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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Review: Sabbath Assembly - Sabbath Assembly

Wham! The opening track of this fifth (!) album since 2009 makes clear what we are dealing with: female fronted metal, without the cliché of...female fronted metal. Singer Jamie Meyers knows that her role in the band is to make the music sound as haunting as can be. No soprano voice, but a straight forward, low, positively creepy voice that give the diverse songs on this album a great atmosphere. The voice is both the strength and the weakness of this band. In songs where the voice is fitting, it really fits! The song Burn me, I thirst for fire, is an excellent example of how guitar, drum and vocals can strengthen each other. Together they make a killer-rhythm that carries through the whole song. Only you is the song that is absolutely carried by Jamies voice, because she can fully use her range and capacity. The more rock ’n’ roll feel of Confessing a murder, however, could use someone with more range in octaves.

On the whole though, it is clear that Sabbath Assembly rocks like hell. Technically the musicians give all they have, which has a driving effect on the music. It really gets you into it. Sometimes the band gets too pretentious, like in the song Sharp edge of the earth. The acoustic start of the song is strong, the rock sound kicks in halfway, but the song lacks interest and somehow the voice does not seem to fit. Next song Apparition of the Revolution starts in the same way, but the changeover from acoustic to rock/metal is much more intense and takes us into the atmospheric dark where the band wants us to spent out time. In the end, it is still the last track of the album, the acoustic song Shadow of Emptiness, that is the most intense song of the album. Beautiful balance between a broken voice, guitar, and lyrics. Melanie meets My dying bride’s darkest feelings.

And then I did not mention the first single of the album, Ave Satanas. Well, the title says it all. I don’t blame the band for choosing this song. It has it all: dragging you down slowly, heavy use of guitar, intriguing lyrics: Satan lives in Death and Death is your ultimate test. Ave Satan! The song mirrors truly the realm of Sabbath Assembly. The video clip with that, is not for the weak at heart.

So on the whole, Sabbath Assembly’s fifth album is all for those who like the dark realm, but with a melodic underscore. A place where candlelight gives both comfort and discomfort. Rock, metal and acoustics meet a good balance in this album, though sometimes the band wants to be to pretentious.

Written by Martijn Bakker

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