Sabbath Assembly - Quarternity (Svart Records)

Litanies of Light and Darkness...
Release Date: 
28 Mar 2014 - 12:30am

This is not metal. It is utterly beautiful. But it is not metal.

With that out of the way, we continue thusly....Sabbath Assembly have put out another album of music that accompanies the hymns of the Process Church; a religious order that, as far as I understand, believe in the Quaternity of Satan, Lucifer, Christ & Jehovah, hence the title of this album. It's essentially acoustic in nature with the gorgoeus vocal stylings of Jamie Myers singing, chanting and generally being quite haunting to a back-drop of percussion and strings care of Dave 'Xtian' Nuss. There are bags of guests on here too; Jessika Kinney of SUNN O))), Kevin Hufnagel (Gorguts) and Colin Marston (Behold...the Arctopus) to name just a few.

Quaternity opens with Let Us Who Mystically Represent... which kicks off proceedings with layers of vocal against an organ, bells and other delights. The effect is quite beautiful regardless of whether you go for the whole Process belief system or not. It reminds me of Dead Can Dance and it's hauntingly beautiful. The Burning Cross of Christ is next with some fine guitar work set to strummed/picked acoustic guitar (there may even be  a touch of harpsichord in there). The lyrics are well suited to blow your mind, being (again, I presume) of a religious devotional type - and that's what makes this album so intriguing; the intensely mellow instrumentation coupled with lyrics that are, quite often, of a very heavy nature. The string arrangements fit perfectly too. Mother! Hide me in thy skirts, I cannot endure the rapture.

Jehovah on Death, I, Satan and Lucifer follow a similar structure; beautifully executed vocals with all manner of strings, bells etc backing up the strange lyrics that naturally enough focus on the Process pantheon of deities - though I must admit, I, Satan has a tad more grunt than some of the other tracks on here, with the lyrics delivered in a suitably vehement manner. Powerful, passionate stuff, and it's a damn sight darker than a lot of the stuff some 'try hard' black metal bands put out. Lucifer could almost be a love song, such is the depth of devotion apparent on this one. It's only the fact that 'Lucifer, Lucifer, Lucifer' gets a bloody good outing that you'd pick up on it being something else (actually I suppose it is a love song between an adherent and his/her god).

Finally The Four Horsemen closes the album with an epic 18 minute track that should just blow you away with spoken word (such as the cheery "Humanity is doomed") combined with those bells, chanting and layered vocals again. Perhaps it may just be powerful enough (or have enough subliminal messages) to get you to convert. But regardless of whether you're into the religious aspects or not, this is a beautiful, beautiful piece of work.