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Sabbath Assembly[28th March 2014]
[Svart Records]

01. Let Us Who Mystically Represent…
02. The Burning Cross Of Christ
03. Jehovah On Death
04. I, Satan
05. Lucifer
06. The Four Horsemen

Sabbath Assembly are quite an interesting beast. To quote from their website: “Sabbath Assembly is dedicated to the quest set forth by the Process Church of the Final Judgment, offering their hymns and theology for the current generation.” They are a very ideology-driven band, which isn’t all that uncommon in metal; especially the part about preaching the Judgement. What sets them apart is that they really seem to take it seriously – and rather than make them look silly, they come across more as preachers of this church that they belong to.

Sabbath Assembly formed in 2009, and have released two albums prior to Quaternity: 2010’s Restored To One, and 2012’s acclaimed Ye Are Gods.

“Man has chosen Death, the Ultimate Death. Man has chosen to Lie, the Ultimate Lie. Man has chosen the path of Doom and Devastation. That scene is set and nothing now will change it.”

That Biblical passage is quote on the Sabbath Assembly website – along with many other passages – and it seems the perfect descriptor for the kind of tone and mood they bring to this album. The ideological leanings on this album are very difficult for those who are not Christian to interpret, but they seem to deal with a Final Judgement, and a Unity of God and Satan. The first four songs, not including the intro, deal with the four deities worshipped in the Process Church of Final Judgement, being Judas, Christ, Satan, and Lucifer. The second half is an 18-minute long chilling folk/occult piece that features guest readings of liturgical text by Mat McNerney and Marja Konttinen of Hexvessel. The album also features other guests such as Kevin Hufnagel of Gorguts on guitar, Jessika Kinney (Sunn 0))), Wolves in the Throne Room), Colin Marston of Behold… The Arctopus playing bass, and “Nameless Void” of Negative Plane on organ.

The atmosphere on Quaternity is heavy and laden with mysticism. The opening track “Let Us Who Mystically Represent…” alone sets the strange, Biblical tone for the album, with its dark, ominous female vocals. Your mind might conjure the image of a tent in a desert, filled with strange smoke and incense, with occult symbology everywhere, and an old woman preaching the end sitting in the middle of a circle of candles. The acoustic guitar and female voice from Jamie Myers entwine together in a really nice way, and the other stringed instruments used provide intriguing layers on top of that.

Most of the album sticks with hymnal music, but occasionally forays into riff-powered stoner doom metal. The track “I, Satan” goes with huge, rumbling distorted guitars and deep dissonant basslines, which perhaps goes just as well with the heavy dark atmosphere as the lighter acoustic chords. Another change comes with the use of a male singer on the track “Lucifer”, sounding almost warm and welcoming.

Quaternity is a solid album, and if you can unravel the teachings behind it then it is likely even more enjoyable. As a simple musical vessel, it works all the same; the dark, brooding atmosphere is reminiscent of a distant storm, brewing just behind mountains. Not being a member of the church, it is difficult to know which songs are their own material, and which are hymns that have been interpreted, but that does not matter; the album is a journey that takes the listener through some haunting atmospheres. Neofolk is a delicate genre, and Sabbath Assembly do it quite well here. Quaternity is no masterpiece, but it is a decent experience.


Kevin writer banner Jan 2014