Orphaned Land pull out all the stops to impress at PPUK06
"The Rage of God, The rage of the Looord!"
So howls Kobi Farhi, vocalist of Israeli oriental metal band Orphaned Land in what was one of the undeniable highlights of the ProgPower festival. Mixing unique middle-eastern sounds with both melodic and harsh metal styles and vocals, the band certainly provided the crowd with entertainment. Orphaned Land have certainly proved you don't need to be moralising Christian rock to make the bible fun!
Opening with a storming 'Ocean Land' the band clearly set out what they intended to provide us with; top notch metal with an impressively energetic performance. Whilst the band provided some of their earlier doom-metal material from records such as 'Sahara' and 'El Norra Alila', it was the songs from 2004's biblical flood album 'Mabool' that impress, including a storming 'The Kiss Of Babylon (The Sins)' and a sing along rendition of 'Birth Of The Three'
One thing the band certainly possesses is stage presence, not the charisma of power metal like that shown by Firewind earlier day, but instead more a magnetism concentrated in the actions of the poncho-wearing singer/growler Kobi Farhi. Whether strutting around the stage with his mic stand or leaning forward to growl right into the audience, all eyes were on him, and his effect was definitely seen in the audience. Headbanging, singing, the horns, all were on show from the enthusiastic crowd the band had managed to draw, and whilst with several of the bands of the day I noticed people leave sets midway through, with Orphaned Land I noticed little of the sort.
The sound quality was exactly that; quality. The guitars were suitable audible and crunchy, the drums weren't overpowering and Kobi's vocals were always discernable over the top. The only real complaint, albeit an unfair one, to do with the sound was the bands reliance on a laptop to recreate the more esoteric instrumental parts of 'Mabool', obviously whilst it would have been nice to have these middle eastern instruments played live, it is an unrealistic expectation and the band can't be slammed really on either their sound or playing.
Overall Orphaned Land were one of the undeniable highlights of the day for myself and anyone I spoke to. With great songs, great sound and a great performance this was, of course, a great set. It can't be too soon that Orphaned Land return to these shores with their power/death/prog metal mix that works so well.