Israel.The land of many stories.The most famous of those being that of Moses and the Ten Commandments.Recently,Israel also found a place on the world metal map thanks to that very innovative Progressive Metal band Orphaned Land. I have hardly heard anything by these guys,but I've heard a lot about them. Then I stumbled upon another Progressive Metal band called Amaseffer.They released their debut album 'Slaves For Life' in May this year. All it took was a snippet hearing on last.fm,and 15 minutes later,the album was on my iPod. To be frank,this album is GRAND. It tells the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments, and is the 1st in a trilogy of albums. What follows now is a review that I wrote for that album on www.metal-archives.com.Try to enjoy:
A Better Concept Album There Will Seldom Be...
I have always been a bit wary of progressive bands, mostly because of their attempts at complexity. Be it with time signatures or technique or just those ridiculously long solos, band just FORGET that their aim should be to make good music and not write a staff notation of a solution to Schrodinger's equation. With Amaseffer's Slaves For Life however, I felt blessed to have stumbled upon such a work of art.
Firstly, I would like to acknowledge this band's sheer songwriting prowess. It was truly unlike anything I had heard before, or even expected from this album. Right from the start, one can tell that the aim of this band was to present a story to the listener through their music, not how the drummer can beat Mike Potnoy at complex time signatures. Their use of folk instruments, the Mid-Eastern tunes and symphonies and of course,their use of sounds from everyday life and the dialogues in Hebrew; all of them made it seem as if it one was watching a movie and not listening to an album. The vocals by Mats Levin of Therion are perfect.Not too whiny, nor too cheesy. Sometimes, they even remind you of Roy Khan's (Kamelot) singing. The lyrics are very to-the-point. Amaseffer have not tried to be excessively poetic by using verses that could mean ANYTHING, which is something I really appreciate. If a story has to be told, the events within it should unfold with ease.
Now, the fact that this band is a progressive metal band, could mean that people will expect a high level of technique. Unfortunately (for such people), that is not the case. But its not a problem either. Their rhythms are pretty simple and straightforward powerchords, notes and chords and their solos are not very fast or technical; but they all add to the overall mood of the album. There's not a single moment where the mood of the song becomes casual due to a rhythm that may be technically sound, but that's all it is. Every song generates its own mood because each song talks about different phases of the Moses story. And all the dialogues and sound effects make sure that even if you're not very knowledgeable about that story (like me),you WILL know what events unfold (even though the dialogues are in Hebrew).
If I was to describe what band these guys sound like, I would say a slower, less technical but exponentially more melodic version of the newer Symphony X. I don’t have a personal favourite song as every song is great and paramount to the album. But yes, I enjoyed ‘The Wooden Staff’ the most for its digitized Hebrew voice in the beginning and that section in the middle where the guitar, bass and xylophone are playing this catchy Mid-Eastern tune.
All in all, this is the best concept album I have heard till date. Once again, I’d like to congratulate the band. To be able to come up with such brilliance on debut itself is nothing short of a world record. In fact, if the band continues to write music like this, and improve, they could easily dethrone even veterans in this genre like Opeth and Symphony X. A brilliant collection of music. Something that every fan of good music should possess.