Again we are dealing here with a scary review...
As we have said before, there are albums that we love so much that it is even hard for us to write about. This is one of them...
The mythological album "Metziut Nifredet" (Separate Reality, is the debut album of "Hayehudim" and it was released on August 18, 1995.
Before we begin, allow us to unload something without ruining the atmosphere. After the release of the second album "Hayehudim" and after years to come, the album "Metziut Nifredet" became the music of the masses, of the popular radio stations in Israel, and of every teenager even if he is not a devoted fan of the band. For us, as devoted fans, it was very frustrating. If at first we were moved and thrilled every time we heard the band's song playing on mainstream radio like "Galgalatz", over time the excitement became frustration and anger. Why? you ask. Because this amazing and huge band continued to put out masterful songs and albums but those radio stations, to this day, are stuck on the band's debut album, not playing any songs from their other 4 albums.
If we have already mentioned the radio stations then let’s also unload this story, a story from the band's early days that today become irrelevant. Although the album was released under the biggest label in Israel, "Hed Artzi" and had one of the best production heard in Israel at the time (we'll get to that later), it was completely ignored by the popular radio and television stations. We are talking about the mid-1990s in Israel, there was no streaming whatsoever, a CD album cost 80 NIS and the radio was mainly controlled by stations such as "Reshet Gimel" and "Galei Tzahal". Oh yeah, there were only two TV channels too, so there weren't really many options. The band members did not fall into despair and with the support of Tamira Yardeni (from famous Teddy Productions) the band members went out to shoot a music video for the first single from the album "Mehapes Tsheuva". Here too they did what they love to do and the clip was different, rough, provocative and straight forward. With sexual scenes, death, and also religious aspects God forbid. As a result, the music video was not broadcast frequently and even if did, then it was late at night.
At first, the band members did not talk about it in interviews and articles but after a few years, they shared what they felt. They were hurt and very frustrated, they brought their musical talent, and their creative authenticity but the media closed the door on them aggressively and ignored them completely. Tom Peterover told Channel 1 in an interview that they had already thought of breaking up, ending this episode in their life, and move on. they felt that the popular media did not like them and even deliberately rejected them.
But then the people had their say, from a show of 20 people, it became 50, 100 people and the quantities grew more and more. The teens who came to the shows knew the lyrics and screamed them out loud. The band members who adore their fans to this day and feel part of them were in utter shock. They did not understand where all these people came from, with no media exposure, how they knew all the words of their songs??? The feedback from the audience is what held them together, the love and support they received from the fans pushed them and helped them forget about the radio stations. Orit Shahaf said that the fact that the audience gave them a huge hug made the whole radio thing become even more irrelevant over the years.
So how it all began...
The album already started when Tom and Orit met, even before the start of the military service, during the exams for the military band. We're guessing it was love at first sight, at the moment the couple met, they started working on music together. The two worked non-stop, experimenting, writing, and creating materials together in some warehouse or small room during the military service. After the end of the military service, the two which then were called "Tom and the Bomb" started performing in all kinds of small clubs with covers songs of "Led Zeppelin", "Nirvana", "Pearl Jam" and more. They decide it's time to release an album and join the "Hed Artzi" record company. Tom and Orit arrive with prepared and polished materials for two albums, one album for Tom and one album for Orit. They even worked with the same band, Asher Padi on the drums, Shmulik Bodgov on the guitars, Eran Mitelman on the keyboards and Avi Yifarah on the bass. But Hed Artzi put pressure on the couple to become a band, they told them they were meant to be together and not apart. From the point of view of the record company it was also cheaper, two for the price of one. Since they were already ready to record, a week after they signed with "Hed Artzi" they started recording.
(Photo: Ronen Lalna)
Just imagining the atmosphere that was floating in the studio during the recordings gives us shivers all over. The bond between all the members of the band was cosmic, an amazing combination of wildly talented musicians who came to drop hard rock and roll on the small state of Israel just when grunge was at its peak. Tom and Orit were in a frenzy from the recordings in the studio, it's one thing to rehearse but something else entirely to listen to what you created recorded, and played. We have no idea what went on in the studio but from video clips we've seen in the past, we remember that there was crazy energy there and a picture of Tom sitting on the console in a frenzy is what we strongly remember.
A short personal story...
