Orphaned Land had quite the challenge following 2004’s “Mabool” which redefined their sound and announced themselves as progressive metal’s biggest rising star as they took aspects that the western contemporaries could not fill by continuing to experiment with their native traditional folk music, a central progressive metal core, and well-executed influences of doom metal as well as death metal—this was all held together by a literary concept. With “The Never Ending Way of Orwarrior” we have a continuation of that high concept progressive metal with middle eastern folk at the core of the material but also deviating further from their death metal and doom metal roots. Produced by Steven Wilson, here is one of my favorite progressive metal records of all time—I like it way more than “Mabool”. Orphaned Land as a band know where to put complex rhythms and more minimalistic ones, they know how to tell a high concept idea to form, and you can blatantly tell the passion poured into this record. There’s a heartfelt spirituality here, which is no surprise given the nature of their stance as their lyrics reference religious scripture but not in a hamfisted or overzealous fashion as they breathe with such care into their art present here. This record is not only marvelous, but especially unique in a sea of “standards”.
Favorite Track – “From Broken Vessels”(First added to this chart: 01/07/2018)
The true successor of Carissa’s Wierd has been Jennifer Hays since the slowcore project disbanded in 2003. Whilst the group split into other directions such as folk, indie pop, and so forth under the pseudonym of S is where the slowcore spirit of Carissa’s Wierd lives on. After pouring her heart into two previous albums it finally comes to a well-produced peak in 2010’s “I’m Not as Good at It as You”. Everything I absolutely loved in Carissa’s Wierd is present and in full form here as Jennifer Hays is on point lyrically as well as pretty much expertly painting the mood as her soul bleeds into every word and reflection. This is about as perfect as slowcore made after the initial scene in the 90s can get and I truly feel that.
Favorite Track – “Not A Problem”(First added to this chart: 01/18/2018)
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