Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography



Progressive Metal

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Amaseffer Slaves For Life album cover
3.97 | 124 ratings | 12 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing

01. Sorrow (2:41)
02. Slaves For Life (8:28)
03. Birth Of Deliverance (11:11)
04. Midian (11:48)
05. Zipporah (6:10)
06. Burning Bush (6:31)
07. The Wooden Staff (9:13)
08. Return To Egypt (3:26)
09. Ten Plagues (11:29)
10. Land Of The Dead (6:54)

Total Time: 77:51

Line-up / Musicians

- Erez Yohanan / drums, percussion
- Yuval Kramer / guitar
- Hanan Avramovich / guitar

Also appearing:

Mats Leven / all lead and backing vocals
Kobi Farhi / all oriental vocals (courtesy of Century Media Records)
Angela Gossow / growl vocals on Midian (courtesy of Savage Messiah Records)
Yotam Avni / growl vocals on Midian
Maya Avraham / female vocals on Zipporah (courtesy of Helicon Records)
Amir Gvirtzman / flutes
Yatziv Caspi / tablas on Slaves For Life and Midian
Yair Yona / bass guitar on Zipporah and The Burning Bush
Choir on Land of the Dead / Kobi Farhi, Iftach Levi, Shiran Shahar, Yochai Davidof, Adva Kramer,
Hanan Avramovich, Erez Yohanan, Yuval Kramer, Ma'ayan Gabay and Yotam Avni

Releases information

SPV 79832 CD IOMCD 296

Thanks to king by-tor for the addition
and to T.Rox for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy AMASEFFER Slaves For Life Music

AMASEFFER Slaves For Life ratings distribution

(124 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(34%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

AMASEFFER Slaves For Life reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by 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.

Review by 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 (Queensr˙che) 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.

Review by 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.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars King By-Tor first introduced me to this band before they were even on this site. I listened to some of their songs on their MySpace site and was very impressed with the middle-Eastern sound combined with that heaviness, which made me think of ORPHANED LAND. Both bands are from Isreal of course. This particular record is a concept album about Isreal who were in slavery in Egypt, and Moses who would be used by God to eventually deliver them. We don't get that far on this album though as it ends with the 10 plagues. What I love about this recording is the singing done mostly by THERION vocalist Mats Levin. He's amazing ! The Hebrew vocals are done by ORPHANED LAND's Kobi Farhi, and we get some growls on one track by ARCH ENEMY's Angela Gossow. There is a lot of orchestration and samples as well. It's all done so well that i'm not even going to complain about the concept being more important than the music like I usually do. Hey after all this is based on God's word about the history of his people. In fact AMASEFFER means "People of the Book".

"Sorrow" opens with samples, spoken words, acoustic guitar and flute. Samples end it. "Slaves For Life" opens with vocal melodies with a heavy atmosphere. Drums arrive a minute in as it gets heavy. Vocals follow with marching-like drums. The guitar lets loose before 4 1/2 minutes. Drums and vocal melodies end it. "Birth Of Deliverance" opens with orchestration. Vocals come in and are spoken. A melody 3 minutes in. I like it. It ends a minute later. Vocals get passionate 4 1/2 minutes in. Powerful soundscape 6 1/2 minutes in as guitar grinds away. Another good melody 9 1/2 minutes in (like at 3 minutes). "Midian" opens with orchestration before a haunting atmosphere arrives after a minute with flute. Vocal melodies join in. A nice heavy sound 2 1/2 minutes in followed by vocals. I like when Pharoah comes in with the growling vocals 5 1/2 minutes in. Just the best part on the whole album because it's so dramatic and powerful. A sudden change 6 1/2 minutes in as acoustic guitar and reserved vocals arrive as Moses contemplates things. Moses is on the run after killing an Egyptian. "Zipporah" is the name of the Midian woman that Moses would marry. Female vocal melodies and samples. This is a fairly mellow track with male and female vocals.

