HMT Interviews: Orphaned Land

Orphaned Land made a name of themselves with their messages of peace into their folk/Middle-Eastern-infused brand of progressive metal, something that is rarely seen in the genre. They release their brand new album, Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs this year, and we got the opportunity to talk to them to learn more about their inspirations.

Greetings, thank you for giving us this opportunity to talk to you. Before we begin the interview proper, let’s talk about your upcoming new album, Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs, which will be released worldwide on January 26 2018. What can fans expect from this release?

I guess you can expect to get Orphaned Land. Each song sounds different from another but still it has the Orphaned spirit. This album will have more grunts than the last one and probably will be more progressive.

The cover art for the upcoming album looks unique compared to your last release All is One. The middle artwork resembles the Eye of Providence. Are there any significant meanings behind the artwork?

This album is a concept album and probably the most political one we have done. It talks about revolutionary figures that tried to make a change but failed. It talks about the corruption among politics and about the people led by them blindly without resistance. The cover is pretty much using all the symbols that can define the concept.

In 2017, Steve Hackett from Genesis called Kobi because he was looking for artist that promotes peace, and eventually he chose Orphaned Land for the collaboration. How was it like working with Steve?

It was a great honor. If you told me couple of years ago that the guitar player and mastermind of Genesis will play a solo on our album I would have probably said “keep on dreaming.”  First time I heard the solo I said to myself, “Ok, this is such an amazing one but didn’t quite see how it fit in the song”, but after a couple of listens I think it can’t be better. Because it has such a different vibe it makes it so smart and so emotional.
Now, I can’t think of a different option.

Aside from Steven as one of the guest guitarists, there are 3 more notable guest musicians on the record – Tomas Lindberg from At the Gates, Hansi Kursch from Blind Guardian, and Shlomit Levi. How did these collaborations come about?

We’ve always been a big fan of At the Gates. When we were kids, Tomas was our favorite death metal singer, and after writing Only the Dead have Seen the End of War we knew that we had to record his vocals on this one. It’s like this song was written for his type of singing.

Similarly in Orpheus , in my opinion Hansi has one of the most amazing voices in the metal scene today. After writing Orpheus he was the perfect match for delivering the message of this song. Having those amazing guests with us, working with Shlomit again was a very exciting moment for us. Shlomit is our main female vocalist for many years, and now having her again makes this album whole.

The band has recorded two albums with Fascination Street Studio, which is renowned for recording bands such as Opeth, Dimmu Borgir, and Paradise Lost. How was it like working with Jens Bogren?

After recording All is One it was obvious that working with Jens is the best option that we have. The guy cares about every note and every part on the album. It’s an experience that we didn’t have in the past while working on previous albums. This guy simply knows the job and how all instruments sound no less than perfect.

Orphaned Land has been a band for almost 25 years now. Looking back, what is the band proudest moment over the span of 25 years?

Wow, it’s so hard to find that specific moment after you’ve gone through so much. Our opening show for Metallica , the first time you see your new album on physical format, touring with such amazing bands as Amorphis who now are completely our brothers or joining our brothers from Blind Guardian. It’s such an honor knowing that Marcus is a fan. Now we are 100% family. There are so many of them so it will be a sin pointing only at one.

Looking the global political climate in today’s context, with conflicts around the worlds, how has it affected you as a musician, especially being in a band that spreads the message of peace and harmony?

We’re not blinded by the fact that it’s a risky area and that some people are not really into that message but it was the main subject since the beginning so we’re trying not the take a side and just bring the situation to the table. I guess heavy metal is one of the only genres that really touches a political message in the music so this is our story.

The band will be embarking on a Europe tour from February 2018 onwards. Will the band be touring the Asia region anytime soon?

After releasing the album our goal is to visit every part of the world. It will be truly amazing touring Asia!! I really hope that someone will take that project and will bring us there.

Are there any parting words for your fans in Singapore?

I will just say thank you so much for the support and I really hope we will have the chance to play for you and see your amazing country. Peace and stay metal.

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