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Amaseffer - Slaves For Life CD (album) cover

SLAVES FOR LIFE

Amaseffer

 

Progressive Metal

3.90 | 106 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Slaves for Life" is the debut full-length studio album by progressive metal act Amaseffer. The album was released through InsideOut Music in June 2008. Amaseffer is an Israeli act which consists of drummer and main composer Erez Yohanan and the two guitarists Yuval Kramer (Prey for Nothing) and Hanan Avramovich. In Hebrew Amaseffer translates to "People of the Holy Book". The band was started by Erez Yohanan in 2004 and later the two guitarists joined the band. Amaseffer started looking for a singer and contacted Andy Kuntz of Vanden Plas who actually worked with the band for a while. He eventually jumped ship though and the band again searched for a singer. They ended up contacting Mats Leven (Therion, Krux, Yngwie Malmsteen, Fatal Force, Abstrakt Algebra, Southpaw) who was hooked on the idea of the project and entered the studio with Amaseffer. Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy also contributes with growls in the song "Midian". It´s the only place on the album which features growling vocals though and they are incorporated to provide a special meaning in the context of the concept. Other vocal contributors are Maya Avraham and Kobi Farhi.

"Slaves for Life" is the first album of a planned conceptual triology about Moses and the Exodus from Egypt ending with the Hebrews entrance to the Promised Land. A classic tale from the Old Testament. On "Slaves for Life" we hear about the Hebrew slavery in Egypt, Faraoh´s decision to slay every Hebrew manchild after he has learned of a prophecy telling about his downfall by the hand of a male Hebrew slave, Moses childhood when he was brought up as an egyptian by one of the Faraoh´s daughters, Moses realisation that he is a Jew, his escape from Egypt to Midian where he meets his wife Zipporah, Moses meeting with God who shows himself as a burning bush giving Moses orders to free the Hebrews from the slavery in Egypt and finally the story of the Ten Plagues which finally broke Faraoh and meant that he set the Hebrews free.

A storyline like that demands epic music and that´s exactly what you´re gonna get when listening to "Slaves for Life". The music is progressive metal but the metal parts are mixed with grand orchestral film type scores and lots of middle eastern instrumentation. In addition to that, sound effects of horses, slaves being whipped and crying babies, storytelling in Hebrew (maybe it´s verses from the Bible I don´t know as I don´t understand Hebrew) are some of the elements that make "Slaves for Life" a unique listening experience. Some of the standout tracks on "Slaves for Life" are "Zipporah" which is a quite innovative duet between lead male vocalist Mats Leven, who sings in English, and Maya Avraham who sings her parts in Hebrew, middle eastern styled, and the darkest and most heavy track on the album titled "Ten Plagues". The latter is wonderfully aggressive while still maintaining a beautiful epic sound. Even though these two tracks are among the highlights on "Slaves for Life" the album is very consistent in quality and deserves to be listened to as a whole.

The musicianship are generally strong. Especially Mats Leven´s vocal performance deserves a special mention. He is an incredibly skilled singer and he has a very distinct voice which suits Amaseffer´s music really well. His vocals sound a bit like Geoff Tate (Queensrÿche) in the low register but when he sings the more aggressive vocal parts he sounds very different from Mr. Tate. Erez Yohanan also needs to be mentioned for his outstanding compositional skills. His drumming isn´t the most exciting part of Amaseffer´s music though. He gets the job done but his playing definitely could have been a bit more adventurous. The two guitarists deliver what they should too, but again nothing out of the ordinay. "Slaves for Life" is not an album that focus on guitar solos or technical playing though. Here the compositions and the concept come first. The semi- complex playing second.

The album is recorded and mixed by Markus Teske (Vanden Plas, Abydos, Saga, live) and it´s a grand symphonic production. This is a really well produced album and the sound suits the epic music well. So in most ways "Slaves for Life" is a quality progressive metal album. The concept and the orchestral arrangements are second to none. Really fantastic thought out and composed. But the metal parts can be a bit generic at times. There are no fast parts and the tempo is slow- to mid paced all the way through. A couple of faster paced parts or preferably full tracks could have brought some nice variation to the album as this does become quite a heavy and pompous listening experience towards the end. For listeners interesting in epic symphonic progressive metal "Slaves for Life" is still a highly recommendable album though and a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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