Agitated Atmosphere: Sabbath Assembly – Restore to One

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as Sabbath Assembly.

The mystique of religion has long melded within music; be it the simple hymnal many sang in their youth as generations of churchgoers wrestled with their faith or the emotional gospels embraced by so many believers. The salvation or damnation incensed in theological themes has been long tangled into the literature and libido of rock and roll — a particularly small point of reference where Sabbath Assembly is born.

Featuring the powerful voice of Jex Thoth, the skills of Dave Nuss and the talents of some of psychedelia’s finest, Sabbath Assembly aims to embrace the hierarchy of song as it existed during the heyday of The Process Church of the Final Judgment. Restored to One, released via AJNA, is a spiritual journey through religiosity — meant to lift up some and to frighten others. The Process Church’s belief that Satan would reconcile with Christ and stand in final judgment at end times is a hard pill to swallow but delivered in the midst of guitar salvation, it’s easier to get down than one would believe.

Listen to “Hymn of Consecration”:

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The album may not be for those shy of Biblical speak or the overt nature of the hymn, as Restore to One is an account of The Process Church’s music. Yet there are far too many righteous melodies involved not to give the album its proper due and respect in its duty to preserve. Jex Thoth continues to serve as a powerfully underrated vocal talent. Her angelic harmonies infuse Restore to One with a power separate from the subject matter. Surrounded by twinkling organs, outer bodily riffs, and dark production, the music sheds its religious foundation in favor of a radiant re-imagining of classic psychedelia. The spectral array Sabbath Assembly brings together throughout the album is a testament to the power of The Process Church’s music and the longevity of influence the movements of the 60s and 70s continue to sustain. Restore to One is not only a record of one splinter church’s ideals, it is a record of how music long thought irrelevant can find new life in capable hands.

Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist who also runs the webzine, Electronic Voice Phenomenon. He writes the Monday News Mash-Up for the KEXP Blog. You may follow him on Twitter.

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One Comment

  1. jan shaw
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    ARTISTdirect has the exclusive interview with Sabbath Assembly’s Jex Thoth! http://bit.ly/bQSdXc

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