Tumbler doesn’t want to recognize my return key today. Orphaned Land is a band whose name I’m familiar with more than their music. I see them pop up from time to time in reviews and interviews and I’ve seen their somewhat religious themed imagery around the internet. They seem to be rather popular in the extreme metal world. My buddy shared with me their first album recently so now I can actually put some music to the name.

I’ve not heard any of the bands other albums so I’m not sure how this places in the progression of the bands sound, but this first one is mostly death/doom style album with a ton of Middle Eastern folk flair thrown in, as the band hails from Israel. Bands from all over the world like to throw their native folk music into the mix but Middle Eastern styles seem to be a rare breed amongst the heavy metal crowd, especially in 1994. Melechesh is of course originally from Israel and while their more black metal they do include some of those sounds, but not to the extent that Orphaned Land does on Sahara. While the focus of the album is on the heavier, doom stylings they do reach some amazing heights of beauty, none more so than the incredible song “The Beloved’s Cry.” It’s a very soft, peaceful song that works well among heavy pounding.

Overall, it’s neither the doom-iest or heaviest album out there but the band does a good job off balancing all the different aspects and crafting one hell of a unique album.