Brethren, as it is.
On this day, December 21, 2012, SABBATH ASSEMBLY, in representation of the Process Church of the Final Judgment, is proud to announce THE END.
“The Process is the End; the Final Ending of the world of men. It is the agent of the End, the instrument of the End and the inexorable Power of the End.”
-Robert De Grimston, 1967
www.sabbathassembly.com, designed by Karla Lemus, launches today, offering an unprecedented collection of hymns, teachings, and prayers of the Process Church – an Apocalyptic, Gnostic Church active in the ’60s and ’70s that espoused the peculiar theology of worshiping Christ and Satan, Lucifer and Jehovah. Also available are links to the music of SABBATH ASSEMBLY, who perform the hymns of this mysterious Church, as well as upcoming live dates of the band, which include:
“The Unification Tour” EUROPE 2013
10.4.2013 Turku, FI – Klubi
11.04.2013 Helsinki, FI – Kuudes Linja,
12.04.2013 Oulu, FI – Nuclear Nightclub
13.04.2013 Jyväskylä, FI – Lutakko
15.04.2013 Warshaw, PL – Harenda
16.04.2013 TBA. PL
17.04.2013 Hamburg, GER – Hafenklang
18.04.2013 Berlin, GER – Cassiopeia,
19.04.2013 Tilburg, NL – Roadburn Festival
ChiarAlice Lorenzini of Milano, Italy, has directed a new visual adaptation of the song “We Come From the One” from SABBATH ASSEMBLY‘s latest album, “Ye Are Gods”, released in September by SVART and THE AJNA OFFENSIVE. The video pairs the liturgical text of the Process Church with the pure magic ritual energy of the 1907 film Le Spectre Rouge, and can be viewed here:
So be it!
Interview by Ed MacLaren
Harkening back to the heavy metal heyday of the 1980s, Kentucky’s Hydrogyn are keeping the sound alive with its raunchy guitar crunch combined with the powerhouse vocals of singer Julie Westlake. On their latest release, “Judgement”, Hydrogyn keep one foot in the past while looking directly into the future, putting a modern spin on a classic metal sound. Julie took some time to talk to Femme Metal about image, the lasting influence of hard rock and how sometimes one good guitarist is all you need.
It’s clear from the opening riff of “Lost Reality” that Hydrogyn brought the metal on “Judgement”. The guitars are beefier and the overall tone of the album is heavier. You guys really mean business!
Yeah, you’re right. It wasn’t anything we did as a plan – it’s just the way it happened. Jeff Westlake has always liked the real heavy guitars but I don’t think until this recording we had the drummer he felt he needed to back that guitar tone up. He really likes Joe Migz’s drumming and he said it really helped to bring out the heavy playing to its full capacity this time around. I like the heavy stuff as well so for us this was a great blend of melody and heaviness so to speak.
Hydrogyn plays blues-based hard rock but you’re getting progressively heavier with each release. Even with the increasingly “metallic” influence, you’ve never compromised your hard rock core. Did you have a clear idea of where you wanted to take the music when you hit the studio?
No, not really Ed. We go into the studio with a theme in mind for every CD – we almost always have the CD title in mind before Jeff and the guys start putting the music together. We don’t do anything that is pre-meditated so to speak for the songs. Nothing like, this one’s going to be heavy or this one’s going be this or that. Jeff has many different sides to him as a writer, as do I, but we just have this certain thing we do as Hydrogyn and we let it take its course without planning in advance.
Are you still working towards finding the perfect Hydrogyn sound?
No, not really. I think we have established, as you stated earlier, our base sound. Outside of that, however, we are always looking to push the boundaries in different directions. One thing I’m proud of is the fact that we have not made CDs that sound like each other. Each release has progressed from the previous ones and has its own character and that’s very, very important to the band to be able to accomplish that on every recording. That’s something we do consciously in the process. Someone will say, that kind of sounds like such and such, a part from such and such a song and then we go…well that’s gone… on to the new part. *laughs*
You and guitarist Jeff Westlake are the nucleus of Hydrogyn (sorry, bad pun!). How would you describe your relationship? How has it evolved over the years?
Besides the fact we tend to fight like cats and dogs during the writing and recording process, we do pretty good together… *laughs*. We both are pretty intense at times and sometimes butt heads a bit. But for the most part, we’ve done well together over the years and have become a stronger team during the writing process and work really well together.
There aren’t many bands making the kind of music you’re creating right now. They’re either going in a more pop rock direction or towards a more extreme metal sound. There seem to be very few straight-ahead hard rock bands out there. Why do you think that is? What is the attraction of that style of music for you?
It’s just what we do. If you look at all the fans that go to the festivals and how people like Dio, Heaven and Hell, Maiden, Whitesnake – the list could go on – and continue to pack places, there’s a big call for it. I’m not interested in extreme metal and I’m not interested in pop music per se. I’m interested in good songs and something I can relate to. If something extreme would come up in the process, that’s fine if we can make it a great piece and the same goes for pop-oriented rock as well. If it works then it does but as for the screaming from beginning to end I can’t give that more than five seconds but I do think if you mix that extreme stuff in properly to what you do – like we do – it can work. Now this is strictly my opinion but I see those crowds of people packing places for that type of music – melodic heavy rock – and as we have seen with Ronnie James Dio’s passing, someone is going to have to fill that void once these guys are no longer with us and I would love to fly that flag. I’m not saying we’re like them – we have our own sound and that’s a fact – but we are a heavy band and if you strip the vocals away the band is killing it. The added vocals make it melodic, and that I love, as do the guys.