For one of the members of "Face/Off" this album is a defining moment. That boy was then in high school in Ashkelon and was not part of the rock, metal, or grunge enthusiastic in the early nineties, let's say he liked more "sweet candy" things. Without a doubt, music was an indispensable part of his life and he volunteered or was chosen depending on how you look at it, to set up the first DJ station in a school from which he broadcast music during recess and at after school hours through the school's speakers. The company "Hed Artzi" in cooperation with high schools throughout the country established a project to promote local music. They gathered a group of students and fed them new music through monthly meetings at the legendary "Logos" club in Tel Aviv and by mailing "brown envelopes". That boy would long every day to receive the message from the postal office on the "brown envelope" and to this day he will not forget how excited he was to open it every time and discover inside treasures of CD albums, stickers, and posters of various new artists. One day the same envelope contained the first single of the band "Hayehudim". The single cover was in army gray/dark green and in the center was written the band's name in large letters wrapped in flames of fire and in the lower part there was the song name "Mehapes tshuva". The moment that boy put the cd in the stereo system and pressed play, his life changed from end to end. His mind and body could not believe the sounds that surrounded them, the unimaginable power, the enormous energies, and the moving voices.
But what about the music???
This album was created by the entire group mentioned above, Orit and Tom wrote the skeleton and the lyrics for the songs, but the arrangement and the creation itself up to the final product were created by all the band members together. Asher Padi is a drummer who became one of the greatest session drummers in Israel and a partner in more than 1200 albums with many artists including Arkady Duchin, Leah Shabat, Nurit Galron, Yehuda Polykar, Shalom Hanoch and many more. Avi Yifrah is a bassist who grew up with the band, Eran Mitelman the keyboardist is best known for his participation in TV shows such as: Kochav Nold, Lo Nfsik Lashir, Music School, The next star and more, but he was also the keyboardist in Aviv Gefen's "Hataoyot" band and Shmulik Budgov, the famous guitarist whose solos became a milestone in Israeli music and worked with artists such as: Arik Einstein, Zohar Argov, Yigal Bashan, Mati Caspi, Ariel Zilber and many others. Budgov is also The one who was entrusted with the production of the album.
The album opens with "Mehapes Teshuva" which, as we said, was also the first single and the first video clip released by the band. The Land of Israel was not ready for the crazy couple sitting on a star-like throne that takes the plague of Satan and presents controversial characters. The guitar cuts open the air with the beating bass drum, it goes right into the veins and creates some scars on the side. Hayehudim didn't try to be user-friendly or let the audience slowly digest what they created, they wanted to go boom with all the power, just like they know how.
Of course, the song didn't play on the radio stations and it was replaced by the band's most famous song on the mainstream media, "Hazman Shelach" (we'll talk about it later). The second song on the album is a soft rock ballad that with the caressing voice of "Hippolita" managed to penetrate even many who are unable to withstand heavy distortions. Ninet Tayeb has a big part in the exposure here after she performed the song on the show "Kohav Nolad", Orit's powerful and compelling voice was replaced by Ninet's caressing and pleasant voice and the song received a slightly different interpretation.
The third song on the album "Ella" was one of the band's most explosive songs when at every show would lift the audience up in the air, we are not sure but we think that this is the only song that never missed from the band's setlist at the shows. The song also created a kind of "custom" in which every album of the band has a powerful, short, and explosive song that keeps you exploding for several minutes.
Moving on to the fourth track on the album "Tesahek Otta", strong and pure hard rock that usually at shows continues to cover Led Zeppelin and feels that it is suited for stadiums and not small clubs.
Moving on to another song that, as soon as it starts playing at concerts, the audience starts jumping in the air, but it also created controversy, "Od Aron Ehad". Apparently, the IDF did not like the lyrics of this song as well as other songs because when the band requested to perform in front of soldiers they were rejected because the argument that the lyrics would be bad for the soldiers even though the majority of the band's fans in and in concerts were soldiers.
And now the exciting and powerful masterpiece "Ze Lo Kal" which is accompanied by a solo guitar track called "Pyota". Who then dared to create an entire track dedicated to a guitar solo? What a beauty of a piano performed by Roi Zoertz what a wonderful lyrics, no matter who you are or who you are, the connection to the song and the lyrics is cosmic, this is the magic of the band, to envelop you and bewitch you with music that in one moment disconnects you from reality and places you in a "separate reality". Tom said that he writes the songs from a situation in which he puts himself in, in his imagination, it is not a man or a woman and it does not matter if it is something he experiences in reality or in his imagination. He creates the situation for himself and writes the song from the character in the situation or from an external perspective of the character.
