Keith Kahn Harris

Metal Jew

Metal jew

Eliyahu Dali’s Metal Prayer

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I’m impossible to please, really I am. I spent much of my life yearning for Jewish metal, but when it finally comes along I find I’m just as finicky, fussy and critical as I am about any other kind of music.

So Joel alerted me a couple of days ago to a piece in the Jerusalem Post about the Israeli musician Eliyahu Dali. Dali is making metal versions of ‘classic’ Jewish prayers and will at some point release an album called ‘Metal Prayer’.

Listening to some of it online, it’s clear that Dali is a decent musician in the prog/classic metal mode (not my favourite metal genre but not in and of itself to be deplored). I don’t think though that the metal arrangements add anything to the liturgy – they just make them a little mushy.

I had this conversation at a conference in Finland last year when I metal a Lutheran pastor who runs a hugekly popular ‘Metal mass’. I appreciate that some worshippers feel it adds a whole new spiritual dimension, but as I explained to the pastor, I like there to be a dividing line between synagogue music and everyday music. I love sections of the Jewish liturgy, but I’d never want to listen to it on my iPhone outside of synagogue. Conversely, I’ve no need for metal in services.

Still, I try and remain open minded to the possibility that sometime, someone will come up with a metal liturgy that I actually like. Till then, I’ll stick with metal artists who have a looser connection to spirituality, such as Orphaned Land.

Here’s Eliyahu Dali doing ‘Mipi El’. I love the tune when it’s sung in shul, but this version just doesn’t work for me: