“The quaternity is the sine qua non of divine birth and consequently of the inner life of the trinity.
—Carl Jung, CW 11, para 125
“Quaternity”, a term coined by the theological teachings of the Process Church of Final Judgment, founded in the 1960s, relates to the existence of four deities: Christ, Jehovah, Lucifer, and Satan. According to their beliefs, the four dimensions possess their own powers of light, strength, destruction, and death—all of which individually challenge each other yet exist together within the pith of mankind. This ideology makes for an interesting and natural thematic base for Sabbath Assembly’s third full-length album, considering the unity of light and dark, good and evil, Christ and Lucifer has been extolled by the band since their psych-flecked folk debut, 2010’s Restored to One.
Quaternity stands as Sabbath Assembly’s second successive album with Jamie Myers’ (Hammers of Misfortune) disquietingly sweet vocals. She replaced the equally enigmatic Jex Thoth for Sabbath Assembly’s second liturgy, 2012’s Ye Are Gods. Not only that, Myers and band founder/multi-instrumentalist David Nuss have taken a different approach to the two album that preceded Quaternity, as reimagining the songs of devotion to the divine and demonic originally created by the Process Church itself have been replaced by original songwriting imbued lyrically with the Process Church’s signature proclamations.
Noticeably the heaviest track of Sabbath Assembly’s existence, “I, Satan” sees the band in fire and brimstone form with uncharacteristic outpours of doomy distortion and skronking blasts of guitar solos (the guest influences of guitarist Kevin Hufnagel and bassist Colin Marston in full fury) raining down vengefully. Myers takes an imposing role throughout this song. Her vocals demanding the listener follow her orders of “Throw off your clothes, strip bare, set free, the creature within”, and to heed her declarations that “Satan has won”. It’s a genuinely terrifying track when you place the song in the context of the album as a whole, which stylistically maintains the gentile neo-folk, the Coven-esque allure and the soothing gospels of the past.
The level of apocalyptic terror cast by “I, Satan” is amplified tenfold once the senses affected include the visual, as the video exclusively hosted below reveals. Ritualism, religious and satanic iconography, sly winks to classic horror, the forces of nature (sun, moon, lightning, fire, water), writhing semi-naked bodies all dance together in what feels like the viewer is in the midst of an occult psychedelic awakening. The combination of these visuals and Myers’ Jarboe-worthy vocals—cooing one moment and proselytizing with red-eyed menace the next—really opens up Sabbath Assembly’s evocations to further rejoice in heavier sounds in the future. But for now, surrender to “I, Satan” and thou shalt be saved…