The next two songs on the album illustrate very nicely the way of writing. "Hayamim Shelano" the eighth track on the album was written in English and was called "I Don't Believe In God, But I Do believe In Flowers", not even a demo was recorded for it in English since it immediately switched to Hebrew, but we know that in the following albums the band always include songs in English and this is excellent.
The song "Jackie" is another amazing example of the writing style and music of the band, it goes out without restraints, without borders, and without definitions!! It must be noted that the combination of the two in the same song is mesmerizing, a combination that the two do not often perform on albums.
Since "Mehapes Tshuva" was too harsh, "Hazman Shelah" came as the leading song, a soft rock ballad that can be digested, Orit didn't want to record this song at all because it was too quiet for her, she wanted to mow, explode and not really caress but she managed to calm herself and created this amazing thing. The band members said that even at the sketch stage they knew it was going to be something big, Budgov's guitar solo was simply mesmerizing. Many times Tom told the story of the music video, that after the "Mehapes Tshuva" music video ended, they used up all the money they had and when they came to Tamira Yardeni to ask for a budget to create a new music video for the song "Hazman Shelah" she gave them a check for 100 NIS. The band members who were at a loss for advice did not know what to do with so small amount but finally filmed a music video on a home camera with improvised effects of camera rotations, fences, and Orit's pantyhose as filters.
The song "Hablues" with the harsh lyrics brings Tom perfectly, a purposeful display of Tom's abilities and the entire band's. It is followed by Orit's "Ze Kol Hasipor" also here a beautiful display of talent by Orit and the band.
The section "God" is a dark and deep transition section that gives this album a kind of dark feeling a minute before it's all over. Because then you get to "Sof HaOlam", how much emotion, how much power, what energies. It doesn't matter in which stereo system you play this song and this album in general, your oxygen system in your body will increase automatically!!
Ending with the phenomenal track "Milhama Shketa", the song was cut off in the middle and only a few years later at the band's famous concert at the Theater Club in Tel Aviv, which was released on DVD, we got the sequel that simply tears you to pieces, Hippolyta tears you to pieces with the lyrics and the guitar riffs like a surgeon's knife continues the work.
The year after the album was released, the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated, the event had a profound effect on the band members and of course, had a great impact on the entire country. Something changed in the Israeli musical landscape and instead of giving emotions a place to come out and vent them, everything became a "relaxed weekend", the music became something comforting that felt good on the back, something soothing and caressing. There was no room for poignant lyrics, strong distortions and powerful drums, the golden age of lyrical rock that began in the early nineties sank and a huge gap was hard to fill.
In our opinion, the ones who managed to fill it and occupy a central place were "Hayehudim"
Four years after the release of the album, the band won the title "Band of the Year" by Gali Tzahal and in 2005, in the list of the 100 greatest Israeli albums of all time, the only album chosen by the audience was "Metziut Nifredet". Needless to say, this album made the band the leader of the rock genre in Israel when it takes the main show at every rock festival in Israel and is an opening act for huge bands coming from abroad.
Why the elevator???
The cover for the album was designed by Tzipora Uziel, which was the first cover designed. She had just finished her studies at the 'School' and the Jewish friends had finished recording the album. The record company took care of them for a cover, but they were not satisfied with the result that came out. They waited for almost half a year when they finally contacted Ran Barlev (the photographer, who also illustrated the first covers of Aviv Gefen A.S.) and he connected them to Zipora. The photos on the front cover and in the brochure were taken in an elevator in an old office building in south Tel Aviv. Tzipora had seen the elevator before and knew even then that she was going to do something with it, it was crowded-crowded, of the old variety. She said that it was quite a new experience for everyone - for Barlev, who for the first time photographed and not illustrated; for the bird, which was her first cover; And for the band, which is their debut album of course. There was no make-up artist, no staff, and nothing - they did everything themselves. They collected all the accessories themselves, there was a lamp hanging from the ceiling of the elevator that had to be adjusted all the time and since the elevator was so small there was no place to take pictures. They stuck the camera to the ceiling and lowered a wire down, the one who held the wire and took the photo was Tom, his hand is hidden under the blanket. The "Separate Reality" cover is the only one among the Jewish covers in which band members appeared. This happened because Hed Artzi pressed since she thought it was important to present them outwardly to the public, especially on a debut album.
(Photo: Tzipora Oziel, Ran Barlev)
This is the band's best-selling album, it sold over 120,000 copies and was certified triple platinum, it is also (in our opinion) the most influential album on rock in Israel and what came after it.