Orphaned Land
The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR


2.0
poor

Review

by Tyler Munro EMERITUS
January 5th, 2010 | 182 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A lack of direction and discipline makes The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR both a massive disappointment and a colossal failure

Mabool was an unbelievably fresh listen when it was released six years ago. Of course fresh is a conflicted word to use when concerning Orphaned Land, who put almost 8 years of work into the album. One could easily assume that by the time of its release the Israeli four[-hundred] piece outfit would have grown pretty tired of what fans were being newly exposed to. So now, another six years in waiting we've got Mabool's long awaited follow-up. The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR begs the question of how Orphaned Land can match Mabool's freshness. How can they re-capture the impact of an album fans have had six years to absorb? On first listen, the answer is blatant if contrived---the solution, it would seem, would be to more or less release the same album over again. As far as aesthetic goes, The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR comes about as close as a Vietnamese knock off. It features many of the same sounds and ideas, but captures none of Mabool's intangibles and effervescence.

Obviously crafted with all-things-grandiose in mind, The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR falls hardest as a result of its grandeur. Everything from the album's overlong title to its bloated hour and eighteen minute run-time feels like fodder for comparisons, but what made Mabool so special was how naturally it flowed from point A to point B and how it did so while developing a story that may or may not have mattered to the listener. On The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR, Orphaned Land seem to be throwing things in just for the sake of doing so. As a result, it's a tedious listen; I think it took somewhere around four attempts for me to make it through the entire thing in one sitting. It certainly feels like it took six years to make, but only because it's chock filled with everything from choirs to misplaced modem sound effects (surely a result of enlisting egomaniac and self-proclaimed super-producer Steven Wilson). It sacrifices cohesion and linearity for sheer girth and when it comes to contemporary metal, I'm a firm believer that thin is in. It takes about 15 minutes before we get to “Treading Through Darkness”, the first part of the two-track “The Path”. I'm not sure the wait is warranted---both “Sapari” and “Bereft in the Abyss” are underdeveloped and lacklustre and even “From Broken Vessels” feels out of place sandwiched between what is largely a nonsequitur of an intro and a disposable acoustic 3 minutes of melodrama. Nonsequitur might be the word that best captures the album as a whole, with “The Pilgrimage to or Shalem” (or “The Path – Part Two”) being little more than an extended wank session. A seven and a half minute wank session that undermines its first part, which is easily the best song on the album and a highlight of the band's growing catalogue.

More or less all of the album's faults follow this pattern. I'd call it formulaic, with the key ingredient to its recipe being over-saturation. Whether it's the feeling that every song begins and ends with a middle eastern women singing God knows what (obviously trying to echo the street-singing found on Mabool) or the fact that its full of 7 minute songs that go nowhere, many of The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR's faults can be chocked up to over-ambition and Steven Wilson's deplorable work as producer. Having made a career out of being in love with his own ideas, Wilson never sees fit to reign the band in and as a result we're left with songs like “The Pilgrimage to or Shalem” and “The Warrior”, two seven-plus minute tracks featuring little more than hair-blowing-in-the-wind soloing, with the latter opening with a nauseating voice-over. Pair those with the album's forgettable opening 15 minutes and we're at nearly half an hour of throwaway, and for what? That's 40 minutes of music with about 8 that aren't terrible, a trend that's sadly present throughout the rest of the album. “Treading Through Darkness” and “Codeword: Uprising” are the only songs I can truly call good from start to finish. Even the best parts of “Disciples of the Sacred Oath II” and “In Thy Never Ending Way” are surrounded by vapid chugging, soloing and displaced crooning---filler in other words. There simply aren't many hooks to be found and with an album as long as this one that makes for a tedious, frustrating listen.

