Underworld, London, UK - 21/5
Ye Are Gods
Written by: EW on 02/10/2012 23:12:33
Sabbath Assembly's 2010 debut album, "Restored To One", was without doubt the most unusual of all the records I've reviewed over the years, but it has remained one of my personal favourites and a release I have turned to with great frequency since review due to it's quasi-Christian bent and simmering, odd beauty. In musical and lyrical terms "Ye Are Gods" is not far removed, but in the vocal department we have lost the irrepressible Jex Thoth, a woman who epitomises spirit with a voice I could legitimately claim to have a crush on, to be replaced by Jamie Myers, she also of old part-time Wolves in the Throne Room (?) fame. Myer's voice has a certain moodiness to it that works well sung in the likes of "Christ, You Bring the End" and brilliant acoustic "Bless Our Lord and Master" but her heavy spoken word, which is found aplenty in "Let Us All Give Praise and Validation" and "Exit" retains an uneasy fit with the fragility of the music.
That music, "Restored To One" fans will be pleased to hear, is very much still the same mixture of psychedelia ("Exit"), dreamy-pop ("Bless Our Lord and Master"), and gospel ("The Love Of The Gods", "In The Time Of Abaddon II") which marks this band out as such an unclassifiable entity. At all times the tempo is so lazy and languid I feel like it should be best listened to laying down if only I wasn't restricted to most of my listening on the work commute, where such things are usually frowned upon. Changing feel distinctly from track-to-track means "Ye Are Gods" is still moving at all times, as it does not take the opportunity to rely on the kind of generic Christian pop/gospel music formulas that would spell disaster for this band and in the process offers enough encouragement for the likes of myself to carry on when a more aggressive tempo is but the norm.
Ah yes, and the lyrics. The diction on Jesus v Satan is extremely profound, with such frequent protestations given to their unity through the reconciliation of hate into love that non-believers like I, and probably believers alike, will be moved to deep thought more than so when listening to (or reading the lyrics of) most extreme metal records. This is a band for whom an element of prior knowledge is essential before listening, otherwise the strength of these decrees would be a real test of loyalty to make it to the end.
Ultimately "Ye Are Gods" follows the same path as "Restored To One" did but without the same psychedelic enrichment as the debut. This in part through Thoth's vocal absence and part through a slight drop in the uplifting spirituality of the songs on offer but this is still likely to be the most surreal album you’ll hear all year.
Download: Bless Our Lord and Master, Christ, You Bring the End
For The Fans Of: Heavily religious themed music
Release date: 28.09.2012