Yossi Sassi was the lead guitarist and founding member of the Israelian Progressive Metal band Orphaned Land, and that was something I knew of. What I didn’t know is that for some years now he has been following a solo career, and he released 3 studio albums so far, with ‘Roots and Roads’ being his new one.
For those who are familiar with the sound of Orphaned land, the sound of his solo albums will not come as a surprise. But to those who don’t know him, I should mention that his music style is something between Progressive Rock heavily influenced by the traditional music styles of Israel and other Middle East and Mediterranean countries, such as Turkey and Greece for example. Or is it the other way round? Because in my opinion, especially this album can be easily characterized as Ethnic, heavily influenced by Progressive Rock though (among other music genres). (The truth is that I couldn’t possibly categorize the album under only one music genre).
The musicianship is superb, but this shouldn’t come as a surprise, since Yossi is an excellent musician and a multi-instrumentalist, but further than that he has some very good musicians participating in the album. So, further than the 5 members of his band, there are 14 more musicians present, (including the excellent Greek keyboard player Bob Katsionis), singing and playing a big variety of instruments, which are responsible for the very beautiful and rather unique sound of the album.
The album includes 12 songs, plus 3 more in the limited edition, and each one of them has something to offer to the listener. The album includes some beautiful melodic tracks, like ‘Bird without a Tree’ for example, there are also some more ‘Prog – influenced’ so to say songs, some Oriental-influenced ones, and there is even one totally influenced by the Greek music, named Rizes kai Dromoi, which means Roots and Roads in Greek. (Great song by the way).
Another interesting fact about the album, is the sound of ‘Bouzoukitara’ which is an “invention” of Yossi, which is a double instrument, combining a guitar and a bouzouki. Really interesting and unique sound I must say!
I don’t think there is any reason to write more, because I believe you got the main idea of the album and its style. The truth is that, it is so different and unique, that you have to listen to it in order to be able to understand what I am talking about. But have in mind that you might need a more thorough listening in order to fully appreciate it.
My rating would be: 3.5 out of 5.0 stars
By clicking on the following YT link, you will be able to listen to the album's opening song 'Bird without a Tree' in order to get an idea.