Sabbath Assembly – Restored To One   1 comment

This is one of the finest records this year so far – for me. I actually saw Jex Thoth (with the mighty Dutch hard rock assault called Vanderbuyst) on the 21st of October at the 013 in Tilburg (Holland). Little did I know she was about to release one gem of a light folk psychedelic record. Call Sabbath Assembly’s Restored To One occult if you will, but it’s not exactly that. Not qua music. If we take the lyrics into account, yep, pretty occult stuff going on here. What Jex Thoth and XTIAN aka Dave Nuss offer here are interpretations of the musical legacy of one crazy, amazing cult called The Process Church Of The Final Judgment. For brevity’s sake I’ll call them The Process. For me personally, Integrity’s front man Dwid functioned as a messenger on Humanity Is The Devil (1996) who introduced me as a listener to the beautiful imagery and texts of said Church. At the time I was so taken by the whole Process that I decided to tattoo the P-sign on my wrist. Friends still make fun of my ‘swastika’ (mind you, it’s not a swastika, but the form is somewhat similar). Actually, Skinny Puppy was (or is, I don’t know) also into texts of the Process Church: check their album The Process (bad album by the way). What the Process promoted in the sixties and seventies of the last century was this: there are three gods that represent three basic human patterns of reality (taken freely from wikipedia, see the link below).

– Jehovah, the wrathful God of vengeance and retribution;

– Lucifer, the Light Bearer, urges us to enjoy life to the full, to value success in human terms, to be gentle and kind and loving, and to live in peace and harmony with one another;

– Satan, the receiver of transcendent souls and corrupted bodies, instills in us two directly opposite qualities; at one end an urge to rise above all human and physical needs and appetites, to become all soul and no body, all spirit and no mind, and at the other end a desire to sink beneath all human codes of behavior, and to wallow in a morass of violence, lunacy and excessive physical indulgence.

The essence of the teachings of Robert De Grimston, a christ like figure (in appearance I mean) who formed the Process Church together with Mary Anne, is that, to varying degrees, these above “God-patterns” exist within all of us. The main doctrine of The Process is the unity of Christ and Satan, who exist as opposites. Jehovah and Lucifer exist as opposites and when Christ and Satan are united this will unite Jehovah and Lucifer. Pretty cool stuff, right? The origins of The Process Church are loosely based in Scientology. If you are interested in the whole Process thing, there are two very interesting books I would recommend: Satan’s Power: A Deviant Psychotherapy Cult by William Sims Bainbridge (1978). This book is a participating, anthropological study to the social dynamics of The Process. I guess this one is out of print, but you can obtain a copy easily (and cheap) at Amazon or eBay. The 2nd book is called Love, Sex, Fear, Death: The Inside Story of The Process Church of the Final Judgment by Timothy Wyllie and Adam Parfrey (2009), published by Feral House. Feral House is also in charge of the publication of the Sabbath Assembly record (together with AJNA Records).

Anyway, back to Sabbath Assembly’s Restored To One. It’s a great record because this is the first time some of these Process’ songs are actually recorded and made available for a broad public. That’s interesting both on a cult’s historical level, as well as on a musical level, because the Process Church was rooted in the flower-power era. The first time I heard the record, I was not impressed. I was thinking, all right, fine, we have Jex Thoth’s releases, so what would this record add to that? I mean, Jex Thoth is basically Jessica Thoth’s brainchild, so how would a strong musical vision like hers work with the existing material of The Process’ songs? It made me return to Jex Thoth’s records, but after a while I gave Sabbath Assembly a fresh start. It’s not that the songs are particularly difficult or uneasy on the ears. It flows right in like a smooth whiskey. But is it strong enough?

Now, after a couple weeks of listening to this, I can say wholeheartedly yes. The synergy of the two artists’ musical views and the existing tracks of the Process work together to create a beautiful, simple album with dark but hopeful lyrics. The lyrics can be described as dark (imagery of Satan, etc.) but they are in fact not, if you take the Process’ cosmogony into account. In the end, it’s a lovely collection of semi religious songs executed very atmospherically and subdued. Therefore, it’s not exactly occult rock to start with, because the direction is more folk than rock. Think Fairport Convention, Comus, Pentangle and even nowadays Esper. Sabbath Assembly’s sound is therefore not like Coven. Coven is exciting and dark and a lot ‘stronger’ in its feel than the cute psychedelic folk of Sabbath Assembly.

I like this record because it gets under your skin, and within weeks you’ll be humming these songs along as I am now.

The only flaw of this record really is its cover: boring and something you’d easily miss browsing the records crates at your favorite vinyl store.

Hymn Of The Consecration on youtube: Watch It Here

I ordered my vinyl copy as a Christmas gift (for myself :P).

Review Written By Sandrijn van den Oever

10 / 10

Sabbath Assembly @ Myspace
Feral House – Restored To One
Wikipedia – The Process Church Of The Final Judgment

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Posted November 21, 2010 by doommantia in Sabbath Assembly

One response to “Sabbath Assembly – Restored To One

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  1. great album!

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