Sabbath Assembly Release Rites of Passage May 12 on Svart

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan


Six albums deep, Sabbath Assembly remain something of an anomaly even in the cult rock set. Their last outing, 2015’s self-titled, made no effort to shy away from its metallic underpinnings, and between that and the member changes that seem to surround the group on the regular, I’m not even a little confident in predicting what their new one, titled Rites of Passage, might have to say for itself.

A May 12 release date has been marked by Svart Records, and it’s almost certain they’ll leak some audio prior to that, but Sabbath Assembly has proven elusive since their heady conceptual days around 2009’s Eno ot Derotser and 2010’s Restored to One, so yeah, what we’re getting this time around is anyone’s best guess.

And not knowing, frankly, is part of the fun.

The PR wire brings art and details:


SABBATH ASSEMBLY set release date for new SVART album

Today, Svart Records sets May 12th as the international release date for Sabbath Assembly’s highly anticipated sixth album, Rites of Passage. The album shall be released on vinyl, CD, and digital formats.

Led by vocalist Jamie Myers (ex-Hammers of Misfortune), Sabbath Assembly anno 2017 features guitarist Kevin Hufnagel (Gorguts, Dysrhythmia), who has been with the band since 2011; original Sabbath Assembly drummer Dave Nuss; bassist Johnny Deblase, who also played on the band’s self-titled album; and the new addition of second guitarist Ron Varod (Kayo Dot, Psalm Zero, Zvi). Rites of Passage marks a moment in which Sabbath Assembly truly “comes of age” as a unique combination of its members, creating progressive metal influenced by Gorguts and Hammers of Misfortune while maintaining a melodic edge true to the roots of the band in the hymnody of the Process Church of the Final Judgment.

Thematically, Rites of Passage is a reflection on the complexity of the transitional stages of life. Ethnographer Arnold van Gennep first defined “rites of passage” in 1960 as birth, childhood, puberty, marriage, parenthood, religious initiation, and funerals. In our current age, when many eschew these specific rites, Sabbath Assembly’s newest songs define transitional moments based on experiences in their own lives that have left them feeling truly changed. The songs on Rites of Passage include stories of losing one’s religion (rather than initiation), dissolution of a relationship (rather than marriage), and managing the dementia and physical decline of a loved one (as more profound than a funeral rite).

In a time when others in the occult rock genre remain preoccupied with fantasy and dark mysticism, Sabbath Assembly finds the most profound of transformative moments in everyday experience. Rites of Passage presents its listeners with a set of songs that the band hopes will mirror their own experiences of transition, and in some way provide necessary passage. First track premiere as well as video to be revealed imminently. Cover art, by Alex Reisfar, and tracklisting are as follows:

Tracklisting for Sabbath Assembly’s Rites of Passage
1. Shadows Revenge
2. Angels Trumpets
3. I Must Be Gone
4. Does Love Die
5. Twilight of God
6. Seven Sermons to the Dead
7. The Bride of Darkness

Sabbath Assembly, “Apparition of the Revolution” official video

Tags: , , , , ,

Sabbath Assembly Unveil New Video for “Apparition of the Revolution”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 16th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

sabbath assembly

“Apparition of the Revolution” is the second video to be made for a track from Sabbath Assembly‘s self-titled fifth album, newly released on Svart Records and positioned as the band’s casting off of their churchly cultish ways. The prior one, “Ave Satanas,” was essentially a horror movie, centered as many are around the destruction of the family unit, in this case by bloody knife-wielding murder. Fair enough. “Apparition of the Revolution” is significantly less narrative, given as is the track itself more to an atmospheric impression of its otherworldly ambience and dark, no less sadistic intent. If I compared it to a less experimental version of latter-day Jarboe, I’d hope not to take a punch from so much disagreement.

The track itself nears six minutes, but much of that is geared toward setting the stage and building tension to a resoundingly heavy payoff, sultry images and malevolent croon meeting with an underlying violence nowhere near as direct as “Ave Satanas,” but still certainly present. When its full breadth kicks in, a dirge-style march gets underway, guitars churning behind in a manner that contrasts some of the Mercyful Fatery they showed last time around but stands in line with classic metal one way or another.

