Sassi has made his reputation as the founding guitarist for Israeli prog metal band Orphaned Land. Steven Wilson and Kirk Hammett are just two celebrity fans of the band’s blend of metal and Middle Eastern influences (taken from both sides of the region’s cultural schism). Sassi brings much of that flavour to his debut solo release.
Melting Clocks is an accomplished collection of songs stemming from the concept of ‘a day in the life’, from the alarm clock of the throbbing opener Drive (Satriani-isms imbued with Arabic flourishes), to multi-layered rocker The Calling: Rush Hour and wah-wah-heavy Another Day In The Office.
With its multi-layered swathes of guitar The Routine even features a contribution from former Cacophony/Megadeth axe virtuoso Marty Friedman. Sassi’s own trademark guitar tone is beautiful throughout – thick, articulated and controlled (some more off-the-chain moments wouldn’t have gone amiss).
The vocals scattered throughout Sahara Afternoon and the plaintive Simple Things are weak in comparison with the instrumental goings-on, but Melting Clocks was clearly a labour of love for Sassi, and it’s hard to resist.