Sabbath Assembly: Sabbath Assembly

Cult rockers undergo a shift of allegiance

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Sabbath Assembly’s latest album marks a bold new direction for the former self-described ‘sacred folk metal’ band.

Bolstered by the arrival of new bassist Johnny DeBlase, their self-titled opus abandons their exploration of the theology of the Process Church Of The Final Judgment (a cult that worshipped both Christ and Satan) and sets sail for pastures new.

Trading their penchant for sinister, yet slightly hammy hymns in favour of a much more traditional heavy metal sound, the record signals a rebirth for the Texas and New York-based foursome.

Steeped in the sonic sensibilities of that other band named Sabbath, DeBlase has seemingly helped the group find their groove, especially on the ghoulish, gloriously gloomy Confessing A Murder and the doom-laden Apparition Of The Revolution, which features some seriously creepy layered vocals from frontwoman Jamie Myers. There are a few flashes of the Sabbath Assembly of old on the acoustic guitar and cello-based Shadows Of Emptiness, but mostly this is a reboot for the quartet, and a welcome one at that.