Feel free to dig in below, and be rewarded for patience and openness of mind:

Sabbath Assembly, “Apparition of the Revolution” official video

The track hails from the band’s highly anticipated fifth album, Sabbath Assembly, released on September 11th via Svart Records. It marks a new beginning for the band: its “Great Schism” from the Process Church of the Final Judgment. Like the albatross falling from the mariner’s neck, the band has freed itself from the cult’s theology in order to explore its own creations – with no special guest appearances or narrative frills. Sabbath Assembly is, in fact, a decidedly metal offering, for in the writing, the band returned to its own personal roots in the dark age of the ’80s. These are Sabbath Assembly’s own “hymns” for their own “church” – a place marked by passion, devotion, and the gospel of metal.

Regarding the video for “Apparition of the Revolution,” the band states: “The promise of cults is superficial. Personal grandeur, spiritual elevation, heavenly reward – it all turns out smoke and mirrors in the end. The promised ‘revolution’ never comes; yet when in the throes of the cult, the apparition of it looms large, ghostly, immanent. This song and video is about the recognition of the ghost, seeing the apparition in all its mist. It’s about the crumbling and burning of the symbols of the cult, and the powdery dust which they become. Goodbye, Process Church of the Final Judgment. As it is, so be it.”

Sabbath Assembly website

Sabbath Assembly on Bandcamp

Sabbath Assembly on Twitter

Svart Records

Tags: , , , ,

Sabbath Assembly Announce Self-Titled LP Due Sept. 11

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 23rd, 2015 by JJ Koczan

sabbath assembly

If the prospect of Sabbath Assembly casting off the cultish tropes of their genre even in part piques your interest, the band have made it easy to get introduced to the crux of their fifth album, which is self-titled perhaps as much to showcase a defiant spirit as to declare who they are as an act less based on Satan-loving dogma. Not that the two are mutually exclusive necessarily, but you know what I mean. Their new video, “Ave Satanas,” still has plenty of cultistry to it, even if that comes encased in Mercyful Fate-style riffing. Has it been long enough for proto-black metal to become a style? Yeah, probably.

Art, info, tour dates and bloodshed-prone video, courtesy of the PR wire:

sabbath assembly sabbath assembly

SABBATH ASSEMBLY set release date for fifth album, premiere first video and album trailer

Today, Svart Records announces September 11th as the international release date for Sabbath Assembly’s highly anticipated fifth album, Sabbath Assembly. It marks a new beginning for the band: its “Great Schism” from the Process Church of the Final Judgment. Like the albatross falling from the mariner’s neck, the band has freed itself from the cult’s theology in order to explore its own creations – with no special guest appearances or narrative frills. Sabbath Assembly is, in fact, a decidedly metal offering, for in the writing, the band returned to its own personal roots in the dark age of the ’80s. These are Sabbath Assembly’s own “hymns” for their own “church” – a place marked by passion, devotion, and the gospel of metal.

The primary thematic difference between Sabbath Assembly and its predecessors is that this album is about embodiment, addressing all the power and grit required to endure our human existence, rather than exploring spiritual philosophy alone. While the songs reference occult literature, such as Robert Chambers’ The King in Yellow, Valeri Briussov’s The Fiery Angel of Desire, and The Gospel of Thomas, these texts were chosen not because of their abstraction from the mundane, but rather their propensity to embrace it as a means to spiritual understanding. If something is to be taken away from the new Sabbath Assembly album, it is this: the mysteries of occult philosophy are revealed not through celestial charts and diagrams, but rather the subtleties of earthly love and loss. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:

Tracklisting for Sabbath Assembly’s Sabbath Assembly
1. Risen From Below
2. Confessing a Murder
3. Burn Me (I Thirst for Fire)
4. Only You
5. The Fiery Angel of Desire
6. Ave Satanas
7. Sharp Edge of the Earth
8. Apparition of the Revolution
9. Shadows of Emptiness

