I have my iPod on random shuffle while I’m doing research in the library, and yesterday a song by the awesome Israeli prog/death metal band Orphaned Land happened to come on. It was this one, “Norra El Norra,” from the band’s seminal 2004 album Mabool. Orphaned Land is a wonderfully innovative band that has really pushed the limits of experimental metal over the past decade. Incorporating traditional Middle Eastern instruments and melodies into a death metal context, the band has definitely put Israel on the map of world metal. Mabool is ranked as one of the greatest metal albums of the 2000s, and from this song you can see why.

My own recent interest in Judaism has made me revisit Orphaned Land, who I’ve seen at Wacken Open Air at least twice. Both Hebrew and Arabic are wonderful languages for heavy metal lyrics, and Mabool includes songs in both. The album is a concept album revolving around the common Near Eastern origins of the three Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The album stresses the commonality of the faiths, most notably the story of Noah and the flood which is found in the Tanakh (the Jewish holy book) and the Old Testament of the Bible, and also referenced in the Q’uran. If metal is a uniting influence across disparate cultures, Orphaned Land and Mabool is a prime example of how that works.

I note that parts of this video were shot at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Shabbat Shalom, happy Friday and have a great weekend!