It is an honor to interview the “Pioneers of Oriental Metal.” Here’s the interview between us and band about their background, beliefs and works of a new album.
MP: Please introduce yourself:
OL: We’re Orphaned Land from Israel. The pioneers of Oriental Metal and we’re Happy to be here with you guys at Metal Purgatory!
MP: How did Orphaned Land come to be?
OL: Orphaned Land was formed back in 1991 (first as ‘Resurrection’) by Kobi Farhi (Vocals) & Uri Zelha (Bass) as one of the only metal bands around in Israel since there was not much of a metal scene here back at the time. The line-up changed a few times since then but the two co-founding member are still there since the beginning.
MP: How did the band’s name happen?
OL: Our bass player Uri Zelha one day read through lyrics of an Israeli artist we really admire named Yehuda Poliker and found in Hebrew the two words “Orphaned Land” – That fitted the band and its content more than anything else. A nice closure to that story that year after that this artist wrote a song for us on the last record ‘All Is One’ called “Shamai’m” (Sky in Hebrew).
MP: Can you describe the music style of your band?
OL: Orphaned Land has a very unique style we developed through the years called Oriental Metal. Since we thought there are many kind of metal for example Finnish Metal, Swedish Metal and so on. We took what relates to us from the Orient and therefore Oriental Metal came to be. Modern Metal music combined with Middle-Eastern elements, beats and traditional instruments.
MP: Many people probably wonder but are the members of the band religious?
OL: Some of us are more traditional and religious and some of us are not.
MP: What’s a day in your life like?
OL: To each of us it’s different. We all have something else besides the band cause it’s not really easy to make a living while being a musician but everything is around the band eventually.
MP: Your music speaks of unity and peace, is it a hard message to put out in a genre that many think is evil and hateful?
OL: Sometimes it can be hard but yet we believe that the metal genre is the most sincere genre of all that speaks the full truth of things. So we choose to use that stage to promote good instead of bad, to show the good of things.
MP: Do you believe music can spread peace no matter the genre?
OL: Music in general is a very connecting and uniting tool. It can bring both enemies together if they have an artist they like in common. You just need to leap out and use that stage.
MP: Being from Israel, was it hard forming Orphaned Land?
OL: specifically back in the 90’s when there was no metal scene and not many resources to create metal music it was not easy. But nowadays everyone can have a metal band here easy.
MP: How did the members of the band come together?
OL: Kobi (Vocals) and Uri (Bass) were neighbors in the 90’s and it was quite easy to spot a metalhead when you see a guy walks with a Metal t-shirt. Some members changed through time and Matan Shmuely (drums) joined the band later on 2007, Chen Balbus (Guitars) that replaces the previous guitar players joined in 2011 that used to be a young fan of the band and now Idan Amsalem (Guitars) that replaced the previous guitar player.
MP: What caused the band to fall into silence from 1997 till 2002?
OL: Some members fell into drugs periods, flew around the world to find their lives and where they fit and some started having a career and a family until Kobi received an email from a fan from Egypt showing a picture of himself with an Orphaned Land tattoo – that woke up the band to see that Orphaned Land than more than just another band.
MP: What was the message behind Mabool?
OL: Mabool is a concept album about the story of the ark of Noah and the Deluge. We used that story to show different subjects about the three monotheistic religions and show that they are all as one.
MP: Tell us about the well known song “Norra El Norra”
OL: ‘Norra El Norra’ is an ancient Jewish poem and the melody is originally from Egypt. We always love to make that synergy between two different things and make them as one.
14. Can you explain a bit about the theme behind All Is One?
OL: We are always trying to promote unity and brotherhood within our song but ‘All Is One’ is the first album that states clear and out loud – stop fighting, we are all the same. Who cares if you’re a Muslim or a Jew or Christian or whatever? We are human being and we should get along.
MP: What track from the album is your personal favorite and why?
OL (Chen): I would say my personal favorites would be Brother since I always loved Rock ballads and this song just gets through me with the lyrics and melody. But each song is special in its way on this album – they’re like our children.
MP: How would you describe a live Orphaned Land set?
OL: A huge party when you can both dance on tables and cry at the same time. Orphaned Land succeeds to bring people together no matter what’s their religion and color or whatever.
MP: Any plans for a new album?
OL: Yes! We are already writing it. Hoping to finish it by the end of 2015.
MP: Any tour plans for North America possibly?
OL: Working on dates for the end of 2014 and if that won’t work out – we will come to tour in 2015.
MP: Do you have any advice for upcoming musicians worldwide?
OL: not much to say – just believe in what you do and do it with all your heart. When you do something you love and enjoy – the rest will come with hard work.
MP: Any last words you would like to tell the world?
OL: Be good and respect anyone no matter if they are even slightly different. Remember we are all human beings in the end.