Sabbath Assembly
Ye Are Gods

Sabbath Assembly’s debut Restored to One came out of nowhere to become one of my favorite releases of 2010. The music, a fusion of 60’s psych-pop and gospel, was based on theology and hymns of an apocalyptic psychotherapy cult from the 60’s known as the Process Church of the Final Judgment. The founders of the Process Church split from Scientology and developed psychotherapy methods based on personality archetypes. These archetypes, based on Lucifer, Jehovah, Satan and Christ, eventually turned into a theology built on the reconciliation of opposites, culminating in an apocalyptic vision of Christ and Satan coming together to execute the End. The album was catchy as hell, a Jefferson Airplane-esque foray into psychedelic pop rock with a cult-lyrical backdrop. The atmosphere, enriched by lyrics extolling the virtues of Christ, Jehovah, Satan, and Lucifer, was both gloriously dark and invigoratingly sunny. Two years later Dave Nuss returns with a new voice in tow, a new group of collaborators, and a new set of hymns for the devout on Ye Are Gods.

Nuss and company take a more liturgical approach on Ye Are Gods, incorporating more of the ritual elements of the Process, as well as bringing in former member Timothy Wyllie (aka Father Micah) to deliver a spoken word exhortation. The album is less a rock record than a soundtrack to the Process ritual. The first half is a rather solemn affair dominated by acoustic guitar, keyboards, organ, and viola. Jamie Myers (ex-Hammers of Misfortune) does an excellent job taking over for Jess Thoth, displaying great emotive range as her crystalline voice soars over “We Come From the One”, “Let Us Give Praise and Validation”, and “Bless Our Lord and Master”. “We Give Our Lives” returns from the first album, this time in a darker, unplugged form with vocals performed by Genesis P. Orridge of Psychic TV fame.

The jangling rock of the first record doesn’t emerge until the fifth track “Exit, with the band going into full blown revivalist gospel mode, replete with backing chorus and organ. This is the meat for fans of the first record with “Exit”, “Christ You Bring the End”, and “And the Clarion Calls” nailing the psych-pop joy and cultic lyrical darkness that made Restored to One such an infectious bastard of an album. It is for this reason that perhaps Ye Are Gods isn’t as successful an album as Restored to One. It’s not as catchy, not as direct musically. The spoken word elements make the pseudo-religious inspiration more apparent and altogether less mysterious. The intent and structure is clearly different though and Ye Are Gods is an often beautiful album that takes a more orthodox religious approach to the lyrical concepts and theology.

Ye Are Gods won’t be replacing Restored to One as my go-to Sunday morning breakfast music, but it’s a fine album that oozes atmosphere and manages to wind itself into your brain after a couple of listens. The progression of the songs, the spoken word passages, and the strange darkness of the lyrics stamp a unique personality and atmosphere on it that is undeniable. It’s both a great record and, given the recent revival of interest in the Process Church, an indispensable work of creative anthropology for anyone interested in this long forgotten movement.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chuck Kucher
October 8th, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: Gabaghoul

    excellent review, well-researched. I liked this but havent heard the first one, need to remedy that now.


  2. Commented by: globox

    Thanks, man. I actually just finished Love Sex Fear Death so a lot of the Process stuff was fresh in my mind. I do enjoy the first album much more, it’s more straightforward and I like that they reveal the theological stuff through the lyrics, rather than spoken word. In my mind that gives the music a little too much context.


  3. Commented by: gabaghoul

    that book looks cool. i’ll add it to my ever-expanding list of stuff to read…


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