Orphaned Land: "Only the good die young. That's the meaning of this album"
As frontman for Israeli proggers Orphaned Land, Kobi Farhi passionately wants people to question the world around them. He talks about life, Plato and turning down money from Steve Hackett
Even in the multifaceted realms of prog rock and metal, Orphaned Land stand apart. Formed in Israel in 1991, the band draw upon influences from East and West for their politically and religiously charged songs that aim to bring a vision of unity to a corner of the world where that’s in very short supply. Never ones to do the expected or conventional, they held the first press date for their new album Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs in a Berlin mosque.
“That mosque is exceptional because it’s run by a woman,” says frontman Kobi Farhi, chatting to Prog while in London. “She has a lot of death threats and she doesn’t move anywhere without bodyguards, but I thought that this is something I want to support. She represents something that the new album also talks about because it talks about Dead Messiahs & Unsung Prophets – revolutionaries who ended up dead – and I thought she was a living example of these people.”
The idea behind the new release comes from Plato’s Allegory Of The Cave, written over two millennia ago, but which Farhi believes is just as relevant now. “How many revolutions have occurred?” he asks. “How many wars? And we’re still facing the same problems. This is why we chose the concept of …The Cave, because people don’t want to leave the cave. They’re afraid of the light and they don’t want to change. Every time a revolutionary man comes to take them out of the cave, it could be Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi or Che Guevara, they’re all assassinated. How can someone kill Mahatma Gandhi? Was he a dictator? Dictators live forever. Only the good die young. That’s the meaning of this album.”
In addition to Ancient Greece, Farhi found inspiration in the form of Kim Kardashian. He explains this unlikely pairing of philosopher and celebrity: “Did you know that every year 70,000 kids are kidnapped in India for the purpose of paedophilia, trading their organs, or making them become street beggars for money?” he asks. “And we don’t hear about it. Do you know who Kim Kardashian is? That alone should make you think: ‘Why is that the situation?’ I don’t hear about those kids and I hear about Kim Kardashian every week. What’s the purpose of dealing with her while something so important doesn’t come before our eyes? I see her as the shadows in the cave and I see the kids as the truth outside.”