Sabbath Assembly – A Letter of Red

Rating: 3/5
Distributor/label [URL] https://www.svartrecords.com/
Released: 2019
Buy Album [URL] https://www.svartrecords.com/product/sabbathassembly-a-letter-of-red/
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/SabbathAssembly/

Band line-up:

Jamie Myers – Vocals
David Christian – Drums
James Magruder – Double Bass, Synth, Spoken Word
Ron Varod – Guitar
Kevin Hufnagel – Guitar
Johnny Deblase – Bass

Tracklisting:

1. Solve et Coagula
2. The Serpent Uncoils
3. Worthless
4 Weighing of the Heart
5. Ascend and Descend
6. Hymn of the Pearl
7. From the Beginning
8. A Welcome Below

Review

The best way to describe New York’s psychedelic group Sabbath Assembly is eclectic or esoteric. They have all the right credentials to suit any keen Doom Metal or Psychedelic Rock fan: bizarre, eerie riffs, droning bass, faraway vocals and an obsession with the occult, but what makes these guys stand out is their particular take on the occult which I wasn’t fully aware of when I was sent their sixth album: A Letter of Red.

On their Metal Archives page, it describes their lyrical themes as Process Church of the Final Judgement, a religious group associated with many occult groups and even the Manson Family in the 1960s. This is certainly food for thought for many a good Doom album and I’d say this release is of no difference, even though there are themes in these songs that perked more of my curiosity.

There are mentions of the Hymn of the Pearl on the track of the same name, and other elements of Gnosticism from the early days of Christianity so something for the kids who like to delve deep into history. The songs all play well with a nice weight and not too much depth, so I feel the band were doing a back-to-basics move which is always nice for those of us who swoon over Jim Morrison and his lackeys when it comes to psychedelia.

It also deals with themes of Egyptian mythology on ‘Ascend and Descend’ so if you liked studying said civilisations in school, these guys have got you covered. Alternative history and speculative fiction buffs won’t be disappointed.

Overall, the musicianship exhibited is laden down well, the vocals echo finely over the riffs and the songs are not too long for the easily-distracted. Sabbath Assembly has been around long enough to give all parts of their raison d’etre an exploration, so here is them harkening back to the early days.

What stood out more for this review on the album was the lyrical themes over the musicianship, and that is not a bad thing at all – we have here a band well versed in their lyrical output so add this one to your collection if you want to know more about the most obscure things in the occult and esoteric canon.

Review by Demitri Levantis

 

 

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