Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Orphaned Land Live Report

My first time with the Israeli kings of Oriental prog metal and when I saw that the support would be Myrath and Arkan, a ticket had to be purchased pronto. Even if it was for the tiny 250 and it's rammed, Borderline Club. Much to my disappointment Myrath could not make it into the country due to the promoter not being able to get them visas apparently. A big shame as their new album is totally fantastic.

Still we had 3 bands to get through. First up was a band called Artweg who I have not even heard of. They had two vocalists both screaming and barking. The music was heavy groovy modern metal or nu-metal if you like with a few funky riffs thrown in with rumbling bass. Some sections were full on double bass speedy thrash and then the songs settled into chugging grooves. The vocals were rapped or screamed in French. The band was not my cuppa but they weren't completely horrible either.

Next up were Arkan, a band I've somehow managed to ignore up till now. I had known that they were also Oriental death doom but had never given them the time of day or if I had done, the songs had obviously never clicked with me so I was completely unaware their songs going into the gig. The band mixes growls with lilting female vocals all backed by heavy slow riffs and beautiful middle eastern motifs and musical patterns. They didn't have a keyboard player so all those parts were relayed via tape. Now onto the beautiful girl fronting the band. She really was an Arabian princess to be hold. Not the best English but acceptable and what wonderful dancing. The mix was slightly off at times and I could barely hear her charming vocals but eventually it settled down. Like I said I don't know the songs at all so it's hard for me to judge but they were very good and the crowd loved them.

Finally at 9pm Orphaned Land took to the stage one by one to loud cheers and finally front man Kobi Farhi took to the stage in long Arabic under garment and bare of feet! Interesting indeed, I guess you might as well look the part and of course he himself made the Jesus joke pretty early on in the set. Yes he did look like Jesus but he promised us he wasn't the Messiah to much laughter in the pretty packed out crowd.

My knowledge of Orphaned Land songs and material is limited but that wasn't the case at all with the as expected diverse crowd. It seems they have a lot of devoted fans as a hardcore bunch at the front were singing or growling all the lyrics straight back at Kobi. The sound was much tighter and better for Orphaned Land than it was for Arkan. Great clarity and crunch to the mid paced riffing. The catchy parts in the songs when it gets all dancy and mystical were absolutely brilliant. I don't think Kobi has the best clean vocals I've ever heard by far but his slightly odd melodic voice suits the music down to the ground. He has great Messiah-nic hand gestures and pulls some funny Jesus Christ poses but it's all in good fun.

The band is very tight indeed and they all show great enthusiasm even when playing in a tiny but well attended show such as this. The sing along chant sections of the music were choreographed by Kobi so that everyone could happily join in which they did at the top of their lungs. Sapari off Orwarrior was catchy as hell and the song of the night for me. They played till more or less 10.30 with a acoustic section in the encore with just the guitarist and Kobi doing his light melodic vocals. Quite interesting but finally they finished with a sing along outro with the whole crowd chanting back at the Kobi and the band. The band left with huge cheers ringing in their ears and the Kobi and the band thanked us profusely for coming out.

An enjoyable spectacle and a cheap ticket price too making it a very worthwhile night of Oriental metal. It's a shame that Myrath couldn't play as well but I guess that meant and increased set from OL which the crowd loved from start to finish.

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