Review: Sabbath Assembly – Quaternity

Sabbath Assembly-Quaternity-cover

“Humanity is doomed.”

Quaternity is the third album from Sabbath Assembly, a bizarre rock band that formed to recreate the hymns of apocalyptic 1960’s religious cult The Process Church of The Final Judgement. Their first record (Restored to One) caught my attention because their original singer was Jex Thoth, which was enough of an endorsement to at least check them out, even if they did sing about God and seemed more than a bit ‘churchy’. Spend a little time with this band, though, and you will soon discover that there is nothing traditionally Christian about their music or philosophy.

The Process Church were polytheistic, and believed that a balance between Lucifer and Jehovah was the only way to approach religion. Worshiping either one or the other just didn’t make sense to them. There isn’t space to go into detail about their beliefs here, but there is more than enough information about them online, and in the books Love Sex, Fear Death and Propaganda and the Holy Writ of The Process Church of Final Judgement.

Jex Thoth left and returned to her own band after touring to promote the first record and was replaced by Jamie Myers (Hammers of Misfortune, Wolves in The Throneroom). Myers is also present on this record, which is a much heavier, darker and experimental sounding affair than the previous one (Ye Are Gods).

There is more original material on offer here than the first two records, presumably borne out of a desire to expand the band musically (and possibly because they ran out of hymns!). The twee, folky, acoustic guitar numbers that run throughout Ye Are Gods are replaced here by more Gothic sounding tracks like ‘Lucifer’:

Quaternity has a cohesive sound that was missing from Ye Are Gods but it is quite short. The majority of the run time is taken up by the 18-minute closing track ‘The Four Horsemen’ (not a Metallica cover!). This is an occult epic complete with spoken word passages that will go a long way towards convincing you that the world really is fucked and all four horsemen are working overtime to finish the planet off.

It will take more than one listen to fully absorb Quaternity, but this is a good thing. This is not an instantly accessible rock/metal record, and like the band’s previous efforts, it makes no attempt to dumb things down for the listener. This is a record for college graduates and people who like to think. Just listen to it in the dark (maybe light a few candles) and just feel the effect as you contemplate mankind’s absurd position in the universe. It’s extremely creepy and unnerving, but quite interesting at the same time. Each record gets heavier and darker than the last and there is a real sense of lost innocence when comparing this to their debut. I don’t know if this is intentional or just a bi-product of the band’s musical evolution, but it’s very effective.

Sabbath Assembly are touring soon with Uzala. Try and see them live if you can. I caught some of their set at last year’s Roadburn (I had to get out of there because Witch Mountain clashed with their set). It’s worth it if you get the chance.

Quaternity is out now on Svart Records.

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