Reviews

Sabbath AssemblySabbath Assembly
Album: Quaternity
Label: Svart
Tracks: 6
Website: http://www.sabbathassembly.com

And now for something completely different. Commencing with a purple gatefold sleeve opening to a triangle split into four equal parts labelled Satan, Christ, Lucifer and Jehovah - seeming to represent the balance between good and evil - in fact a philosophy which embraces the notion that we can never supress either one or the other and should embrace that belief. Quoting William Blake and his 'Proverbs Of Hell' to represent 'the fourfold nature of man and his relationship to the divine' is quite an ominous start when you're more used to reading about fair maidens on May mornings although maybe we're just one step further down the line from the traditional folk murder ballad, yet Sabbath Assembly may appear quite some way down that line

Based around the duo of Jamie Myers on vocals and Dave Nuss on percussion, there are musical guests who add to the sonic palette. Opening with the sound of grand organs and what sound like semi-religious chants, musically, 'Quaternity' provides an interesting soundtrack to some thought-provoking ideas. It's a quite a restrained and acoustic based sound - quite bleak and cheerless on 'Jehovah On Death' which has some emotive cello while on the other hand, the track 'Lucifer' has a more dreamy and faraway feel about it. For something which is a bit more sinister, 'I Satan' has a much more ominous atmosphere, both in its musical composition and lyrically taking inspiration from the Process text 'Satan on War' and 'Inno A Satana', a poem by Giosue Carducci (check out www.churchofsatan.com). It wouldn't be amiss alongside a death or doom metal soundtrack or at least one of Tony Iommi's trademark lumbering riffs to accompany it and probably represents the more extreme end of where Sabbath Assembly are at.

The centrepiece however is the lengthy 'The Four Horsemen' - normally a whole side of a record, the twenty minute piece was written and conceived and written in anticipation of 21/12/12 - the anticipated date of some cataclysmic events or other. Part spoken part sung over minimal backing, their doom laden big statement may well need several plays to become established - maybe there's something much deeper in the concept and philosophy which might be clearer to some listeners, yet equally there's fun to be had in googling all the reference points through the album if you're that way inclined.

Whether they have succeeded or not in their aim to bring "moving and transformational music for the current generation" - who knows - perhaps it needs someone with a greater appreciation of their values to comment on quite an intriguing release.

Mike Ainscoe