The Middle East isn't exactly a hotbed of heavy metal, and it's obviously a very politically-charged area -- and that's what most of the world sees in the news media. So it's often a pleasant surprise when an Israeli metal band like Orphaned Land pops up on our radar. The band's fourth album, 'The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR,' is out February 9 via Century Media.

"I know that everybody is familiar from the news with the Middle East conflict," vocalist Kobi Farhi told Noisecreep. "But you have to be local to understand how bizarre it is that Orphaned Land, who are Israelis, have a huge fan base in Arab countries. We have three fans that I know about from Lebanon, Dubai and Jordan that tattooed the 'OL' logo on their bodies, and I have their photos as well. I didn't even know they are making tattoos in those countries. I know of a fan in Egypt that was thrown to jail just because he had one of our songs on in his home."

Clearly, being a Middle Eastern metal band isn't a simple thing, but Orphaned Land aren't letting anything slow them down. "It's not easy to be a metalhead in the Mid East," Farhi continued. "Just think that Israel is the only Democracy here and there are metalheads in Arab countries redefining the word 'underground scene' in terms you cannot imagine. Not to mention that they are adoring an Israeli band."

Given the region's centuries-long conflict, there's no way that the band's music couldn't be influenced by their surroundings. "A band like Orphaned Land can only emerge from a region such as this, and our music is nothing but a reflection of our Middle East experience. And I think that it'll be a great adventure to every metalhead to listen to our new style of metal. We live in a place where people die in useless wars for centuries now, and our only weapon is our music and surprisingly we succeed to give hope to people in the area despite our being Israelis and Jews."

Farhi revealed that the band's social networking fan pages include people from all walks of life and creeds, including Jews, Muslims and Christians, all of which comment on their new promo photo, which features representatives of each of these three major religious faiths in unity. "99 percent of the comments are positive. There are no fights, no politics. Just fans simply saying, 'wow,' 'amazing,' or 'peace in the Mid East.' To sum it up, it's not easy to be a Middle Eastern metalhead but it's unique in an artistic view. We are working for a better future, because with the facts I just told you it's crystal clear: Orphaned Land succeed more than politicians in making peace in the Middle East!"

'The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR' is a concept album, the main character of which is a warrior of light hero, a non-specific character who could even be the listener of the album himself.

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