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Yossi Sassi and the Oriental Rock Orchestra – Hear and Dare Award winner

Yossi Sassi and the Oriental Rock Orchestra
Hear and Dare
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 08 March 2021, 1:57 AM

Yossi Sassi is a veteran multi-instrumentalist, from Israel. The idea behind this project is “to pay homage to musicians and works written out of magical moments between people who share one-time moments. From album to album the focus turns more on the musicians themselves and what each of the fantastic Nine members of the Oriental Rock Orchestra can bring out of themselves, when no boundaries are set for it…no light-hearted recording, no pre-planning though and songs written - but no "lock-in" on the specific roles of each player.” The album contains ten tracks.

“Brotherhood” leads off the album. The song opens with bass guitars and Eastern melodies. The vocals are more like chants. It turns just a little dark after the half-way point, with more instruments picking up the melody line. “The Mind Spirit” begins with more of those Eastern melodies from a variety of instruments. The main melody line is hypnotic, and there are also some meter shifts. The pace then begins to hasten, along with some hand claps. “Hear and Dare” is heavy with guitar and vocals. A darkness permeates the song, like a warning sign. “The sands of time are shifting” Mats sings. He adds “the final battle has begun.”

“Benjamin’s Journey” is a little longer, beginning with the steady thump of bass along with some acoustical guitars. A nice lead guitar passage is laid down, and the song has a melancholy sound, as if the journey does not end well. “Gates of Ishtar” is a short, under-three-minute blast of fast-moving instruments along with more of those claps. The meter shifts are hard to keep up with, and you can tell Yossi is an accomplished songwriter. “Gia Sigouria” features the vocals of Christos Dantis. He has a smooth delivery in an otherwise choppy song from the instruments. It opens up in the chorus to something that you can sing along with.

“Levitating” begins with easy listening acoustical guitars that build a nice, positive melody. Picture yourself on the white shoreline with no one in sight and a soft breeze flowing through you. You don’t have a care in the world. Some lead guitar notes pick up the melody a bit later, along with some rugged bass notes. You have the feeling that Yossi could really cut loose, but he rightly favors the development of melody to showing off his individual talents.

“Night Flight” is a nine-minute opus. It begins with soft guitar chords and bass notes, with some light percussion in the background. It builds slowly with the addition of lead guitar notes and other instrumentation. The song exudes positivity and a warm outlook on life. Or Lubianiker does a fantastic job with the bass in this song in particular, but really on the entire album. “Kostas” is a shorter song with some opening swing, from bass and lead guitars dancing together oh so nicely. The duo sound like they have been playing together for years. The sound builds and then drops to vocals “oohs” to completion.

“Hope” closes the album…an aptly fitting closing song. Smooth chords from an instrument I am not familiar with fill the air, lifting up your psyche from within. The flute notes are very charming here as well. Let me end this review by stating a simple but insignificant fact…this is not Metal. What it is, however, is sublime music from obviously passionate musicians. In the beginning, Yossi stated that the band members have “no lock-in rolls,” which I find amazing because the songs are so well written, and so well structured, that you can’t help think that this cannot be true. Yet, it is…a further testament to the songwriting abilities of YOSSI SASSI AND THE ORIENTAL ROCK ORCHESTRA. Let yourself be swept away with the melodies here, and throw all your cares and worries out the window.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Brotherhood
2. The Mind Spirit
3. Hear and Dare
4. Benjamin's Journey
5. Gates of Ishtar
6. Gia Sigouria
7. Levitating
8. Night Flight
9. Kostas
10. Hope
Yossi Sassi – Vocals, Guitars, Bouzoukitara, Bouzouki, Charango, Saz
Or Lubianiker – Electric Bass
Shay Ifrah – Drums
Ben Azar – Guitars, solo on "Hear & Dare"
Roei Fridman – Percussion
Danielle Sassi – Flute, Tenor Flute
Sarel Ha’cohen – Kanun
Yogev Levy – Ney

Guest musicians:

Mats Levén – Lead Vocals on "Hear and Dare"
Christos Dantis – Vocals on "Gia Sigouria"
Emil Guseinov – Viola
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 15 May 2021

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