Yossi Sassi – “Desert Butterflies”


Desert_yossiYossi Sassi is a guitarist, most notably until recently for Orphaned Land of which he co-founded. He is a producer, a composer, and has now released 2 albums in his solo capacity. In 2012 Melting Clocks and now ……….  In the band Orphaned Land, we found this metal band combining middle-eastern elements with metal music. Its very unique and they have gained much acclaim through their efforts.

As a solo artist we find Yossi digging a bit deeper and breaking the confinements of the metal influenced Orphaned Land. Yossi Sassi blends East with West, Rock with World music, melodic tunes with progressive passages, and traditional folk instruments with electric riffs. This combination along with is incredible talent makes for an incredible listening experience. I think its safe to say you want easily find another Yossi. With over 20 years of experience as a producer, composer-arranger you can be assured that this guy knows is onions when it comes to releasing high quality music.

Have you ever had a band you have liked that you can just go out to the record shop and buy without listening too, knowing that even without listening to it first, you know its going to be great? Well Yossi’s talent for me is like that. There is a consistency to his music that yields a track record of high quality releases that almost never falls in the cracks of mediocrity.

Yossi plays 17 different types of guitars and traditional instruments, and has been invited to play live and share the stage with artists such as Metallica, Marty Friedman, Steven Wilson,Yehuda Poliker and others. He is also a first level endorsing artist of PRS Guitars, Engl Amps, Elixir Strings and Electro-Harmonix. He has cooperated and recorded with artists from Kuwait to Portugal. He has hundreds of global shows and major festivals in his record, including approximately 100 shows in 30 countries performed in 2010.

It was in January of 2014 that Yossi Sassi announced he is working on a new album, titled ‘Desert Butterflies’ which is the album here under review, a conceptual piece, rich and diverse, which is a continuation of his debut solo release, ‘Melting Clocks’, and the ‘oriental rock’ genre he’s been pioneering and redefining over the years now. It includes musical collaborations with Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal (GUNS N’ ROSES), Marty Friedman (ex-MEGADETH), Mariangela Demurtas (TRISTANIA) and more.

“Yossi Sassi believes in the power of music to bring people together by bridging cultural differences and national strife’s. During his career he has witnessed how music influences people in unusual ways” – Wikipedia.

This pioneer and international artist brings an album that can gently slip you away on a journey of oriental rock. It is not like he buries you under with it but instead allows one to enjoy the unique experience in a balanced and mature setting. Its both a fun and honest expression with lots of melody. The music is set rather to stories than actual songs in many ways, pushing it further down the experimental avenues, but enhancing both its appeal and uniqueness, and rather being a distraction to the songs themselves sets a platform for his various interests and topics which relate close to his heart.

This 11 track album has many standouts, and it sweeps you into its story with “Orient Sun” with its oriental wanderings that casts a beautiful and passionate platform for the rest of the album. “Fata Morgana” brings immediate reflections of Steve Vai. “Neo Ques” is like a soft tasteful drink, very pleasing to the palate, and easy to digest. Literally the music is perfect and the stories are engaging. Beautiful is one word to explain this album.

“Azadi” is set with a deeply rooted Middle Eastern sound, and is another easy listening track that is full of flavour and expression, highlighting the talented creativity of Yossi and his ability to make simple melodies that enrich the moment.

“Believe”  my favourite track on this release with its Eastern  music appeal draws with a soft and gentle swaying of acoustic guitar with a great message to boot. I find that the stories or messages are easy to understand and follow which adds to the experience.

“Inner Oasis” is a melodically sensitive song that is warm to the ear, apply named, the song reflects on that inner retreat to one’s self. The album carries a lot of spiritual narratives and again on a song like “Shedding Soul” which is another introspective invite that serves as a carrier to transport you from your problems to that place of happiness. The songs at large are very positive, and very often seem to point at a light in the darkness.

There are many more great songs on this release, each bring as a diverse flavour as the many musicians that were involved with this recording, but yet keeping to the oriental rock feel without over selling the whole thing, and killing it.

In conclusion this album resonates between a concept and experimental release that utilizes the use of Eastern music to convey the lyrical messages of hope, belief and unity. Its a beautiful landscape displayed with heart and deep honesty.  Its neither complex nor over reaching allowing simplicity to lead you through a easy listening experience. What makes Yossi’s song writing skills such a unique craft  is because of its far reaching cultural and worldly flavour.

Yossi in short is a unique musician, handing off a unique experience to anyone who choose to listen to him. He never imposes himself on you, yet he writes and performs with conviction never letting go of his true feelings which saturates the lyrical content of the album. He does not bend to world perception, nor affiliates directly under a specific label, which makes it even harder to truly box whats his doing here. This album may be far removed in some ways to what one might expect from him in his previous band, Orphaned Land, but regardless if music is your life this albums deserves your attention, and though we might have to scrape deep to find any metal influences here, its strong delivery, and passionate  message and strong melodies should lure you into its unique experience.

Rating: 9.5/10

Written  by Donovan de Necker

Tracks Listing:
1. Orient Sun (4:22)
2. Fata Morgana (4:34)
3. Neo Quest (4:26)
4. Azadi (3:11)
5. Believe (3:29)
6. Desert Butterfly (4:42)
7. Inner Oasis (4:44)
8. Shedding Soul (2:01)
9. Jason’s Butterflies (1:24)
10. Azul (3:27)
11. Cocoon (3:58)
12. Palm Tree Road (Limited Edition Only) (3:23)

– Yossi Sassi / Vocals, Guitars, Bouzouki, Charrango, Oud, Saz, Chumbush, Keyboards
– Or Lubianiker / Electric & Acoustic Bass
– Shay Ifrah / Drums
– Ben Azar / Guitars
– Roei Fridman / Percussion

– Marty Friedman / Guitar Lead
– Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal / Guitar Lead
– Mariangela Demurtas / Vocals
– Erez Lev Ari / Choir vocals, guitars
– Roy Zu-arets / Piano, Hammond
– Daniel Hoffman / Violins
– Itzhak Ventura / Arabic, Turkish and Persian ney
– David Sassi / Choir vocals
– Ariel Qassis / Kanun
– Shlomo Oz / Sitar
– Yosefa Zauosh / Vocals

Record Label: Independent, May 2014

“Melting Clock” (2012)
“Desert Butterflies” (2014)

Weblinks: Facebook / Website / Twitter

Buy the album here:
First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission
Metal Helm

Video below for ‘Cocoon’

Video below “Desert Butterflies” Album Preview.

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