Sabbath Assembly features Jamie Myers on vocals, David Christian on drums, Kevin Hufnagel on guitar, and the new addition of Johnny DeBlase on bass. The album was recorded by Colin Marston at Menegroth: The Thousand Caves Studio in Queens, NY. Comments drummer David Christian: “When we started the writing for this record, I was reading through hundreds of pages of Process texts, hunting for inspiration. All the writing seemed so stiff and jilted. Then I came across a letter that founder DeGrimston had written after having been excommunicated from the Church addressing the remaining congregation. It was so tragic, so moving – so much more heartfelt than his theological treatises. There was no talk of judgment or revenge in the letter, only bewilderment and heartache – but also forgiveness. My heart cracked open; I called Jamie and the band to discuss this new inspiration, and out came all these songs of heartbreak – our own songs, connecting us to all those who have ever experienced the pain of loss and the suffering of grief.” See/hear a vision of that heartbreak with the first video from Sabbath Assembly, “Ave Satanas,” which can be viewed exclusively HERE. A video trailer for the new Sabbath Assembly album can be viewed HERE.

In other Sabbath Assembly news, the band have confirmed all dates & venues for their upcoming “From Darkness to Darkness” tour with Relapse recording artists Christian Mistress. The full list of dates are as follows:


Sabbath Assembly, “Ave Satanas” official video

Tags: , , , , ,

Cough, Witch Mountain, Hexvessel, Sabbath Assembly, Tombstoned & Crown Join Roadburn 2013 Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 4th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Richmond-based cult sludgers Cough will play Jus Oborn of Electric Wizard‘s curated event at Roadburn 2013. The Virginian outfit have been at the fore of the post-Electric Wizard pack, reveling in horrific atmospheres and massive, droning riffs, so they’re a good fit on what’s quickly becoming an eclectic bill. Their last release was an ultra-badass 2010 split vinyl on Forcefield Records with like-minded British purveyors The Wounded Kings (review here), and I don’t know if maybe they’ll have new material on hand by April, but it’s worth hoping for.

In addition to Cough, Witch Mountain will play Roadburn and Sabbath Assembly, Hexvessel, Crown and Tombstoned have joined the lineup as well.

This came courtesy of the fest’s website:

“Firstly, raise your withered stumps and welcome ye brothers of the bong, Richmond, Virginia bruisers and losers…(cue intro to Sweet Leaf)… Cough… rising through the fog like resin-zombies the appropriately named band are the epitome of evil stoned doom”, says Electric Wizard‘s Jus Oborn. “Violent, bleak and wasted… Ritual Abuse was genius… burnout and clogged with resin. We loved it!! Since then we have had many late night smokeouts with these kindred spirits and hopefully many, many more. The Acid Orgy will be heavily laced with Smoke…Hail Cough!!!”

“Once there was a legend of black cloaked cultists that haunted 1960s London, ominous and dark wearing strange occult symbols”, Jus continues, “They handed out bizarre literature linking Satan, Lucifer and ChristHells Angels were our saviours working for God and Lucifer to cleanse our world. They became linked to the Manson Killings and eventually disappeared in infamy to only be remembered by a chosen few …now Dave Nuss and Sabbath Assembly recreate the rituals and liturgies of this infamous group. We can now see and hear the true vision of this paradoxical acid consciousness cult. Hail Satan, Amen?!”

“Also we have young blood for the growing acid cult… a new power trio of Finnish maniacs that deal in real heavy doom: Tombstoned“, says Jus, “We witnessed them live only a few weeks ago and were blown away (yes…they defiantly had feel of our favourite Finnish band). Heavy and cool as the grave, absolutely no pretense or hipster styling, just solid and real doom music played by people who don’t care what you think. You will fuckin love em!!!! Hail Tombstoned!”

Even More Incredible bands to be announced SOON !!!

Roadburn Festival 2013 will run for four days from Thursday, April 18th to Sunday, April 21st, 2013 (the traditional Afterburner event) at the 013 venue in Tilburg, Holland. Tickets for the Afterburner are still available!

