Orphaned Land Unite All As One In London In An International Metal Spectacular
In the modern world, metal music truly has become international. It's reached all four corners of the globe, touching music lovers for all manner of different reasons. Recently, a tour rolled into London which summed up the far reaching power of metal, featuring bands from Europe, Asia and South America and offering a wide variety of sounds and sights. I was lucky enough to be able to attend the show and witness the unifying power of a genre that has been dismissed far too many times as a negative influence.
Having unfortunately missed out on the opening act, Chilean progressive metal veterans Crisálida, I was able to catch Russian symphonic metal act, Imperial Age. Though I'd never heard of the group before, they were very striking in a number of ways. Firstly, the vocals, provided mostly by Anna "Kiara" Moiseeva but aided expertly by keyboardists Alexander "Aor" Osipov and Jane "Corn" Odintsova, are absolutely breath taking, showing off their classically trained voices in an awe inspiring way. The music which accompanies the singing is just as epic and grand in sound, while even the band's attire was memorable, with Osipov dressed in what could best be described as a general's uniform. For those who like symphonic metal, Imperial Age are a band one simply must check out. They could well be the next stars of the genre.
Next to to take to the stage was one of the most challenging yet unique bands I, and perhaps any member of the crowd had ever seen, Voodoo Kungfu. Originally formed in the Chinese capital city of Beijing, the group which now only features vocalist Li Nan from the band which the Chinese lineup and now operate out of Los Angeles, California, have a sound all of their own, blending extreme metal with folk music and noise. Li Nan is perhaps the most intimidating frontman metal has ever seen, sporting a huge torso covered in tattoos, which also adorn his neck and head while glaring at the audience with furious concentration.
The music itself was both intelligent and incredibly heavy, performed expertly by the band who know full well how to compliment each other and how to make it as punishing and aggressive as possible. Finishing off their set with a cover of the Slayer classic, "Raining Blood," during which Li Nan doused himself with "blood" to make himself look even more menacing. Metal has been crying out for a band like Voodoo Kungfu. They're abrasive, they're showmen, they're jarring and most importantly, they're one of a kind. Whatever the future holds for them, they will surely become the stuff of metal legend, however underground, in the future.
Finally, it was the turn of Israel's Orphaned Land to take to the stage. Opening with the unmistakable notes of "All Is One," the poignant title track from their latest album, the group immediately set the crowd alight, which followed well into the succeeding song, "The Simple Man," which like so many Orphaned Land songs, features great passages for the crowd to sing along to. Vocalist Kobi Farhi is another wonderful frontman, dressed in a black robe and freely moving in a way that harkens back to the days of the hippies and Woodstock and creating an instant rapport with the audience, coming across as a leader of his band and a man with a strong belief in his message but also very friendly.
The setlist featured a good number of songs from the previously mentioned "All Is One" album, including the ballad "Brother" and another song which clearly means a lot to them, "Children," while other more recent favourites from their "The Never Ending Way of ORWarriOR" record such as "Sapari" and "Barakah." Since Orphaned Land are also celebrating the twentieth anniversary of their sophomore release, "El Norra Alila," it was only fitting that they perform songs from that album too, including "El Meod Na'Ala" and the title track, which both went down a storm with the crowd.
It was a marvellous, career spanning set which which summed up what makes their music so great, while what epitomised why the band itself are so fantastic was looking around and seeing men and women of all different races and religions together enjoying a metal show, such is the power of Orphaned Land and their message of peace. So ended a brilliant performance in what was an unforgettable night, filled with amazing bands and a fantastic atmosphere.
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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