Review Summary: For the fifth time in their career, Orphaned Land have made a truly unique blend of musical styles that will have you hooked.
Every once in a while I stumble upon an album that changes my perception of modern metal. With so many bands across all sub-genres of metal putting out generic material, I almost lose faith in modern acts due to the sheer amount of like minded bands regurgitating the same sound and style release after release, year after year. For this reason, All Is One was a much needed breath of fresh air. This album has a truly different sound that compares to nothing I have heard before, offering unique and interesting tracks practically crammed full of infectious and moving material. And yet it all somehow manages to stay within my musical comfort zone.
Almost immediately from the first few seconds of the opening track, the album's middle-eastern influence is unmistakable, with traditional eastern music drawing the listener in. And then suddenly the whole band kicks in and the listener is swept away into an epic dreamlike state of heaviness and melody. Orphaned Land are apparently known for this seamless infusion of middle-eastern folk and heavy metal, and it manages to work, with the band drawing influence from progressive, death, (and on older releases) doom metal. There is also some light keyboard work thrown into the mix that compliment the epic sound the band is going for without becoming too overbearing, yet maintaining the album's symphonic nature. The band manages to have a varied sound as well. There are heavier and melodic tracks that get stuck in your head due to an almost anthem like approach such as “The Simple Man” and “All Is One”, yet the band displays a softer, more volatile side when needed with ballad-like tracks such as “Brother” and “Let The Truce Be Known”. The band even hearkens back to their older material with the death metal influenced track “Fail”.
As you can probably tell from the album cover, the music has some slight biblical themes. Luckily, the band's musical skill and songwriting make up for this. However, the biblical themes aren't from a religious point of view, as all of the band members have identified as either atheist or agnostic in the past. I would assume that this subject matter is from a purely cultural point of view as the band members are Israeli. Yeah that's right, Atheist Jews DO exist. Go Figure. The vocalist has an excellent singing voice that harmonizes with the backing vocals and music, and he has great vocal range, complimenting the already stellar instrumentals in just the right way. However, some of the songs are sung in Hebrew and Arabic, such as on the heavily traditional eastern songs Shama'im and Ya Benaye. This for me is a negative aspect, as the band sounds much better when they stick to a balance of Israeli Folk and Metal, instead of leaning towards one of the two.
This album can be a be a very rewarding experience when the band isn't singing in Hebrew or playing purely eastern music. Luckily they only did this on two tracks. The rest of the album is a genius mix of musical styles that seemingly doesn't mix well on paper, but when put to music, it blends in an amazing and euphoric way. This is absolutely one of the most unique and musically accomplished albums to come out this year. Check this out if your looking for something different, or your just feeling adventurous.