Century Media (2012)
For the last two days, temperatures here in northern Germany have doubled, and with high temperatures comes the time for southern metal, here: "Oriental Metal". Kobi Farhi of Orphaned Land presents this compilation of 11 songs of middle-eastern style metal which serves as a welcome overview of the middle-east's scene.
Since in politics it is often proclaimed that Israel is the only "western-style democracy" in the Middle East, I am quite surprised how well the songs fit one another. Without reading the artist descriptions, I honestly couldn't tell which band was from which country. Culturally, Israel seems to be middle eastern as well.
The first couple of songs presents the oriental scene finally mastering audio production, these songs sound quite professional (the occasional cheap digital cut&paste notwithstanding), but also kind of cliché. I have to think of the music in my local Kebab joint plus guitars and drums, heavy on the pathos, nice melodies though nothing I can relate to on a deeper level, both musically and lyrically. All in all too mellow, probably a nice diversion for the power metal fan. Israel's "Amaseffer" in "Slaves for Life" retell the story of Exodus, which probably stirs up emotion in Israel or Christians, but why is the event of "we got exploited and then got the fuck out of there" so special?
"The Taste of Betrayal" by Nervecell changes the course from the old testament and 1001 Nights to something darker. Heavily drawing on Nile's works, this slow instrumental is one of their less interesting pieces. Having seen them live, I can only recommend their music. They have a good sense of fusing death metal with melodic soloing while not becoming too pathetic in the process. The oriental drums, not appearing for the first time on this record, serve to build a war like atmosphere, very much to my liking. The next track, a fast metal/oriental folk fusion fails to fuse the two styles, it sounds more as if two separate bands were playing side by side.
Nile's "Kaffir" is well known and loved, so let us venture to the next song: "Grand Gathas of Baal Sin" by Melechesh. It thrashes, raspy vocals, sawing guitars and oriental melody then sawing guitars and pounding drums. Blackend death thrash oriental: This is how it should be done.
After one superfluous last melodic piece, the compilation is done and I feel annoyed by the pathos of the whole thing. I like Nile, Melechesh and Nervecell, but the rest is way too pathetic. Maybe it is a cultural thing, maybe Karl Sanders had oriental metal and ambient music figured out more than artists from the orient themselves or maybe he just filters the stuff worth listening to western ears. I miss the darkness and death here.
Rating: 2 / 6
Composed by Lennard Bertram