Portland, OR’s Witch Mountain will bring their crushing doom to Roadburn Festival 2013 on Friday, April 19th at Het Patronaat in Tilburg, Holland.

Founded by guitarist Rob Wrong and drummer Nate Carson in 1997, this was not yet the Witch Mountain that would come to fruition. In 2009, the addition of vocalist Uta Plotkin transformed the band into something extraordinary with her bluesy, sensual and commanding voice as captured on both South of Salem (2011) and Cauldron of the Wild (2012).

Plotkin’s powerful and soulful pipes sound almost out of place, but this is exactly what makes Witch Mountain so special. She belts out the band’s massive, doomy, bluesy tunes like a metallized Janis Joplin or the lost sister of Heart‘s Ann and Nancy Wilson who chose the left-hand path.

Distilled from thick churning down-tuned guitars and dense drumming infused with Plotkin’s sad and sweet vocals, Witch Mountain lumbers without plodding and soars without drifting off. The epic sound and unique take on doom metal has earned them both a highly acclaimed reputation and a rightful place among the current crop of wickedly talented female-fronted bands. We are super stoked to welcome Witch Mountain to the Roadburn Festival during their first-ever European tour.

“2012 has been the biggest and best of Witch Mountain’s 15 year history”, says Nate Carson, “Two successful headlining American tours, two albums on Profound Lore, a new single, Scion Rock Fest (with Sleep and Saint Vitus), and now this.”

“It is truly an honor to end this year with the official announcement that we will finally tour Europe. Many thanks go out from us to Roadburn for this fantastic invitation. My only concern is that Cauldron of the Wild LP pre-orders are coming in so quickly that we may run out of vinyl before we get over there! Cheers!”

Roadburn Festival 2013 will run for four days from Thursday, April 18th to Sunday, April 21st, 2013 (the traditional Afterburner event) at the 013 venue in Tilburg, Holland. Tickets for the Afterburner are still available!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

audiObelisk: Sixth Batch of Roadburn 2011 Streams Posted (Voivod, Wovenhand, Blood Farmers and More)

Posted in audiObelisk on July 1st, 2011 by JJ Koczan

The sixth handful of audio captures from this year’s Roadburn festival might be the most eclectic yet. Sure, past installments had the likes of Black Pyramid or Spindrift, but how many times in your life are you going to see Wovenhand next to Voivod?

That’s all part of the experience of the fest, and as always, it’s presented gorgeously on these streams by Marcel van de Vondervoort and his team at Spacejam. Dig it:


Voivod (Midi Theatre)

Sabbath Assembly

Year of No Light (Vampyr soundtrack)


Blood Farmers (Afterburner)

Special thanks once again to Walter and Roadburn for granting me permission to host these links. Roadburn 2011 took place April 14-17, at the 013 Popcentrum in Tilburg, Netherlands.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Live Review: Ghost and Sabbath Assembly in Manhattan, 06.01.11

Posted in Reviews on June 3rd, 2011 by JJ Koczan

Working late (which seems to be the crux of my existence lately) meant missing upstart act Natur, whose name I’m seeing/hearing increasingly in worlds both virtual and real as one might expect for a heavy band from Brooklyn these days. I almost bought their 7″ on the principle of it being $5 and coming with a download card, but folded last second, feeling cool enough neither to do that nor grab a beer from the Webster Hall bar. The show, which was Ghost‘s night, clearly — their first time in New York — was sold out and in the basement of the venue. They call it “The Studio.” I called it “hot as balls.” It was a packed, sweaty, smelly mess. Like a locker room with a P.A.

Nonetheless, although I’ve been woefully show-up-and-drink early to the last three or four shows I’ve been to, I missed Natur, so apologies to them (and no, Google, I did not mean “nature”). I entered the fray as the Jex Thoth (of Jex Thoth)-fronted Sabbath Assembly were getting ready to roll out their set of alternately Christian and Satanic hymns. Ms. Thoth herself did not take the stage until the set actually started, so her vocal level was a little off at the very beginning, but it was quickly righted, and the crowd was soon enamored.

