CD Reviews

Yossi Sassi - 'Melting Clocks' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     August 07, 2012    
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Progressive music featuring fantastic guitar playing and intricately crafted songs.

Following on from the success of their last album ‘The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR’ and recent DVD ‘The Road To OR-Shalem’, Oriental Metallers Orphaned Land would appear to be taking a well earned break. However with the fact that ‘Melting Clocks’ from the band’s guitarist Yossi Sassi is the second OL related release I’ve be lucky enough to review for this issue of Fireworks (the other being the Kobi Fahri compiled ‘Oriental Metal’ compilation), it would be fair to suggest that sitting around isn’t something these guys do well.

‘Melting Clocks’ is Yossi’s first solo endeavour and one he uses to offer up some themes that will be familiar to Orphaned Land fans, but in a way that is far enough removed from his main outfit to make this an extremely worthwhile solo album. Oddly I’d suggest it may actually be more progressive and accessible than Orphaned Land. The Middle-Eastern, or as Yossi calls them ‘Oriental’ flavours that this multi-talented guitarist is renowned for are in evidence across this album, but instead of following the progressive/power metal blueprint of OL, ‘Melting Clocks’ offers up a conceptual, mainly instrumental take on things that often feels like Joe Satriani jamming with Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson. It may sound like a odd combination, however it makes for an eclectic, yet completely believable release and one that is made all the better courtesy of contributions from one-time Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman. The album’s story is a journey through any ordinary day, from getting out of bed, to sitting in traffic or the emotions that a failed, unfulfilled idea may bring. As the album’s title suggests, a ticking clock and the passing of time are never far away, something emphasised by recurring musical themes appearing as the album takes you on its voyage.

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Opening track ‘Drive’ gives a strong idea of what to expect, with an easy-going Satriani like singing guitar groove weaving in and out of Eastern instrumentation and introspection. It is a beautiful, captivating beginning, but one that also rocks in a surprisingly bluesy manner, illustrating the clashes of styles and approaches that are married together so expertly. The likes of ‘Fields Of Sunrise’ takes things into progressive territory, with piano and acoustic guitar ebbing and flowing through changing time signatures and another beautiful guitar solo, while ‘Another Day In The Office’ uses similar ideas, but executes them in a heavier, riff-laden style. Somehow remaining remarkably cohesive, the rest of the album varies from the plucked acoustic and violin backed ‘Sunset’ to the thumping drums and riff of ‘Ain’t Good Enough’ (a track featuring, I presume, Yossi’s rather uneven vocals), via the pulsating Eastern themes of ‘Numbers World’ and the guitar harmonics and stunning female vocals of ‘Melting Thoughts’.

Not the most instant of releases, ‘Melting Clocks’ becomes a little beauty that reveals its inner charm and subtlety the more you spend time with it. Lovers of progressive music featuring fantastic guitar playing and intricately crafted songs will find a huge amount to keep them coming back for more.

Steven Reid

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