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Amaseffer - Slaves For Life CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.95 | 111 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars AMASEFFER is a relatively new band here in ProgArchives. They just released their debut, "Slaves for Life" less than one month ago. They have been heralded ever since as one of the most promising bands in the progressive-metal genre. Though I agree with the "promising" part, I think they still have a long way to go.

The music that this Israeli band has created is epic, Hollywood-esque in proportions, written for a story that is one of the biggest ever invented: the exodus of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt. For such a huge concept, the band had to deliver a score of similar proportions: gigantic, larger-than-life, heroic. AMASEFFER has partly managed to do all of that, but sadly, they've also emulated one of the most evident aspects of the original tale of the Old Testament: a weak structure, and a lack of character.

The tale in the Old Testament never decides what it truly is. At one point we think it's a marvelous story of courage, at other we may think of it as a warning, but also it can be taken as a pointless depiction of cruelty and a weird narration of madness coming from an intolerant god. The same can be said about the score that AMASEFFER has created for this tale. It never is clear what this music really is. Is it a film score? Is it a metal album? Is it a power-metal record? Is it a religious offering? The problem really lies in the music here. The metal/progressive parts are scattered throughout the album, lost among endless orchestral-only parts that sound like coming straight from Hollywood, and oriental-music pieces, with Hebrew rhythms and melodies, which take the album closest to folk territory.

Now, let me explain why I think this is not a really good thing. Of course music that fuses elements is to be highly regarded, and so I would do if this was an example of that, of an album where all genres coexist and, most importantly, are mixed together to create something different. But in "Slaves for Life", the Hebrew parts sound just like that, Hebrew-oriental music; the progressive- metal parts sound like progressive-metal parts, traditional and rather derivative; the orchestral sections don't have a perfect relation with the other two, neither do the other relate perfectly with each other. The album, thus, suffers from a constant change of styles that seem to happen for no other reason but just because it can be done. For a better example of how to properly create a progressive-metal album a la Hebrew, listen to ORPHANED LAND's "Mabool - The Story of the Three Sons of Seven".

The problem is that the music never flows as smoothly as it could with a better musical direction here. Real metal songs there aren't any (I can hardly recall any chorus, just for a minor example), memorable riffs are not what this album seems to be about, neither is it displays of technical proficiency. With this elements out, the album has problems as a metal record, and it's also never really believable as a folk/orchestral album, as the metal parts actually sound quite odd when one tries to listen to the disc with that perspective in mind.

Now, don't get me wrong. The idea is brilliant, is just weakly executed. The musicianship of the band (what shines through at least) is quite good, and the vocalist (which is never given a real chance to display his power) is one of the best metal singers I've heard in the last years. Sadly, his voice appears only for a few minutes every now and then, as we have to endure the obligatory gimmicky Hebrew section just when things start to look bright.

As a metal album, it's weak. As a progressive album, is just OK. As a piece of awkward music with no real defined character, is quite enjoyable. For its enormous potential and the excellent idea behind the record, I give it 3 stars. With less playing around and more song-writing (with emphasis on the "song" part) it would have deserved a 4th star. And with the promise I hear in AMASEFFER, I hope their next album goes even higher, and reaches the levels I know they're capable of reaching.

The T | 3/5 |


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