Two and a half solid songs and a handful of memorable melodies scattered throughout 15 tracks and 80 minutes makes The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR both a massive disappointment and a colossal failure. While it's not a consistently terrible album, that fact exists more as a result of the album's crippling inconsistency. When the band is on, they're on, and in a few instances they still show the unbridled potential we hoped they'd deliver on, but as a whole The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR is evidence of a total lack of direction and discipline. The middle-Eastern instruments very rarely fit within the songs, usually popping in as little more than invokers of extended chug sections (meaning that you'll usually hear a pause in the track followed by an out of place middle eastern melody, which is then quickly transposed into down-tuned guitar chugging). Orphaned Land have gotten incrementally heavier and they're more determined to show their technical capabilities, but The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR feels worse for it. The album took six years to make and I'd believe it; not because it's a success, but because it comes off as if they put absolutely every idea they amassed in 72 months of studio work into the album---both in run time and desultoriness.



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user ratings (172)
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other reviews of this album
eyesofapocalypse (5)
The epitome for progressive folk; the standard by which all bands should be held to....

Greg Viessman (3)
The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR takes heavy metal and middle eastern influences and decides to tot...

IcedEarthaholic (4.5)
From the beginning to the end, this is a solid album. It is not Mabool Part 2, but what it is, is a ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
SCREAM!
January 6th 2010


10095 Comments


Great review.

I never really got into Mabool because of its horrible replay value so i doubt i'll be giving this any attention

jrowa001
January 6th 2010


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

great review. i will still check this out but since it is so much like Mabool my anticipation for it has dropped. i will still probably like it upon first listen but i doubt it will last

Hawks
January 6th 2010


35824 Comments


I'm still going to check this out despite the review just because Mabool is probably my favorite metal album. Still a really good review though.

Digging: Engraved - Before The Tales

jingledeath
January 6th 2010


7104 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Thought the album might be a disappointment after listening to Sapari, gonna have to wait and see for myself when it's available.

Thor
January 6th 2010


10191 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Pretty well-written review. Loaded with shots at Steven Wilson, lol (a little harsh, maybe...but I won't say a bit of it isn't unwarranted).

Meatplow
January 6th 2010


5524 Comments


I said it before i'll say it again

Steven Wilson puts me to sleep

Wish
January 6th 2010


262 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

That is a shame. Still going to listen to it though - Orphaned Land are one of my favourite metal bands.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
January 6th 2010


6099 Comments


Vere well written review. I TOTALLY AGREE with the comments about Steven Wilson, even though I'm a big PT fan.

Wilson has fallen into the same trap Dream Theater fell into in the late 90's producing ang getting involved with numerous projects that drained his inspiration and drove him to megalomania. As a result he ended up recording better music with his projects than with PT.

The minute i heard that he was the producer of OL new album, i said OMG!!!

Still I will listen to the album myself to make a fair judgement.

Digging: The Sabbathian - Ritual Rites

Motiv3
January 6th 2010


8932 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Well i didnt find Mabool that impressive anyway but ill still listen to this.

Digging: Punch - They Don?t Have To Believe

Ponton
Emeritus
January 6th 2010


5793 Comments


I had a feeling this would happen.

I like the album art.

Altmer
January 6th 2010


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm still pumped for this album, moreso because I'm going to see them at Wacken.

rasputin
January 6th 2010


14544 Comments


(surely a result of enlisting egomaniac and self-proclaimed super-producer Steven Wilson)


i fucking knew it

Zion
January 6th 2010


812 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Whereas Mabool is like a fluent language rolling off of the tongue, ORWarriOR is like a the ramblings of a drunken first year German student.

BallsToTheWall
January 6th 2010


44360 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Well...this is certaintly a blow.

Digging: Pharmakon - Abandon

Zion
January 6th 2010


812 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"[lacks] Mabool's intangibles and effervescence." - you hit the nail on the head there. I'm glad this was reviewed by someone who loved Mabool, otherwise I wouldn't be able to fairly assess if I'd agree with the rating.

qwe3
January 6th 2010


21362 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

ugh steven wilson sucks so fucking much now.

KILL
January 6th 2010


71782 Comments


awww

Digging: Invisible - El jardin de los presentes

Motiv3
January 6th 2010


8932 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

well orphaned land werent that good before wilson produced for this album anyway.

KILL
January 6th 2010


71782 Comments


yes they were

IanDavila
January 6th 2010


442 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

so is this streaming? or this review will be delete?? what the hell?.... great review, sad about it



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