Sabbath Assembly continue to amaze. Quaternity is the latest release from the mysterious group, a collection of hymns we recently rated a full 5 stars. Dave Nuss and Jamie Myers (with numerous cohorts) have outdone themselves and cemented the already glowing, if not so lengthy legacy of this fabulous band of free thinkers. Jehovah. Christ. Satan. Lucifer.Restored to one. All sides of the self examined and…processed. I’ve been watching The Living Matrix the last few days, so unified theories of the self are also quite appealing.
What is missing from the Christian concept of “trinity”? Carl Jung suggests that the fourth element is what many reject – the evil in our nature; or by another view, the feminine, which throughout Church history has been equated with evil and duly suppressed. To restore this element to the trinity creates Quaternity, which in William Blake’s Proverbs of Hell represents “the fourfold nature of man and his relationship to the divine.”
Click HERE for our interview with Dave Nuss on Quaternity and more.
Quaternity once again features Jamie Myers on vocals and Dave “Xtian” Nuss on percussion. 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 Kontinnen 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.
Quaternity is in many ways the most complex piece of work from Sabbath Assembly yet. What prompted you to move the music in the direction heard on the album? So much instrumentation! You had your work cut out for you.
We never want to rely on any formula to make our music, so when I was taking the first songs to Kevin and we were thinking about Jamie’s voice, he kept going back to the 12-string acoustic and I had access to some orchestral percussion at the time so that’s the way it developed. Kevin and I really love the first couple of albums from that band Fates Warning, so we kept thinking about the acoustic parts on that album Awaken the Guardian.
Can you express what moves you about Jung’s thoughts on The Quaternity concept?
Quaternity emphasizes the “4” of paganism (4 directions, 4 seasons) rather than the “3” of the Christian trinity because 4 is a number of equanimity and balance. The idea of the Process Church of the Final Judgment, who’s hymns we sometimes record, is that there are 4 deities who should be equally worshipped – Jehovah, Satan, Lucifer, and Christ. And we all have these deities represented inside us, and all their forces are good – when in balance.
“I, Satan” is a lush and unsettling but empowering video. “Jehovah On Death” as well. Could you talk about making the videos? I want to say films!
Jamie our singer made them. I am happy she made them because they put a real human face to these songs which on record can seem a bit “otherworldly.”
Do you think religious animosity between cultures can ever lessen in America or The Middle East?
It seems doubtful because those hatreds are so entrenched for generations. And that’s monotheism at work right there! The interesting point about the Process theology is that it is about the reconciliation of Christ and Satan, and therefore truly makes real Jesus’ teaching to “Love thy enemies.” A 2nd Century theologian called Origen had this idea as well but the Christian Church when they got organize a couple of centuries later called his ideas heretical. His point was that all beings will eventually be reconciled back to God – even Satan. If we had something more like this in monotheism now there might be less wars.
“Lucifer” is just stunning. That song should be in The Smithsonian, haha. How did that one come together? Daron and Jamie are a brilliant and dark team.
We had an original Process Church member sing that song over the phone to us because it’s not in our hymnbook. You can hear a piece of that recording at the beginning of the song. And then we basically sent that recording to Daron and asked him to make a version, and he and Jamie laid it down. It just couldn’t be more perfect, I agree!
Rumor has it this is actually the band’s fourth album, not the third. Is there more early material with Jex lurking about?
Yes, there are recordings pre-Restored to One that we are going to do some kind of low-key release of soon. That album is called Eno ot Derotser.
This is all very exciting. I feel Jamie has really earned her spot in Sabbath Assembly. Jex is amazing and her stuff with Sabbath Assembly is some of my favorite music ever but Jamie has really blossomed into the voice of this band. Was it liberating for you as a group to be several albums in now with Jamie as primary vocalist?
It feels more like a band now; when Jex was in the band the whole thing was kind of an experiment, but Jamie really treats it like her own. We have a good chemistry for creating new work, and Kevin and I can write more specifically with her voice in mind, which is quite distinct.
Do you view crafting honest music as an expression of self-respect? I think so many people making cheaper art are selling themselves short of soulful expression. I mean, sure…there will always be ear candy and disposable music for bubblegum and car ads but life is finite. Make something powerful with your precious time!
I agree! At this stage we won’t do a song or put out an album until it’s fully ready. Lord knows there’s enough music out there! Sometimes it’s self-respect, but sometimes I think it’s just speed addiction, something we can all relate to in this day and age. We can write, record, and distribute music so quickly, and then we can consume things so quickly as well. We hear half a song and assume we get the entire picture of what a band is all about. It was nice to make a record that was really slow and has a lot of long songs on it – it feels contra-2014, but I think that’s OK.
How did you settle on the simplicity of the cover art for the record?
Well, it’s complicated compared with our last couple of record covers! Haha. The symbols on the front just re-enforce the Quaternity concept, with each symbol representing one of the four deities.