||Sabbath Assembly (photo: A. Cobbett)
Sabbath Assembly is a dark rock band based in Texas and NYC. A true artist collective, Sabbath Assembly features vocalist Jamie Myers (ex-Hammers of Misfortune, Wolves in the Throne Room), guitarist Kevin Hufnagel (Gorguts, Dysrhythmia), guitarist Ron Verod (Kayo Dot, Myrkur), bassist Johnny DeBlase, and drummer / founding member David Nuss. Sabbath Assembly will release its new album, ‘A Letter of Red‘, on April 19 via Svart Records.
Just yesterday, Revolver premiered the brand new Sabbath Assembly track, “Solve et Coagula“, adding, “the track is entrancing and fluid, a gorgeous flow of singer Jamie Myers’ haunting voice in conjunction with a traditional metal sound that sheds a bit of the group’s doomier side in lieu of something more immediate and confrontational.” Following up on the band’s first single premiere, Sabbath Assembly’s “Solve et Coagula” is now available on Spotify at this location!
“Solve et Coagula” means “Dissolve and Coagulate,” and refers to the alchemical process of turning lead to gold,” explains Nuss. “The song reflects on the human ability to turn tragedy into usable experience. The lyrics recount the creation story of the Yezidi people, who were systematically exterminated and enslaved by ISIS in their seige on Mt. Sinjar in 2014, which was the deciding factor for the US to enter the Syrian War. “Solve” addresses the question of what binds people together in the face of such devastation – in this case, a common myth.”
The group’s seventh studio album, and follow-up to 2017’s ‘Rites of Passage’, ‘A Letter of Red‘ was recorded at Figure 8 Studio in Brooklyn with Producer Randall Dunn (Black Mountain, SunnO))), Earth). The album marks a return to the shortened song form and tight production of Sabbath Assembly‘s debut (2010’s ‘Restored to One’), while demonstrating ten years of both songwriting prowess and lyrical advancement. On the LP, Myers performs with the stripped down clarity of Peter Murphy and Siouxsie in the 80’s, bringing a true Gothic tinge to the metal riffs for a totally unique combination, while Hufnagel and Varod reference Heart and Judas Priest on the album’s hard rockers, and acoustic moments bring to mind Current 93 and Jethro Tull.
‘A Letter of Red‘ takes on lofty lyrical themes juxtaposed with this more specific musical direction. The track “Hymn of the Pearl” elucidates the album’s title in its recounting of a lost traveler who finds his way home upon receipt of “the letter of red” sent by his familial tribe. The letter reminds the traveler of his true self, and is metaphorical for the gnostic path of individuation. The song is based on a 2nd century Syrian text of the same name discovered with other New Testament apocryphal writings forbidden from the Biblical canon. The Apostle Thomas is thought to have sung this hymn to his fellow prisoners while in Roman captivity, with “the letter of red” offering true release.
A teaser trailer for ‘A Letter of Red‘ featuring the new song, “Solve et Coagula” can be viewed now at this location.
The album continues with these themes of imprisonment and freedom in the song “Worthless”, which recounts the prison of adolescence, the isolation of defining one’s identity as a teen. Songs such as “From the Beginning,” “The Serpent Uncoils,” and “Ascend and Descend” are inspired by the relationship between sisters Nephthys and Isis of Egyptian lore. These stories tell of a relationship at once biting but ever unshakable as these dei-ties embark on tales of both bravery and deceit. “A Welcome Below” metaphorically addresses the prison of addiction, a reflection onNuss’ daughter’s struggles with opiates. Multiple music videos for the album as well as a short film inspired by “Worthless” will each debut in the coming weeks.
“There are moments when making a record that you must embrace time travel in the sounds and in the culture of the record,” says producer Dunn when asked for comment. “When we set out to make Sabbath Assembly records we set out to make magic spells and embrace a plural existence – incantations that address the deficiency of the soul in this age of Kali Yuga. I tried to find the teenage occult heart of each of the musicians and center them in a place of unity around a familiar and yet futuristic sound, a place where playing and the physicality of the musicians is as important as the theme of the record. I imagined us all in the cosmos with 70’s hi fi headphones on riding a great winged beast airbrushed on the side of a Chevy van.”
He adds, “Make no mistake the sisters will be heard and secularism will be brought to it’s knees once again by the old gods disguised as a rock band.”