The Calm Before the Flood
Mabool (The Flood)
The Storm Still Rages
Rainbow (The Resurrection)



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Tyler Munro EMERITUS (5)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Wish
November 20th 2006



262 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I love this band and album to death. I can't pick one flaw on this album to tell you the truth.
The solo and last three minutes or so of Birth Of The Three (The Unification) is just the perfect way to open an album.
Pure excellence.
I wish they'd come to England

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
November 20th 2006



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Emperor just doesn’t sit well with me.



I need this. Great review.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
November 20th 2006



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Sorry Chan.

TheMisterBungle
November 20th 2006



861 Comments


I just got this a while ago, and it's amazing. I was planning on reviewing it eventually.

Cravinov13
November 20th 2006



3854 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I couldn't agreew ith your summary more. Nice review.

711
November 20th 2006



1342 Comments


Excellent review. I love this band. I have heard many songs on this album, but I dont have it yet, although I intend to get it soon.

ScelusNefas
November 20th 2006



274 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review, very honest, i appreciate.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
November 20th 2006



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks for da feedback y'all.

Hatshepsut
November 20th 2006



1997 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wait so you like this but not Opeth?

Eh I love this too. Good review.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
November 20th 2006



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

uhhhh what? I love Opeth.

Hatshepsut
November 20th 2006



1997 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oh my mistake, wrong person I guess. Sorry

Yeah did I mention this album rules.

GenuineImitation
November 20th 2006



49 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review of a great album. I was planning on reviewing this, but you did such a great job that I'll wait awhile. This is a must have for any metal fan.

Tyler
Emeritus
November 20th 2006



7928 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Even my mom loves this album

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
November 21st 2006



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Your mom is pretty awesome then.

jrowa001
November 25th 2006



8750 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i love this album to death. its one of a kind. i cant find any of their old albums. my mom loves it too lol. great review

Angmar
June 18th 2007



2689 Comments


[quote=cocaine]Even my mom loves this album[/quote]

HAHA mine too actually.

kalkal50
June 18th 2007



2386 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

loool, my mom doesnt like any of my music, i wish i had a super cool mom like that

FR33L0RD
June 21st 2007



1461 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

After re-re-listening the album
i must up my rating from 4.5 to 5

This is a classic
My two cents

kalkal50
October 12th 2007



2386 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wow, I've come to absolutely love this album. It's crafted so immaculately. First impressions are lame.

Kiran
Emeritus
October 12th 2007



6000 Comments


I just bought this. First album I've bought since BTBAM The Silent Circus. Gonna give it a listen soon.

I hope it's worth it. From the reviews, I'm confident it will be.

CDs are expensive as a motherfucker down here.

Digging: Spoon - They Want My Soul



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