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Amaseffer - Slaves For Life CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.95 | 111 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Far from a church hymn

As Amaseffer celebrates their fourth anniversary the rest of the world finally gets to hear what they've been cooking up all this time. This band from Israel has spent a long time trying to get to the release of this album, through trials an tribulations such as a lack of a lead singer, finding a lead singer then having to replace him and so on. Finally having settled down and gotten the album out the end to a long anticipation is drawing near, which brings up the eternal question - was it worth the wait?

To get to the bottom of that question we must first assess what we're dealing with here. Amaseffer's first album Slaves For Life marks the opening of a trilogy based on the 'Exodus' book of the Bible. Those who are not religious really should not fear though, because while the story is a very driving force behind the music it never takes over completely. Not to mention that the sound of the band is very far removed from anything you'd expect to hear coming from a church. This is a band whose sound is really very ''larger than life'' with their massive orchestrations and compositions which sound like they could be coming from a movie score at times (and in fact they did just score an Israeli film). The core of the band being two lead guitars and a drummer, Amaseffer cut no corners in filling in the blank spots and enlisted a multitude of guests to help make their album sound huge. Don't expect any soaring solos or virtuosoistic wankery so common to many prog metal bands, while these guys are clearly excellent musicians they know how to tone down their individual performances as to contribute to the overall sound instead of trying to single handedly steal the show. A lot of the album as well is spent in a kind of 'performance', while the songs go on there's times when the music turns lo-key to allow parts that feel like listening to a movie. Often in Hebrew this actually adds a lot to the album, it's quite unique and with voice effects sometimes added it makes for some very chilling moments. To compare them to other bands the quickest comparison that comes to mind is Orphaned Land with the similar Egyptian feel, but with less of the growling vocals and a more 'large' sound.

In terms of instrumentation this one is also a bit different. It is a very thick and heavy album thanks to the darkness of the subject at hand and the line-up of musicians, but it's driven a lot differently than normal albums. While a lot of people may be sitting around waiting for the guitar (which is there, and prominent) this one is more driven by the drums and orchestration. This should really come as no surprise seeing as the founding member of the band is the drummer, but it makes for a very nice change from the norm.

Prog heads should rejoice as well just looking at the tracklisting. On this debut we have a number of lengthy compositions, three of which reaching over ten minutes. Not that the songs are simply long to be long, in each of the tracks there's a lot of ideas to be developed and they do it quite well. Not to mention that sometime during the middle of Midian we have the proud moment where the band takes the story and lets it go all to hell (in a good way of course), letting their normal vocalist step aside for a moment to let the chilling scream of Arch Enemy's Angela Gossow come through with come very heavy guitars.

As a concept piece and with songs that segue into one another smoothly this is an album not easily ingested immediately. It certainly is a grower that takes a lot of listens to get into, but it's very rewarding once you find something to like about it. There's a lot of memorable moments that catch on pretty quickly, but this album is best taken as a whole experience rather than a group of songs, but it's that what prog has always been about?

Vocalist Mats Leven (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen) does an excellent job at rendering the story with his sharp vocals which are soft when they need to be. Other vocalists make a nice addition to the album be they singing in Hebrew or English, and the chorus of voices at the end of Land Of The Dead makes for an excellent way to finish off part one of the saga.

Whether you're paying hard attention to the story or simply taking in the picture that the band is capable of painting this is certainly an excellent album which should have prog-metal fans talking. This band really could not have debuted better, and they're going to be a band to watch in the near future. 4 burning bushes out of 5, an excellent addition to any prog collection.

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |


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