Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Yossi Sassi Band-Roots and Roads

The Metal Archives wheel was spun again, and this time, the album that comes up is one that will be familiar to fans of Orphaned Land. Ex-Orphaned Land member Yossi Sassi has had his own project since 2011, when he was still in Orphaned Land, but now it is a full-time project. The latest album Roots and Roads continues what he started, as it is more on the progressive side with Middle Eastern folk elements. If you're expecting a carbon copy of Orphaned Land, you will be disappointed, so get those expectations out of the way.

For Roots and Roads, the Yossi Sassi Band sets the tone by interweaving traditional Middle Eastern folk with the more relaxed progressive sound. While Sassi performs much of the guitar and Middle Eastern instruments, there is a backing band and the instrumentals are evenly placed along with the tracks with vocals, as provided by various musicians including Sapir Fox, Zaher Zorgati (Myrath), Diana Golbi, and Sassi himself. There are other guest musicians on the album, most notably Bob Katsionis (Firewind) and Bumblefoot (ex-Guns N' Roses). As for how to look at the album, the vocal tracks are more progressive rock while the instrumentals tend to showcase the traditional folk side of the Yossi Sassi Band, and the split personality of the album is actually at its best when both elements come together, as evidenced on tracks such as "Winter," "Root Out," and "Road Less Traveled." Sure, there are lulls on the album that do pull the album down a little, such as "Thundercloud," which is rather airy in its approach, particularly with Sassi's vocals, as they aren't nearly as strong as former band mate Kobi Farhi's. Overall, however, there are more positives from Roots and Roads than there are negatives. As for best tracks, "Road Less Traveled" and "The Religion of Music" are good starts.

While there will always be comparisons between Yossi Sassi's current band and the band he used to be in, it is clear that with his current band, he gets his chance to explore more in the way of his musical creativeness. Despite not being as great as one would have liked, Roots and Roads is a nice album that should give the listener insight as to what he can do musically. If you're looking for something a little different, then Yossi Sassi has something for you in Roots and Roads.

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