Hi, Sabbath Assembly! Your new album ‘Rites of Passage’ will be released on May 12. You must be excited?
Rites of Passage is the first time since Restored to One that Sabbath Assembly has operated as a full band with a solid line up writing songs in a rehearsal studio in real time. So what you’ll hear as a result are solid through-composed pieces that are the product of many hours spent in the practice room hashing out parts, with the kind of intricacy that only comes when band members are spending a lot of time together building chemistry. I think the listener will be surprised at how different and strong of a record this approach has made.
First of all, we would like to know about the formation of the band. When and how was it formed? Do you think the band name ‘Sabbath Assembly’ perfectly decribes your music and philosophy?
“Sabbath Assembly” is the name of the highest and holiest mass of the Process Church of the Final Judgment. Sabbath Assembly the band was formed in tribute to the Process Church, performing its hymns about the gnostic reconciliation of Christ and Satan. While we do not play the hymns of the Church any longer, their occult approach still very much infects our music.
Okay now tell us something about ‘Rites of Passage’, and the lyrical themes behind each track. What are the ideas you wanted to put across?
Each song on the new album re-envisions the “rites of passage” concept originally defined by anthropologist Arnold Van Gennep as birth, childhood, social puberty, betrothal, marriage, pregnancy, parenthood, initiation into religious societies, and funerals. For many of us these rites are archaic, and modern society provides us with a much murkier picture to demarcate when we’ve passed from one stage to the next. How many people really consider baptism something to be taken seriously? And we know that marriage as an institution has been shot to shit. So each song on this album identifies a moment that for us as a band has caused transition and maturation.
Where and when did you record ‘Rites of Passage’? Are you satisfied with it?
We love working with Colin Marston at Menegroth: Thousand Caves studio in Queens, NY. This album, like our self-titled one prior to Rites of Passage, was primarily recorded, mixed and mastered with him. We love the natural sound that we get with Colin, plus the quality of his live room. For Rites of Passage, Jamie tracked her vocals in Austin at Jack Control’s studio Enormous Door with an excellent engineer Jason Buntz. We are extremely satisfied and highly recommend working with these folks!
Are you gonna to release some official band merch?
The new LP and CD will be available at sabbathassembly.com. We’ve got a well-stocked shop there with shirts, patches, pins, etc.
What are Sabbath Assembly’s musical and non-musical influences?
You will hear many references to literature in our songs because a few of us are bookworms. The song “Seven Sermons to the Dead” comes for a Carl Jung book of the same name which expresses his connection and acknowledgment of the spirit world – in spite of his academic training. “Bride of Darkness” is a spin on Tennyson’s poem about Persephone and Hades. “Twilight of God” takes a nod from the atheistic ranting of Antonin Artaud, and “Angels Trumpets” incorporates the mythical tales of the Fates and river Lethe, which causes forgetfulness after one dies. We love symbolism and storytelling in our lyrics.
Musically you can hear the influence of our members current and past bands, such as Hammers of Misfortune, Gorguts, and Kayo Dot. We have definitely moved in a progressive metal direction.
Could you please express your personal views on religion and god?
This is just for me (Dave Nuss, drummer). I identify God as the part of the world that we cannot control or understand. God is the part of life that lays near the horizon; we can see it if we squint, barely, but it remains unknowable yet present. I see this presence play out time and again in my daily life when I choose to acknowledge it. My views have changed a lot since a I moved out of NYC to a town by the ocean; nature connects me with God.
Religion I have no interest in. As a concept it has been deconstructed so thoroughly that as a society we would do better to discard it.
Shall we expect some gigs across USA or Europe near time?
We only have a short NE tour in May 2017 in conjunction with the album release. Interested booking agents CONTACT US.
When shall fans to expect something new from you? Videoclip, single, documentary etc?
One cool thing that is happening is we are doing the soundtrack for a film by Gretchen Heinel which will be called “The Blood Countess.” Some of us from the band act in it and helped conceive the storyline, and the soundtrack is going to be mostly creeped-out electronic soundscape weirdness. This is a real departure for us, and we are super excited about the progress so far. No release date yet but keep an eye out, it won’t be long.
There is also a recently released video clip we made for the song “Does Love Die”, and also on our YouTube channel you can find a “Making of Rites of Passage” documentary.
Thanks a lot for the interview. Speak out to your fans, supporters, critics and our readers before we wrap up!
We appreciate the many folks who contact us on social media because we love hearing your thoughts, ideas, and impressions about our music. Thank you to those who reach out! This connection is what it’s all about.