I missed them at Roadburn, and having enjoyed the Restored to One album I bought there, wanted very much to catch the songs live. From the many harmonized vocal layers on the record, I almost expected there to be two singers, but Thoth, backed mostly by singularly-named guitarist Mike — though also occasionally by bassist Dan Shuman — held it down on her own with an impressive range and no shortage of sexualized occult lure. Whatever works. As their set of songs about gods and devils and usually both (you might say they’re “restoring them to one”) wore on, audience conversation gradually got louder until toward the end, in a particularly quiet section, even with drummer Dave “Xtian” Nuss backing, Thoth could barely be heard above the din.

It’s hard for me to imagine that’s just a New York thing. I mean, “asshole” is universal, right? My ethic has always been that if someone is on stage — especially if they’re quiet — you shut the fuck up. Nothing you have to say is so important that it can’t wait, and if it is, fucking whisper. You’ve got your fancy-ass phone out anyway, send a text! I wasn’t exactly blown away by Sabbath Assembly‘s stage show (there wasn’t one), but is 40 minutes of solid attention really too much to ask from an audience of adults? Shit, you came to the show. Watch the fucking show. It must be really hard to be so much of a somebody that you have to talk through someone else’s performance.

When Sabbath Assembly were done, Ghost made us all wait. And we waited. Impatiently. There were some amp troubles on stage (an Orange was switched out for a Marshall), and the dude next to me, who I did not know, kept announcing in my ear how hot it was — correct in everything but his volume — and the guy in front was Mr. I’m-Gonna-Toss-My-Hair-To-Get-It-Off-My-Neck-Because-It’s-Hot-And-It’s-Gonna-Be-All-Over-You-Because-That’s-How-Tight-The-Room-Is-And-I-Don’t-Give-A-Fuck-Because-I’m-An-Inconsiderate-Dick, which only made matters less pleasant. Everyone there had a camera. I didn’t even have to use my flash to take pictures of Evil Pope Guy when Ghost finally took the stage from the side door of the venue — all the others lit the room up just fine.

They played just about all of their Opus Eponymous album, and though the vocals were a little off-key, it was 150 degrees in there and the dude was decked out in plastic prosthetic face makeup and a full robe, so it’s understandable. The backing tracks covered most of it, anyway, and the crowd’s singing along held up a lot of the bargain. Ghost‘s songs are catchy and memorable — “Elizabeth” was a highlight, as were “Stand by Him” and “Death Knell” — and the audience was fervent in their appreciation. Hands raised in Satanic testimony, a crowd surfer, a general rush toward the stage from the start, and I backed out. Too old and too tired by then to deal with any of that shit, I stood off to the side (where I could actually see!) and knew I was in the right spot when Brian “I signed Mercyful Fate” Slagel of Metal Blade came and planted himself nearby. I did my best not to gush.

The Opus Eponymous material alone wasn’t enough to fill out an hour of Ghost‘s time, so they threw in a cover of The BeatlesGeorge Harrison-penned Abbey Road classic “Here Comes the Sun,” changing the line “…And it’s alright” to “…And he’s alright” to fit with their devil-worshiping modus operandi. It was clever and they knew it, but that didn’t lessen the enjoyment any. Closing out the night with an anthemic rendition of “Ritual,” Evil Pope Guy (sorry, but when you wear the hat and don’t have a name, you take what you get) proceeded to hold communion at the front of the stage after the song, feeding the crowd what he called, “The cadaver of Christ.” Good fun.

I was beat when I walked in and only more so at the end, so I shuffled with the masses out of Webster Hall, walked over to the next block where I’d parked and made my way into and out of traffic en route to the Holland Tunnel and back home, the strains of “Elizabeth” and Sabbath Assembly‘s “We Give Our Lives” duking it out for which was most stuck in my head. Two days later, the battle rages on.

More pics after the jump.

Read more »

Tags: , , , ,