"The Burning Bush" opens with the sound of the bush burning as you can hear Moses working away, then suddenly he gasps at what he sees. A bush on fire that isn't being consumed. Cool guitar melody as vocals come in. Piano joins in and then a heavier sound takes over. I like the lyrics here as Moses says there is no way he can lead Isreal out Egypt. "Who am I at all". God would later call him the most humble man on the whole earth. "Wooden Staff" has a powerful intro. Whispered vocals come in as the guitar cries out. Heavy drums 3 1/2 minutes in as guitar starts to solo. Great sound. Multi vocals come in as the instruments start to each disappear. "Return To Egypt" features orchestration, percussion and mournful vocal melodies. "Ten Plagues" features spoken words that come and go as well as thunder and explosive sounds, heavy riffs etc. all depicting God's judgement against the Egyptians. "Land Of The Dead" refers to the final plague where God's angel came into each Egyptian household and killed the firstborn. A death march solemnly beats as vocals come in around 1 1/2 minutes. The sound gets fuller. Some tasteful guitar 4 1/2 minutes in. Lyrics like "The eye of RA will see no more, the sun that lights his kingdom's shores, a kingdom that became a grave, is now the liberty of every Hebrew slave". It ends with "There is no single soul left in Egypt that can be called "alive"."

A solid 4 stars and I can't wait for their next record as they continue the story.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Pretty good debut album by this Israeli outfit; which sounds like a band we'll be hearing more from in the coming years.

Their take on music has a unique appeal to it for starters; mixing slow, metal-dominated segments with symphonic orchestrated sounding parts and atmospheric moods where spoken words - in Yiddish - and synths often are the only elements.

The compositions and arrangements are all majestic and pompous - the synths are layered and massive, the guitars just the same when used, and even the vocals come across in this manner.

The main element separating this release from other pompous releases in a prog metal setting are the impulses from middle-eastern music; melodies, vocals and rhythms all have that distinct mood about them that these are indeed performances written and executed somewhere in this region.

Main weakness on this release are compositional structure. The band can't quite seem to decide whether this is a prog rock/metal album or if it is a slightly elaborated soundtrack. This results in tunes high on mood and atmosphere but often lacking drive and tension in certain key parts of the songs.

Still, this is a good release, and one to check out if you fancy something new and distinct in you music collection.

Review by The Crow
4 stars Another excellent metal project from Israel!

It's clear that Amaseffer was born under the shadow of the marvellous band Orphaned Land... They are an obvious influence for Erez Yohanan and his fellows. Some parts of this album could have been taken from the masterpiece Orphaned Land album "Mabool", although they are obviously under the quality of the Kobi Fahri's band. Kobi himself make an essential contribution in "Slaves for Life", singing all the oriental voices... We can listen to him in almost every song of the album, singing really beautiful oriental melodies, maybe even better than he did in "Mabool".

But talking about influences, Amaseffer have also a lot from other seminal metal band... Therion! It's obvious in the orchestral arrangements, and some guitars riffs and sounds, wich are very similar to the Christofer Johansson's band. And the egyptian melodies of the album, seems also have been taken from Therion's "Theli". Of course, the presence of Mats Leven, who singed in three Therion albums, is also a proof of the influence of the great swedish band!

The story of the album, like "Mabool", follows a biblical theme... In the Orphaned Land album was the Flood, and here is about the first part of Moses's tale, from his birth to the ten plagues he helped to throw over Egipt. For helping the story, the band uses a lot of sound effects, readigns and a some cinematic orchestral arrangements. Specially the beginning of Birth of Deliverance could have been taken from an adventures film soundtrack. And a very good one!

Another great fact of the album, are the invited musicians... Aparts from the orchestra and the choir, the singers are also very well chosen. Mats Leven makes a very convincent role as the narrator of the story. His cratchy and high voice can be a bit difficult at first, but after a few listenings we can see that he is an important part of the success of the album. Arch Enemy's Angela Gossow makes also a good role in Midian, although it's very short... Maya Avraham is also excellent in Zipporah, being just great hearing her voice mixed with Kobi Fahri`s one in Zipporah. And of course, this album would not have been the same without the Orphaned Land's singer and frontman... Kobi give all his soul here, although it's just a contribution. You have only to hear Return to Egypt to realise how much this man has improved, and what a great singer he is!

