No matter where you come from, there is one thing that all cultures have in common: Music. It speaks to the heart, it speaks to our emotions, both for good and for bad. And yes, this is something that is not restricted to any particular genre. Even the most trivial pop bands are able to give something to their fans: Fun and joy. And Heavy Metal is not any different there. Yes sure, most Metal bands play with aggression and anger, but more often than not this is about letting out your frustration, a kind of cleansing effect so to say. However, there is more to music, particularly Orphaned Land’s music and that is the desire to bring people together. Listen to Orphaned Land and you will find that they have a surprisingly laid back attitude and while the band’s music is certainly aggressive to the ears of the uninitiated there is also something else, namely the heart felt desire to bring people together. Togetherness, international understanding through art. Anyway, let us come to the first band of the evening.
Systemhouse 33 opened the evening and showed the audience that music, that Heavy Metal is an international thing. How? By coming straight from Mumbai, India. However one should not make the mistake to think that their country of origin is all they have to offer. Their Thrash infused Groove Metal is simply too good for that. Think ‘Pantera goes Death Metal’ to get an idea. Musicians going nuts, headbanging, that certain fire in the eyes, you name it, you got it! The audience certainly seemed to enjoy them and that is what live music is all about: Having a good time!
However, if you should expect a more “Indian influence” then you will be disappointed. If you listened to Systemhouse 33 without the visuals then there would be no way for you to tell from where they are coming from. However, visually speaking they were still something else. And maybe that is even a good thing as it goes to show that your ethnic background is way less important than the music we all love. Different, yet still the same so to say. Also, let us be honest here, live music is not just about the music, but also about the visuals and Systemhouse 33 were more than able to deliver there as well. Anyway, if Pantera and Death Metal are your thing then go and check them out! You will not regret it.
Subterranean Masquerade was the second band of the evening and just like Orphaned Land they hail from Israel. And while it is certainly difficult to pinpoint the exact sound of an entire region there is no denying that Subterranean Masquerade has a certain oriental feeling to it. They are obviously still Metal, but yet a particular kind of Metal. Israeli Folk Metal? Maybe this would push it a bit too much, but they sure seem to have a ‘folkish touch’. But what about their show? Jumpy! Jumping up and down to the beat of the music! Constantly! One running joke on the internet is bodybuilders skipping leg day… Well, for these guys every live show is obviously leg day. And yes, this energy, this impressive stage presence reached out to the audience and got them jumping along. And yet, the band requires a certain openness, but then, they opened for Orphaned Land so a certain openness from the part of the audience was pretty much a given. So yes, this special connection between the band and the audience was definitely there and this not just during the partying. To explain: When you watch a gig with open eyes then you often see little signs that a band and the fans care for each other. These little signs differ from gig to gig, but for Subterranean Masquerade’s gig that night it was definitely an incident where the guitarist was struggling with a cable and a fan in the front row helped him with solving the issue. It was just a little thing, but these little things require a positive atmosphere which was definitely there! Great show!
Few bands have a reputation like Orphaned Land. Hard music, yet soft hearts. And angry hearts. Maybe this is due to their country of origin that is the culminating point of so many conflicts these days? You can probably not be ‘not political’ in a country like this. And yet they chose to not be falcons, but doves. And maybe that is what so many fans love about Orphaned Land. They really seem to live the cathartic aspect of Heavy Metal, and it seems to do them good, because no matter how harsh their music is, there is still something about the band that has a surprisingly calming effect.
Part of this is obviously due to Kobi Farhi’s (vocalist) charisma which obviously worked overtime this particular night. There was simply something in his eyes, his smile, his entire body language that added a strange, yet soothing effect to his harsh vocals. This effect seemingly also rubbed off on Chen Balbus (guitar) as well, or at least this was the impression you got when you saw him smiling every now and then. It simply felt right and good. Maybe it was just this gig? Who knows? But fact is that Orphaned Land’s entire set simply felt right. Harsh music, harsh vocals, oriental elements, and yet it felt more relaxing than one would expect it from such a harsh band. But then, Orphaned Land is a band that is not only popular in the West, but in the Middle East as a whole. Just Metalfans, just human beings having a good time. So no, it would not be right to say that Orphaned Land exposed their fans to a full frontal assault of Heavy Metal to challenge their emotions, thereby triggering the cathartic effect that Metal fans love and need so much, but still, something special happened. However, unlike with other bands this “something” was much more soothing and relaxing which is exactly what sets them apart from most other Metal bands. If you have not seen Orphaned Land live so far then go and do so! They are certainly an experience that not even Metalfans experience every day. And this is exactly what makes this band so special and straight out valuable!
Youtube (band): https://www.youtube.com/user/OrphanedLandTV/videos Youtube (label): https://www.youtube.com/user/CenturyMedia/search?query=Orphaned+Land