Orphaned Land; An Eclectic Resurrection

My heart is bound with love to the Holy Land,

But my feet are sinking in the depths of exile

When will he give me leave to go up and make my home

Within the extolled gates of Jerusalem?


 Kobi Farhi – Uri Zelcha – Yossi Sa’aron Sassi – Matan Shmuely -Chen Balbus


 Orphaned Land is an Israeli progressive metal band, formed in 1991 under the name Resurrection (changing their name in 1992 to the current name), that combines Jewish and Arabian influences.

Nora El Norra, the lord of courage.

Return to me my lord, mend my rounds,

My soul is yearning. and in valor we wait.

Nora I sing to thee, a hymn of praise,

To you I give my life and faith

Thgrough all time, mighty Nora,

Deliver us the progeny of Abraham,

Offpring of greatness,

You are the living God,

Giver or Torah.     

The band has gone through several lineup changes over the years, but has retained three of the founding members, Kobi Farhi (vocals), Uri Zelcha (bass), and Yossi Sassi (guitars/strings). They are joined by Matan Shmuely (drums) as well as Chen Balbus (guitar/keyboard), who replaced founding member, Matti Svatizky in 2012.

 The band’s first album was Sahara (1994) which was originally released as a demo.


 The second album, El Norra Alila (1996), had many Eastern/Oriental influences, such as “El Norra Alila” (“Illustrious God”), based on a poem sung during Yom Kippur as a plea of forgiveness. It also included songs with traditional oriental Jewish piyyut and Arabic melodies.

Find Yourself, Discover God

 Yom Kippur also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jewish people traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. Yom Kippur completes the annual period known in Judaism as the High Holy Days or Yamim Nora’im (“Days of Awe”).


Piyyutis a Jewish liturgical poem, usually designated to be sung, chanted, or recited during religious services. Piyyutim have been written since Temple times. Most piyyutim are in Hebrew or Aramaic, and most follow some poetic scheme, such as an acrostic following the order of the Hebrew alphabet or spelling out the name of the author.

The album explored the themes of light and darkness, as well as conveying the message of commonality between the three main Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Islam, and Christianity).


The third album, Mabool: The Story of the Three Sons of Seven (the Hebrew name for the Deluge, depicted in the Bible and Noah’s story), released in 2004, was seven years in the making. It tells the story of three sons (one for each Abrahamic religion) who try to warn humanity of a flood coming as punishment for their sins.

Musically, the album contains oriental instruments, two choruses, traditional Yemenite chants sung by Shlomit Levi, and quotes of biblical verses from the story of the deluge, read by vocalist Kobi Farhi.



Michelangelo Creation Story The Deluge

I beseech you, King of Kings

Why, why do you torture me?

In you my faith lies eternally

Have mercy upon your forsaken


On January, 2010, Orphaned Land released the follow-up to Mabool, entitled The Never Ending Way of ORWarriOR.


ORWarriOR means “Warrior of Light”, and the concept is the battle between light and darkness. The album has a different sound than Mabool, and was mixed by Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree





 ORPHANED LAND will release its sixth full-length album, “All Is One”, in North America on June 25 (one day earlier internationally) via Century Media Records. The cover artwork for the follow-up to 2010’s “The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR” was created by the French artist Metastazis (PARADISE LOST, AS I LAY DYING, SONNE ADAM, WATAIN) by perfectly incorporating the three biggest religious symbols into one piece of art.


 Kobi Farhi: “I’ll say it plain and simple — ‘All Is One’ is ORPHANED LAND’s best album so far. I feel that we took all aspects to a new level — the way we write, arrange, play and produce.


“We recorded the album in three countries (Turkey, Sweden and Israel) and it turned out so strong, we can’t stop listening to it.


“The album is very rich in sound, with more than 40 people participating (choirs, violins, and many traditional instruments, too).


 In the book, Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus wrote:

 “ The ark rested on the top of a certain mountain in Armenia … However, the Armenians call this place, αποβατηριον‘The Place of Descent’; for the ark being saved in that place, its remains are shown there by the inhabitants to this day. Now all the writers of barbarian histories make mention of this flood, and of this ark; among whom is Berossus. For when he is describing the circumstances of the flood, he goes on thus: “It is said there is still some part of this ship in Armenia, at the mountain of the Cordyaeans; and that some people carry off pieces of the bitumen, which they take away, and use chiefly as amulets for the averting of mischiefs.” Hieronymus the Egyptian also, who wrote the Phoenician Antiquities, and Mnaseas, and a great many more, make mention of the same. Nay, Nicolaus of Damascus, in his ninety-sixth book, hath a particular relation about them; where he speaks thus: “There is a great mountain in Armenia, over Minyas, called Baris, upon which it is reported that many who fled at the time of the Deluge were saved; and that one who was carried in an ark came on shore upon the top of it; and that the remains of the timber were a great while preserved. This might be the man about whom Moses the legislator of the Jews wrote.” (I.3.5-6, trans. William Whiston)    


 Metastazis art (Studio Design)



I like Metastazis because its images are striking, its attitude is aggressive (its manifesto: “Metastazis does not obey its clients”), and its methods are flexible. Photoshop, photography, and hand techniques all come into play. Themes range from fascist imagery to old woodblock art (see the Peste Noire cover I referenced here). The word that comes to mind is “scabrous”. (Curiously, Metastazis collaborated with the decidedly un-aggressive Fursy Tessier on some decidedly un-aggressive covers: the latest Alcest and Les Discrets albums, and Morbid Angel’s “Nevermore” single.) Metastazis is not afraid to “go there” (it did the Watain poster silk-screened in human blood). I imagine that working with Metastazis wouldn’t involve much “with”; it would probably involve just accepting whatever image came of it.  Cosmo Lee



Jerusalem and the Dome of the Rock





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