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metal talk
21st February 2017

artur gelumbauskas
Words and Pictures: Artur Gelumbauskas

70000 tons of metal
Chen Balbus and Idan Amsalem

Israeli Metallers Orphaned Land are famous in the Metal world for both their unusual, eastern influenced style and their stance against the hatred and problems in the troubled region of the world they come from. MetalTalk caught up with guitarist Chen Balbus at the 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise. How are you enjoying 70000 Tons Of Metal?

Chen Balbus: "Can't complain! One of my favorite festivals ever. It's really good atmosphere and experience. Third one, can't get enough of it, really can't." Do you think you'll be back next year?

Chen Balbus: "I hope so but I don't think they bring the same band year after year. Maybe in two years." So I heard you guys consider 'All Is One' the darkest but the best album of the band's career. Why?

Chen Balbus: "Orphaned Land has been doing lots of experiments in the previous albums and we were never really focused. In this album, we knew what to do, all we wanted to do, all about the theme 'All Is One'. It wasn't a hidden story, it's an out loud message about unity. However, a unity that we failed and keep failing to see because we're basically humans. And it sucks. Do you think 'All Is One' has set a new bar? Are the upcoming releases to be as progressive/symphonic using full orchestra and choir and having this level of complexity?

Chen Balbus: "Besides the fact we're growing as musicians, I think no album from Orphaned Land sounds the same as the previous release. 'All Is One' we introduced new instruments and the successor, which is nearly done... Awesome news!

Chen Balbus: "'s not like any other album either, it has the Orphaned Land touch but we're also trying something we didn't try before." Are the vocals staying clean or going back to the growls?

Chen Balbus: "Coming back to the growls. With 'All Is One', it was not like we didn't want to do it. It was more like 'it doesn't fit!'

70000 tons of metal
Kobi Farhi I know you play mostly in Israel and in Europe but do you have North and South America in mind?

Chen Balbus: "We do. That's a dream but also really hard to tour in US because we're not well known there and it's hard for promoters to bring us – shit tons of money. We lost the opportunity to tour now with the cruise but we're aiming something in September for North America and maybe South America as well.

"In North America we're playing at the ProgPower Festival and we'll try to fit something. For South America, the countries don't have many resources and unfortunately it becomes a mission for promoters to take us there." About the song called 'Brother' - by the way, I love the video clip because it shows the recording process - anyway, is there a real meaning to it or is it just a portrait for the sad reality in the countries that go through war because of religion or any other reason?

Chen Balbus: "We never like to say the true facts because they can be applied in a wrong way. However, we're storytellers and try to say something through metaphors. 'Brother' is the story of Isaac and Ishmael, both sons of Abraham. The Arabs believe Abraham took Ishmael to the mountain and the Jews believe that he took Isaac. And we just wanted to say... who cares? Someone lost a brother, right?

Chen Balbus: "Yeah, it doesn't matter which brother was taken. Now we're fighting because of that. Same stories, different versions. We're just trying to tell people 'leave this behind, everything happened four thousand years ago...'" Can we expect any other video clips like that in the future? The band playing, recording, the musicians' work...

Chen Balbus: "Those are my personal favorites too. Yeah, we can."

70000 tons of metal
Kobi Farhi For many people, Orphaned Land is synonymous of hope and peace. Do you have any comment about what's going on with all separatism in the world lately?

Chen Balbus: "I have no idea... I tried to follow some of the US election and maybe there were not enough good people to rule? I think the power is within the people and if they never decide to do something instead of complaining at home, nothing will happen. It's our only hope for a positive future." Last question: can you leave a message for your fans and for the people that will come to know Orphaned Land in the future?

Chen Balbus: "I'll just keep it simple. We're all people and all different. Let's not fight for this and respect one another." Thank you Chen. And I gotta say I love your energy during the show. Always smiling and getting together with the other members...

Chen Balbus: "That's what live shows are for. I can't be all grumpy and Metal [Laughs]. You don't go on stage to suffer, you go to have fun, my mom always said..." was like a box of chocolates? [Laughs]

Chen Balbus: "If you smile, people smile back. It's like mirrors, they are reflections. It's cool because sometimes people don't mean to smile, but they do. Mom is such a smart person." I bet she is! Thank you again Chen.


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