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Amaseffer - Slaves For Life CD (album) cover

SLAVES FOR LIFE

Amaseffer

 

Progressive Metal

3.95 | 95 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 in June 2008 by InsideOut. Amaseffer is an Israeli band which consists of drummer and main composer Erez Yohanan and the two guitarists Yuval Kramer (Prey for Nothing) and Hanan Avramovich. Amaseffer means "People of the Holy Book" in Hebrew. 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 concept 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, so don´t worry if you´re not a fan of that kind of vocals. I think that you´ll find that they have 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 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 Hebrew slave, Moses childhood when he was brought up as an egyptian by one of 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 slavery in Egypt and finally the story of the Ten Plagues which finally broke Faraoh and menat that he would set the Hebrews free.

This storyline calls for grand 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 score like music and lots of middle eastern instrumentation. I must say I was blown away the first time I listened to "Slaves for Life" and even though my excitement has cooled just a tiny bit after repeated listens it´s still a long time since I´ve heard anything this impressive from a progressive metal band. The music is so grand and epic that other highly symphonic metal bands like Therion and Saviour Machine come to mind. Amaseffer´s music is very different from the sound of those two bands though. First of all Amaseffer´s music doesn´t feature excessive use of choirs which is very characteristic for those two bands and secondly the mood is quite different and so is the playing style. The heavy use of middle eastern instruments (might be keyboards) and background singing, 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 makes "Slaves for Life" a unique experience. This is a very atmospheric album.

Standout tracks for me would be "Zipporah" which is a quite innovative duet between lead singer Mats Leven who sings in English and Maya Avraham who sings her parts in middle eastern style and in the Hebrew language. It´s a really beautiful song. The other song I will mention is the darkest and most heavy track on the album which is "Ten Plagues". It´s so wonderfully aggressive and angry while still maintaining a beautiful epic approach. Even though these two songs are some of the standout tracks on "Slaves for Life" the album is very consistent in quality. "Slaves for Life" doesn´t feature a second of wasted time.

The musicianship is outstanding. Especially when talking about Mats Leven´s vocal contributions. Mats Leven 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 (Queensr˙che) in the low register but when he sings the more aggressive vocal parts he sounds very different from Mr. Tate. I really enjoy his voice and the beautiful memorable vocal lines. 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. The two guitarists deliver what they ought to but really nothing special. "Slaves for Life" is not an album that revels in guitar solos or technical playing. Here the compositions and the concept come first. Then the semi- complex playing.

The album is recorded and mixed by Markus Teske (Vanden Plas, Abydos, Saga, live) and it´s a grand symphonic production. This is really well produced and suits the epic music well.

The artwork was done by Mattias Noren (Evergrey, Kamelot, Epica) and depicts Slaves at work which is of course suiting for the concept.

"Slaves for Life" is a quality progressive metal album. After my initial listen I was sure I was gonna rate "Slaves for Life" with 4.5 stars as I was really impressed. After repeated listens I´m still very impressed but there are a few flaws that makes this a 4 star album instead of a 4.5 star album for me. The concept and the orchestral arrangements are second to none. Really fantastic. But the metal parts can be a bit generic at times. There are no fast parts and the pace is slow to mid all the way through. I would have liked to hear them play one or two fast paced tracks with some tremolo picking guitars, but that´s probably just me who can´t live without that sort of thing. This is a highly recommendable album to anyone who loves epic progressive metal and I would even dare to call this a must hear album. What a great surprise from an excellent band.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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