Ex-Orphaned Land guitarist Yossi Sassi is back with his third solo album. “Roots and Roads” does follow the same path and musical direction as his previous work, both solo and with Orphaned Land. “Roots and Roads” is another bit of “oriental prog rock” as Sassi calls it. It has that distinct Middle Eastern vibe to it.
Firs the good news, the songs are well written and the playing is of the highest order. The bad news is that the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Sassi was not the vocalist for Orphaned Land and with good reason. On “Roots and Roads,” he can hold a melody but his voice isn’t very strong nor does it have a good tone to it. This is only underscored more by having guest vocalists which are excellent singers.
Zaher Zorgati of Myrath guests on “The Religion of Music” and he can flat out SING. This only makes it harder to listen to Sassi sing the verses of that song. On “Root Out,” Diana Golbi, Israeli Pop Idol winner, carries Sassi through out the song. Both are amazing singers and perhaps Sassi should consider employing one or both as permanent vocalist for his band.
The other issue is the mix. It lacks the power and epic vibe that his former band had. The drums are a little too far back and even the guitars lack the grit that they need. The acoustic instruments sound good but at times too loud. On the all acoustic “Mr. NoSoul,” things are rather noisy and it sounds more like a demo than finished product.
I applaud Sassi for following his own path and still being very creative. There’s enough on “Roots and Roads” to please the more die hard Orphaned Land fans. However, if you are like me and prefer the bigger sound on the classic “The Never Ending Way of ORWarriOR” or even the new Myrath album, you might be disappointed.
2. Palm Dance
3. Root Out
4. Mr. NoSoul
5. Madame TwoSouls
6. The Religion Of Music
9. Road Less Traveled
10. Rizes Kai Dromoi
11. Bird Without A Tree
12. Stronger Than Ever