Linda had just started a random game of Who would you like to meet from history? The figure of Abraham, the father of the people of Israel, standing at the visible confluence of all the world's great monotheistic religions - Christianity, Islam, Judaism - is a man whose opinions on certain subjects I thought I'd surely like to hear. How would he feel about these systems of belief, their various sacred texts, with all his links to them, to the billions who have followed them, and the millions slaughtered and maimed in their names over these millennia?
But at least we know who his favourite Progressive Metal band would be! That would be Orphaned Land, an Israeli outfit with a huge and devoted following among Muslims and Arabian people.
The band's name refers of course to the holy land, and their fourth and latest full length masterpiece studio album, five years in the making, The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR (which means Warrior Of Light)...
...is a sophisticated concept album taking ORPHANED LAND’s unique brand of exotic, heavy music to soaring new heights in terms of complexity and catchiness.
ORPHANED LAND spent over 600 hours in the studio cooperating with The Arabic Orchestra of Nazareth, using multilingual vocals (e.g. English, Hebrew, Arabic, Yemenite), countless Oriental as well as other traditional instruments such as: saz, santur, arabian flutes, middle-eastern percussions, cumbus, bouzouki, violins, various kinds of guitars, piano...
Although no one in the band is religious, they cannot equally claim to be apolitical, as their music campaigns consistently for peace between Israel and the Arabian world. Even the calligraphy on the new album combines letters from Hebrew and Arabic, moulding them "to create a symbol of peace".
The insensibly prolific Steven Wilson, Porcupine Tree's captain, plays keyboards on this release. He also mixed the album at his own Hemel Hempstead studio, No Man's Land. The collaboration is no surprise to PT/SW watchers; Steven has a side project Blackfield, with Israeli rock star Aviv Geffen, and at one time also collaborated with Bryn Jones (Muslimgauze).