US Folk metal act Sabbath Assembly return with another set of religious themes on their third album Quaternity. This is mostly an acoustic album, with the band utilizing classical percussion and strings for some new sounds to help support vocalist Jamie Myers and percussionist Dave "Xtian" Nuss. Special guests on the album include Daron Beck of Pinkish Black accompanying Jamie on vocals, Kevin Hufnagel of Gorguts on guitar, Mat McNerney and Marja Konttinen of Hexvessel reciting sacred texts, liturgical chanting by Jessika Kinney (Sunn 0))), Wolves in the Throne Room), bass from Colin Marston of Behold… The Arctopus, and organ from "Nameless Void" of Negative Plane. The album is divided into 2 parts, with side A focusing on the four deities worshipped in the theology of the Process Church of the Final Judgment -- Christ, Jehovah, Lucifer, and Satan, and side B takes a look at the four horsemen of the apocalypse of Revelations. Heavy stuff for sure from a lyrical perspective, but musically there's not much that's really 'heavy' going on here, as this stuff is rich in folk themes with plenty of soaring, melancholy drenched musical passages. "The Burning Cross of Christ", despite its lyrical themes, is just a gorgeous sounding piece, with Myers' beautiful vocals floating over alluring violin, cello, acoustic guitars, and keyboards. Some doom metal riffing finally shows up on the haunting "I, Satan", a creepy piece filled with tinkling piano, booming bass, and snarling vocals from Myers, while the epic 18-minute "The Four Horseman" is a well put together, chilling slice of folk/occult music, with disturbing spoken word passages, classical & folk instrumentation, and a really unforgettable vibe. Parts of this song would have made a good soundtrack to an old '70s Hammer Horror film.
Quaternity isn't going to be for everyone; much of the lyrical themes are certain to be a turnoff for some, and the continual creepy vibe throughout brings up some pacing issues for those who like a bit of variety in the arrangement department. However, despite all that, there are moments of real beauty here, and Myers' vocals are lovely throughout. For the most part, heavy metal this isn't, but if you have an open mind, this collection of folk, classical, and ominous religious themes is worth checking out.
1) Let Us Who Mystically Represent....
2) Jehovah on Death
3) The Burning Cross of Christ
4) I, Satan
6) The Four Horsemen