Orphaned Land

Beta, Copenhagen - 2013

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

With a new album out quite a bit faster than the previous couple of releases from Israel’s pride and joy, Orphaned Land was once again ready to tour our part of the globe, and although I was surprised they once again stopped by Denmark on their way, especially considering no one in Sweden had bothered to book them even though this was where All Is One was made, I sure as hell wasn’t going to complain about it – this was one show I had been looking forward to since before it was announced!

With them, Orphaned Land had brought three other acts as support, The Mars Chronicles and Klone both from France and Bilocate from Jordan, and under a steady increase of people in the audience they had all done a good job of warming the evening up for the main act.
Now, admittedly Beta is one of the smallest venues of Copenhagen as far as I know it (honestly, quality alone dictates that these guys should be able to sell out arenas! Wake up people!), but when Orphaned Land hit the stage the pressure in the front was pretty wild and the heat was intense. No need to wear woollen undies tonight just because you came from a warmer climate!
Since the last time Orphaned Land visited these shores, things had changed a bit in the band, hence this was the first time I was going to see them with Chen Balbus who in 2012 replaced Matti Svatizky on guitars, but for this night (and a few others I would expect) still active guitarist Yossi Sassi was also replaced by Idam Amsalem, as he himself was taking a short paternity leave from the tour to be with his newborn daughter and the rest of his family at this joyous occasion. As both Balbus and Amsalem have some history with the band, the playing wasn’t affected by this and we could all relax in the band’s decision.

The show itself kicked off with the new song Through Fire And Water, but although this was intended to be a smooth and well-picked way to ease us into the gig, a disastrous sound-mix ruined the moment completely. The pre-recorded parts, female vocals and orchestration, were almost inaudible, and the rest was just a mess, leaving Through Fire And Water to be the low-point of the evening, and leaving me confused as to why the main act was the weakest one yet...
All Is One was up next, and I was very pleased to hear that the technique was now in order again and it was really here that the show began to gain momentum and become what it was supposed to have been straight from the start – a middle-Eastern blast of awesomeness! In this song, we also got to see that the video displayed background was used for more than just an alternative backdrop with the band logo as the music video for the song played throughout, and we also got to share in on the fun as Kobi Farhi had us all clapping our hands in time with the chorus.
After this the show ran smoothly for the most part, and the band had composed a very nice setlist of songs which I found lacking in some aspects. It was great for fans of Orphaned Land as they are today, but only a single song from the collection of the first EP and the first two CD’s had made the cut; Ornaments Of Gold was played as the final encore, which was nice of course, but why weren’t there any more songs from this era? Personally, I would have loved to hear El Meod Na’Ala (which they had played at other shows on the tour) or The Sahara’s Storm or any number of other songs from the days of yore, and I believe playing older material had also justified the inclusion of Bilocate better as a support band as they were the only ones who still did that sort of thing. Also, where on God’s green Earth was The beloved’s Cry?!

Well, apart from the messy sound in the beginning, there was only one technical hiccup in the show – between The Kiss Of Babylon (The Sins) and A Simple Man there was a serious guitar problem that had to be fixed before continuing onwards. This created a rather long break between songs, and that break had to be filled by something, and this something was the comedic routine of Farhi... The man has one of the best voices on the planet and he has a lot of worthwhile things on his mind, but honestly, as an impro stand-up comedian his talents fall short; we got the now classic wittiness of him not being Jesus and a few others, but it didn’t look like he even convinced himself of the quality of his material.
Farhi also spoke on other occasions in the set but left the comedy out of it, for one thing he ventured shortly on the crisis in Syria, and also commented more broadly on the tense relations between middle-Eastern countries and religions and how people across from different sides of these could still come together in the love for music, and to me these more serious talks were far more interesting than what I wrote about above.

The crowd had taken its time warming up with the other three bands, and even though the atmosphere had always been good, there hadn’t been too much action to be seen. This changed with the entrance of the main name of the evening, there was left no doubt about which band people had show up to see.
The pressure, as I mentioned above, was quite a lot higher at this time, and after we had been given the ok signal from the band, rhythmic applause and sing-along sweetness filled the small hall from wall to wall.
Especially Sapari and encore song Norra El Norra (Entering The Ark) got a lot of love, but also In Thy Never Ending Way had a very effective sing-along part, and we were all entertained by Matan Shmuely’s belly dancing effort in the beginning of Ocean Land (The Revelation). Personally, I was also very pleased to hear Olat Ha’Tamid which has always come off as a great party tune in my ears.

The initial technical issues and the limitations on the setlist were some of the reasons that this will not stand as a mile-stone amongst Orphaned Land concerts for me, but don’t mistake this with thinking that I wasn’t entertained – there is a clear reason why this band has succeeded as well as they have and they showed that tonight by pulling of a highly engaging and entertaining concert. From Metalmoments, there is still only love for the apostles of peace.


Through Fire And Water
All Is One
The Kiss Of Babylon (The Sins)
The Simple Man
Birth Of The Three (The Unification)
Olat Ha’Tamid
Let The Truce Be Known
Ocean Land (The Revelation)
Ya Benaye
In Thy Never Ending Way
Norra El Norra (Entering The Ark)
Ornaments Of Gold

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