ORPHANED LAND Vocalist Calls New Record 'A Protest Album About Humanity'

January 6, 2018

Vocalist Kobi Farhi of the Israeli progressive folk metal band ORPHANED LAND was recently interviewed by Loud TV. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):

On the group's forthcoming album, "Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs":

Kobi: "We are back to concept albums. Concept albums give you the opportunity to be diverse, progressive. This is the best way for us to do albums. I think that in this album, we wanted to make a combined album of [2013's] 'All Is One', which was more upfront, and the concept and progressive music of [2004's] 'Mabool' and [2010's] 'ORWarriOR'. We thought that if we make a combination of them, it will be the best ORPHANED LAND album [yet].

"You always need to find a way, how do you find a new concept after you did music for 26 years? I didn't know what to do. The band was already writing music, and they told me, 'Kobi, what's going on?' I was like, 'I don't know — I don't have it.' I need to find an inspiration and to find a story to be stronger than before. I don't want to repeat. I don't want 'All Is One II', or 'Mabool Number Two'. I want to find something new. So, looking at the world and finding the story of '[Allegory Of] The Cave' by Plato was my main inspiration, and it took me a while, but from the moment I found it, it was very fast and very quick and very intense work. Once I have the concept, we know how to fix the music in the album."

On why he was so inspired by Plato's work:

Kobi: "It was written 2,500 years ago, and it's, like, a prophecy about humanity, because we are in this cave and we don't want to leave that cave. We are just there, and anyone that comes to help us get out of the cave, we always kill him. Look at history — look at people like Jesus, Martin Luther King, Che Guevara, Mahatma Gandhi, Rabin from Israel, Sadat from Egypt. They were all assassinated. And they were all revolutionaries and did something that the others didn't do. So, we always kill the revolutionaries. Bob Marley once said in 'Redemption Song', 'How long shall we kill our prophets?' This is what happened, and it was written 2,500 years ago, and we are still in this loop and pattern of killing the people that come to make a revolution. I thought this could be a great idea for an album, because no one ever wrote about all these people together. You can find it in any country. No one [wrote] about these people and saw the loop, like a disease, that's happening. I thought that could be a great concept.

"It's a protest album about humanity. I'm always protesting against governments and religious leaders and people with power, but the real problem is the people. The people don't want to leave the cave. The people of Israel don't want to leave Egypt in the Bible. That's the problem — the people, they prefer to stay. There is a saying, 'Better the devil you know.' They prefer the devil they know, and they don't leave the cave."

On how that cycle can change:

Kobi: "There is a whole world out there of books and stories and things that can make your intelligence grow. Humans will be more aware of bad things if they will concentrate on the things that they have to. I don't want to preach [to] people, 'You need to do this or you need to do that,' but you just need to be awakened and to be aware of what's going on, and then you decide for yourself."

On what else inspires him:

Kobi: "People ask me, 'What is your inspiration?' I say, 'Everything that pissed me off is my inspiration. Kim Kardashian is my inspiration. She pissed me off.' Dealing with her — I mean, not personally — but dealing with her ass for so long, it's pissing me off.'"

On his vocal performance on the new album:

Kobi: "I had to work a lot about my clean vocals on this album, because the band, they wrote the album on a higher scale than they usually write, so I had to sing higher. I told the band, 'Take the songs a little bit down,' and they told me, 'No — you sing higher, and more emotions will come out from your voice.' I felt like it's true — I think it's my best vocal so far."

On how Steve Hackett (GENESIS) came to guest on the album:

Kobi: "It's strange, because he contacted me. He wanted me to sing on his solo album. He did a song for peace and he wanted me to be a part of it, and to bring also an Arab singer to sing it with me, so I did it. Then he asked me, 'Do you want me to pay you for recording this, or do you want me to record [a] solo for your new album?' I was like, 'Hmmm... solo.' What would I do with money? Buy [a] jacket? Buy food? Go to the cinema? I will forget about the money, but the solo is forever. I explained to him about the concept, and he really gave one of the best solos I think he ever wrote."

On inviting Tomas Lindberg (AT THE GATES) and Hansi Kürsch (BLIND GUARDIAN) to contribute guest vocals:

Kobi: "Tomas Lindberg, he's the best growler in the world, to me. I put him on the song that I really needed someone crazy. I needed [him] to play the role of a lunatic in that song, and he's a lunatic, so it was perfect that he sang there. Hansi, he sings in the song 'Like Orpheus'. He is like Orpheus, because Orpheus in Greek mythology, he has a great voice, and they say that even the stones like his voice. Hansi's a modern Orpheus, and he sings about getting out of the cave and seeing the world out of the cave, so he sings like Orpheus when you see the world outside. It's great to see that great musicians support your music. It's always a good feeling. When we did it with Steven Wilson or when we did it now with Steve Hackett or the others, it's amazing."

"Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs" will be released on January 26 via Century Media. The album, which features artwork by Valnoir, was mixed and mastered by Jens Bogren. Its release will be followed by an extensive European tour with IN VAIN, SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE and AEVUM.

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