Best tracks: Slaves for Life (here we can notice the Therion influences...), Birth of Deliverance (I love the orchestral intro, the lyrics are beautiful, and the final part makes me have goosebumps...), Zipporah (a track very similar to Ophaned Land's Building the Ark, but still beautiful...) and Ten Plagues (good closing track, with a marvellous chorus...)

Conclusion: although Amaseffer are heavily influenced by Orphaned Land and Therion, and they are not precisely surprising if you've heard these bands, they managed to make a very convincent album, with splendid cinematic arrangements, and some great prog metal songs... The contributions are brilliant, specially the singers, and the production is spectacular. So "Slaves for Life" is a very worthy first part of a supposed biblical trilogy, that I'd like Amaseffer could end.

My rating: ****

Review by b_olariu
4 stars Amaseffer is an excellent prog metal band from Israel with so far one album rleased in 2008 at SPV named Slave for life. Man I was totaly blown away by this album, specialy by the vocal parts, I mean Mats Leven is a killer vocalist, I truly love his tone of voice, fits perfectly in this kind of music. The music as you might guess is prog metal with arabic elements, melted very well in the music, gives to the listner a solid release full of mesmerazing moments. The narrations, the vocal parts, the instrumental passages are top notch, I guess I never heared, in prog metal at least ,such tight combination between metam and arabic arrngemnts and in same tame so succesfully puted together like on this album. Some excellent and killer pieces are to me: title track, awesome , top notch track, Leven's voice is superb, deep and very powerfull, Birth Of Deliverance another super prog metal piece melodic and in same time complex and Burning Bush, the rhythmic section here has no equal realy, ther guitar is not of this earth here, the rest of the pieces are ok some of them great but not realy outstanding, only good. Even the album is great overall , something I trace as unenjoyble, at least from my side, the album is to much time, in fact all the time mid tempo, here are not faster instrumental moments or bursting keybords or guitars, everything is well made, paiced, but to little monotounous in same parts and only because the album is too slow but never the less good, that for sure. I will give 3.5 rounded to 4 only because those 3 pieces that are simply killer prog metal tunes. Nice album, well performed well played. Similar at some point with, if I make abstraction of the arabic influences with Pagan's Mind, Beyound Twilight. Looking forward for their next release probably will be out this year 2011 named When lions leave their den.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Amaseffer created an extraordinary album of progressive metal, I would consider it one of the best conceptual progressive metal albums I've heard. Pretty similar in the concept and a bit in the style to Mabool by Orphaned Land. This album focuses on the Exodus of the Jewish out of Egypt, descr ... (read more)

Report this review (#1021052) | Posted by Memo_anathemo | Tuesday, August 20, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars For some odd reason, music, mainly metal, and a very strong presence of Progressive Metal from the East has become very popular. Bands like Orphaned Land have now become quite big, even though they have been around for a few years, and new bands like Myrath have now become targets for music ... (read more)

Report this review (#297115) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Thursday, September 2, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Although I would call them more of a project than a band as such Amaseffer are a progressive metal band from Isreal, this being there first album i gotta say its EPIC, i mean beyond compare, blending a fantastic mix of Symphonic, Progressive metal and what appears to be Middle Eastern Folk music ... (read more)

Report this review (#281996) | Posted by FarBeyondProg | Friday, May 14, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It has been a while since I wanted to write a review for this newcomers' album called "Slaves For Life" released by Inside Out. Thus, the fact they engrossed this quality label, tells you a lot. So let's start. Amaseffer comes from Hebrew word which could be convincted as "People of the Holy Bo ... (read more)

Report this review (#217332) | Posted by AstralliS | Friday, May 22, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is easily the best new release I've come across in 2008. Sweeping orchestrations along with heavy middle eastern instrumentation and ambiance contribute to a very epic sounding metal release. The lyrics recall the story of exodus up until moses frees the Jews from Egypt. However, this is n ... (read more)

Report this review (#177476) | Posted by Absurdity | Sunday, July 20, 2008 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of AMASEFFER "Slaves For Life"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.