Review & Full Album Premiere: The Sabbathian, Latum Alterum

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on January 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the sabbathian latum alterum

[Click play above to stream The Sabbathian’s Latum Alterum in full. Album is out Jan. 25 on Svart Records.]

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The construction of the band reminds somewhat of the earliest incarnation of Hour of 13, which was Davis on instruments and standalone-singer Phil Swanson, but while The Sabbathian has its doomed elements, the overarching feel of the band is different and entirely more grand. Of course, a large portion of the credit for that has to go to Gulbrandsen, who makes even coming in for the first lines of closer “Evig Hvile/Libera Me… (Outro)” in the pocket of the beat feel stately, but even in Davis‘ breadth of guitar tone on the earlier “Liti Kjersti,” which in another context would easily be black metal, there’s a resonant grandeur that complements the work done on vocals. From the beginning of the chanting opener “Requiem…” through the slow-moving “The Brightest Light,” Latum Alterum — Latin for “on the other side” — the progression of the album feels geared for maximum listener consumption, and the intercontinental duo get going, there’s nothing stopping the feeling of plunging further and further into a deep-reaching metallic abyss. It’s their first album, but it’s nobody’s first album, if you know what I mean, and the experience of knowing how they want to sound and how to make that happen is writ large in the material.

Though rich in its melody, it is not easy listening. Though there’s nothing in its run one would consider abrasive given proper indoctrination and openness to a consistent distorted wash, but Latum Alterum requires attention. As it makes its way toward and through nine-minute centerpiece “Head of a Traitor,” which boasts a guest appearance from Liv Kristine of Leaves’ Eyes, and onward to the final echoing organ and choral lines of the outro portion of the finale, the tracklisting demands engagement. It’s worth the effort of a headphones-on experience, thanks in no small part to the depth of its mix and the reaches the sound seems to find. Even as “The Brightest Light” seems to dig its heels into engrossing darkness, the layering of vocals and details in the forward push of guitar, bass and drums gives an impression of nuance that the rest of the album continues to build upon. “The Brightest Light” finishes just before the seven-minute mark, but is hypnotic in its fluid execution — and when I say “execution,” I’m thinking guillotine — and cedes ground to “Liti Kjersti,” which derives from a Norwegian folk song telling the story of a girl meeting a dwarf or troll in the mountains, and again, pushes into more outwardly extreme sounds in the guitar.

It’s thanks in part to the steady groove of the drums that the song doesn’t tip over into a more outwardly extreme spirit, but there’s no doubt the motion is dragging the listener deeper into the progression under way, and of course there’s no letup with “Head of a Traitor” in that regard either, the longest song on Latum Alterum beginning with a creep of intertwined guitar lines before bursting forward in a sudden surge, and even before the first verse, causing one to imagine hearing buried screams so deep in the mix as to barely be audible. This is prior to the arrival of the harmonies between Gulbrandsen and Kristine, which are masterful by the midpoint of the track and set up a second half of continuing buzz and a stretch of guitar topped with final lyrics that ends by giving way to residual noise and the immediately carbonized feel of “One Night of Cruelty.”

These turns and shifts are there, and swiftly applied, but can be easy to miss the first time through if, again, one isn’t giving the proper level of interactivity to the listen. Latum Alterum in its side B delves even further in misanthropic and grueling darkness, as both “One Night of Cruelty” and the aptly-titled “Embrace the Dark” seem to careen downward, the latter with a punctuated march that’s as majestic as it is weighted. “Embrace the Dark” ends with lower register vocals that would seem to set up a bleaker turn in “Evig Hvile/Libera Me… (Outro),” but the truth is things are plenty bleak by then anyway. The finisher might be another folk song by Bjørn EidsvĂĄg reinterpreted, or there’s a Nortt song from 2003 with the same name, I’m not really sure, but wherever it comes from The Sabbathian make it their own no less than they did with “Liti Kjersti,” reinforcing the atmospheric shimmer and downer spirit of the proceedings with a patiently unfolding rhythm with the vocals woven over-top.

There isn’t so much a grand finale as a dirge march outward, and as the last strains cut off and let the outro take hold, organ and vocals, the scope of Latum Alterum continues to be among the album’s primary assets. Whatever stylistic tags one might want to apply or force upon it, The Sabbathian create their own sonic persona on their first long-player, and do so with a sure-minded purpose toward ambient weight. Their prior experience on the EP — which was more in a vein of cult metal and is included in a 2CD edition of this release — helped solidify their approach, but Latum Alterum is on a different level entirely for The Sabbathian, and though invariably geographical complications are a factor, one hopes they continue along this path of resonant drear.

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The Sabbathian Announce Jan. 25 Release for Latum Alterum

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

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Following the debut EP Ritual Rites, which Svart issued in 2014, The Sabbathian will issue their debut long-player on Jan. 25. The group has pared down from a trio to a two-piece since the EP, with multi-instrumentalist Chad Davis (Gnu, Jenzeits, Hour of Thirteen, so many others) and Norewgian-native vocalist Anette Uvaas Guldbransen (NĂ ttsòl, Mäctätus) as its sole inhabitants — though Liv Kristine of Leaves’ Eyes makes a guest appearance as well — and if the band itself positions the songs more in line with classic metal and doom. A comparison to early Bathory is always a mixed bag: How early are we talking? But with that intrigue added, I’m only more on the hook for listening to the album when the time comes.

Art and info came down the PR wire:

the sabbathian latum alterum

THE SABBATHIAN set release date for SVART debut album

Today, Svart Records sets January 25th, 2019 as the international release date for The Sabbathian’s highly anticipated debut album, Latum Alterum, on CD and vinyl LP formats.

The words “highly anticipated” come quickly to mind when talking of the US-Norwegian project The Sabbathian and the chance that there will be new material from them. The band, formed by Chad Davis (Hour of 13 and many more) and Anette Uvaas Guldbrandsen (NĂ ttsòl), released their debut EP, Ritual Rites, on Svart Records in 2014. The duo’s personal approach to old-school doom won over many metal hearts, and the wait for new material is over in January 2019.

The Sabbathian’s debut full-length, Latum Alterum, is scheduled for release on January 25th on LP, digital, and limited double CD (including Ritual Rites EP on CD for the first time). The album is a considerably darker affair compared to the EP, a step away from the origins of doom metal and towards the heavier vistas traversed by Nordic metalmongers such as Bathory or Candlemass. Vocalist Anette Uvaas Guldbransen describes the album thus: “The overall theme can be described as slightly morbid, as it is very much about passing over to the other side – latum alterum. The odd one out is the song ‘Embrace The Dark,’ which retains the sound of the EP. The intro and outro tracks are meant as a way of blessing the souls on their journey.”

“The way we work on the music takes time,” adds Guldbransen. “Chad would send me the music and I then work my way through the songs. As the music is quite different now, I must admit I had quite a struggle at first with some of the tracks. My best friend Liv Kristine Espenæs has joined me on one track, mainly because I thought her voice would lift the song and also because I love her voice. I have sung on several songs with her ex-band Leaves’ Eyes, and now I felt it was her turn to sing on something I made.”

First track premiere and preorder info to be revealed shortly.

Tracklisting for The Sabbathian’s Latum Alterum
1. Requiem… (Intro)
2. The Brightest Light
3. Liti Kjersti
4. Head Of A Traitor
5. One Night Of Cruelty
6. Embrace The Dark
7. Evig Hvile / Libera me… (outro)

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The Sabbathian, Ritual Rites (2014)

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