We’ve now hit the Top 3 in my ‘Album of the Year 2013’ countdown. Today, I give you no preamble and will just get down to business…

At Number 3:

orphaned land all is oneORPHANED LAND
‘All Is One’
Century Media Records

There is something special about this band, something unique. This Jewish Israeli band has managed to do what politics, negotiation, diplomacy and war have yet to accomplish – the unification of the Middle East. Ok, so I might have dressed things up with a little hyperbole, but the fact remains that small sections of Jews, Muslims and Christians will come together, ignore religion and enjoy an Orphaned Land album or live show.


Based on the music of “All Is One”, it’s not difficult to see why. Bombastic yet melodic and relatively immediate progressive metal assaults your ears from the very beginning and sets the framework for an ambitious album. Ethnic instrumentation appears in abundance to create a wonderfully integrated authenticity, whilst vocalist Kobi Farhi has abandoned his death metal growling almost entirely to allow his words to be heard more clearly.


The growls may have been put to one side but in just about every other aspect, the music is pure Orphaned Land and cannot be mistaken for anyone else. Memorable music has always been an integral ingredient of the Orphaned Land sound but on ‘All Is One’, big choruses have been made even more grandiose and the melodies even more memorable. The net result is, arguably, that this record is one of their most accessible to date. This feat is even more impressive given the raw, bleak and emotional lyrical content that runs through the album from bombastic start to heart-breaking finish. I guarantee that the subject matter, when presented in this manner, will move even the most hardened of metallers.

Topped off with a lavish production that provides the music with a rich and vibrant feel, ‘All Is One’ really is a very special album indeed, both musically and thematically. Once heard, never forgotten.


The 2013 ‘Album of the Year’ countdown so far:

Day 1 – Number 20
Day 2 – Number 19
Day 3 – Number 18
Day 4 – Number 17
Day 5 – Number 16
Day 6 – Number 15
Day 7 – Number 14
Day 8 – Number 13
Day 9 – Number 12
Day 10 – Number 11
Day 11 – Number 10
Day 12 – Number 9
Day 13 – Number 8
Day 14 – Number 7
Day 15 – Number 6
Day 16 – Number 5
Day 17 – Number 4

And, if you missed my Top 20 of 2012, that countdown can be accessed here.


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