"Mabool: The Story of the Three Sons of Seven" (Century Media; 2004)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Orphaned Land is a band of some renown that released a couple of well-received albums in the mid-90s. Many fans and critics took a liking to the band's exotic approach to metal. Despite the acclaim received by the band, and a worldwide record deal with Century Media Records, the band went on hiatus due to the on-going conflict in Israel, their homeland.

Now that I am aware of Orphaned Land, the band's reputation precedes them – for whatever reasons the band managed to slip under my radar. So it is a nice surprise to hear Orphaned Land for the first time. Only one listen reveals a band well-versed in merging numerous metal styles and the musical sounds native to Israel and the Middle East in a well-thought out album that is greater than the sum of its parts. 

Orphaned Land plays a slow- to mid-paced style that allows for a broad set of interesting dynamics to play out throughout their music. I wouldn't quite call Orphaned Land progressive metal, but I wouldn't be doing the band a disservice with that description either. In fact, it wouldn't be too outrageous to call Orphaned Land a mix of Opeth and Skyclad although these kinds of descriptions never do the band in question any justice or truly answer the question of their ‘progressive' nature.

As you might guess from the album's title, this is a concept album – the album's back-story tells the biblical tale of the great floods. I won't bother you with the details driving the story as epic concepts albums are, in my opinion, generally best enjoyed without knowing too much before hand. The sweeping story is born of the constant presence of religion that has contributed to the struggle throughout the region; while this may be hard for some to stomach it is a great approach for diversity's sake.

"Mabool" is not for the faint of heart as the disc runs nearly 69-minutes in length – patience and heavy listener involvement is required. Additionally, those who resist instrumentation outside of the typical vox/guitar/bass/keyboard/drum set-up would probably not appreciate Orphaned Land's output. However, open-minded fans of metal who enjoy grand, sweeping stories as well as a musical journey that exceeds expectations will enjoy Orphaned Land's "Mabool."

The commercial release of "Mabool" comes with a bonus disc that contains live acoustic performances.

"Mabool" was produced by Orphaned Land.

Orphaned Land: Kobi Farhi on vocals, Yossi Sassi on guitar, Matti Svatizki on guitar, Uri Zelcha on bass, Eden Rabin on keyboards, and Avid Diamand on drums. Numerous folks (I'm certain) contributed backing vocals and instrumentation native to the band's homeland.

For more information visit http://www.orphaned-land.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 14:16:13 -0400.