Released: 2008, Inside Out Music
Israel’s Amaseffer is a unique band. Melding elements of film score, Middle Eastern rhythms and tones, and a dash progressive metal instrumentation, they arrive at a sound that transports the listener to a place and time in the world over two thousand years old. EXODUS SLAVES FOR LIFE is part one of a trilogy of albums that aims to put the biblical story of the Jewish exodus to music. A long time in the making, Andy Kuntz (Vanden Plas/Abydos) was originally intended to be the vocalist for the effort, but time constraints and scheduling made that impossible, paving the way for former Yngwie Malmsteen vocalist, Mats Levin, to step in and deliver a stunning vocal performance replete with a stunning range of character and emotion.
SLAVES FOR LIFE starts out in the slavery period of the Israelites in Egypt and moves from the birth of Moses on through the ten plagues and their immediate aftermath. As the album begins, you will notice that this is not your typical progressive metal album. In fact, it will quickly be learned that this music can only be tangentially considered to be amongst that genre, appealing just as easily to fans of world music or film score. The title track of this first part, “Slaves for Life,” with its grand, epic feel, is a perfect sigul for the album as a whole. It does not have the driving beats usually found in metal music, but instead uses heavy guitar as a character in the drama. The songs are often long, and they take their time going places. For example, “Birth of Deliverance” starts with three minutes of subtle orchestral music with vocals delivered more like dialogue in a play than with a recognizable melody. After this part, though, things pick up and feel much more rhythmic for a while before breaking into another segment of the song that features more voice acting. The musicianship on the album is of the highest order, exemplifying a band who knows how to use their instruments to speak, rather than just wailing about. The guitar solo in “Burning Bush” is a perfect example of the album’s theatrical playing as it goes on for a long time, focusing on choosing the right notes and letting them linger with the listener. “Ten Plagues” near the end of the album is probably the heaviest and darkest song on the album, possessing an angry vibe throughout much of it, and this song feels the most like a recognizable prog metal offering.
SLAVES FOR LIFE is truly more of an epic journey than just a simple metal record. Because of this, it is not an album that will be enjoyed as background music while doing other things. To truly appreciate it, you will have to give it your full attention so that you will be allowed to get carried away with the story. The reward for those who listen to it in this open-minded way is a complex and unique listening experience rarely heard before.
If this album sounds intriguing to you, be sure to check out our recent interview with Erez Yohanan to learn a lot more about it.