Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Sabbath Assembly : "Rites of Passage"

It my be the addition of a second guitarist , but this album kicks off a lot heavier than I remember these guys being. Female proto-doom bands where almost a thing 5 years ago when bands like Blood Ceremony and Devils Blood really rose to prominence, Guitarist Kevin Hufnagel who has played in both Gorguts and Dysrhythmia , brings a technical prowess to the riffs. This makes them winding and angular while still holding a more classic metal chug. There is a darker touch to doom to "Angels Trumpets". Jamie Myer's alto is dramatic and exclamatory, she almost sounds like a witch from a Hammer horror movie from the 60s. I do not think once we get into the meat of the song that it doesn't draw you in until oddly enough a more tech death like riff surfaces and then they lock in behind it.

"I Must Be Gone" is darker and in some sense more melodic though it broods over the song before committing to it. It does build up, but I don't feel I really connect with it as much as I did the first two songs. More melodic layers are gradually introduced as the album progresses.  I lose time and fail to see where the darkly moody "Does Love Die" ends and "Twilight of God" begins. "Does Love Die" feels more like a neo-folk intro to the next song which would thus kick into the jams like a power ballad. It's the lonely wail of the guitar solo in "Does Love Die" that helps blur these lines , until I got a second listen in. Then I can hear the weird atmospheric ebb down that marks the beginning of the next song. It's has a creeping riff with a delay heavy clean to that smooths you back into the build up.

There are several things to like about this album. The fact it's proggy , but still has a darker mood coloring it. There is an almost Voivod like dissonance to "Seven Sermons to the Dead".  It also feels like Fear of God in how the vocals attack the chugged chorus like section. The closing song "the Bride of Darkness"  has an almost Iron Maiden feel to the way the riff gallops. There is a stellar almost Frank Zappa like solo going into this song's third act that is worth taking note of if you are into that sort of thing. While this is a guitar players album the riffs never seem like they re being written with 'Would this sound good to solo over ?" in mind. This is a pretty solid album, I am not sure how much air time it will get on my end , but can respectfully round this up to a 9.

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