It’s amazing to listen to your vocals on “Judgement”. There are few singers that can command a vocal like you do. There’s real attitude in your voice –a power and vocal control that permeates tracks like “Self Destruct” and “Medicate”. But at the same time, you can give a track like “Gold Dust Woman” an emotional root that’s essential to the believability of the song. Have your vocals always been so confident? What has changed in your voice since the early days of Hydrogyn?
Thank you, Ed, for those comments. It hasn’t always been that way. The voice has always been there but it wasn’t until I met Jeff Westlake and Jeff Boggs that I really started taking singing in a big direction. I always wanted to sing professionally but hadn’t done so until those two pulled me into Hydrogyn. We’ve done a ton of music together over the past eight years but Hydrogyn is what did it.
I spent all of 2003 building my voice up in strength because Westlake said it had to be done. When we started doing that, I sang in a tuning that was much lower than the standard we work in now. Over 2003, I built that power and strength but I don’t think it really took hold until we went in to do “Bombshell” with Michael Wagener. My voice has gotten much stronger since then and now I feel like I can hang with anyone but it did take some time. Also, singing rock, you either do it or you don’t and there’s no hiding behind anything so it was sink or swim and sinking was not a choice. *Laughs*
Vocally, today’s women in metal and hard rock have arguably developed into two main camps: the corset-wearing soprano singers and the unbridled screamers. Your voice doesn’t fit into either group. It has power and an excellent clear tone – a distinctly American style – in company with vocalists like Pat Benatar and Anne Wilson. Do you ever see a resurgence of your “classic rock” vocal style?
I don’t know. Has it ever really gone away? I like Anne and Pat but I look more to Ronnie or Rob Halford for what I do. I’ve always heard that I don’t have the typical “girl” voice which is very cool to hear. I can also do a lot of different things but my voice is my voice. I didn’t try to be that way or model myself after anyone in particular. I released a solo CD in February of a bunch of stuff from country to rock to gospel just to show the different things I like and do but I love to rock. I am not much on the operatic stuff that is out there and I’m not about any pitch correctors on my voice either. I am just blessed with a clear powerful voice and I love it.
You perform and belt out your vocals like a true rocker. You would never think that your background is in country music. How does a country princess end up a metal queen?
*Laughs* Well, again, blame Westlake and Boggs. I’d stumbled onto Westlake in a studio in Ashland, Kentucky to do a demo and he was the engineer in there at the time. So I did the singing and he and I started working together on writing material but I was still in country. One day he and Boggs approached me and said we have a gig in 14 days and no singer –think you can try to do it? I said yes so they made me a CD of 40 cover songs ranging from AC/DC to Dio, Whitesnake, Priest, Heart and on. I was like, wow I don’t know. So what I did is learn the melody of the songs and then taped 40 songs worth of lyrics to the stage and did the show. It went over so well that I decided to keep going with it and here we are today. I love to sing anything but I love to rock the most.
With all the success of “Judgement”, in other ways it was a difficult year for you and Hydrogyn. You gained and lost a potential guitar match made in heaven with ex-Megadeth guitarist Jeff Young. It looks like the dust has finally settled from that failed collaboration. What have you learned from the experience?
That having one guitarist is plenty good enough *laughs*. You never know how things are going to work until you try it, and some may refer to it as a match made in heaven and others or myself may say hell. *laughs* Sorry. Needless to say, it just didn’t work for us, for me, for whoever. I’m just glad it’s over and we’re able to move forward with the release. Lesson learned. Why fix it if it’s not broken. We’ve been playing with one guitarist for a couple of years now and that’s how we’ll continue on for the duration.
Legendary producer Michael Wagener has been a great friend of the band since “Bombshell”. How has your relationship with him impacted the musical evolution of the band?
A lot of ways. Just his support has been enough but the biggest way is probably that Jeff Westlake has been mentored by him as an engineer and music producer since 2005. That has been the biggest impact of all I think. The last two releases, “Deadly Passions”, and the new one “Judgement”, have had three songs on each produced by Michael and the others by Jeff. Jeff has learned so much it’s amazing. Reviewers have said they can’t tell who did what because it all sounds so good and that’s huge for us and especially Jeff. Jeff is also building a new studio as well as he’s busy with other bands all the time so the relationship with Michael has been big on many, many levels but the bottom line is that we love the guy.
You managed to score Doug Pinnick of King’s X to perform on the track “Big Star”. How did he get involved in the “Judgement” project? You must have had some high expectations for the result. So how did he do?
Well, he did great! *Laughs* We’ve known him since 2006 as King’s X works with Michael as well so that’s how it came about. Jeff Westlake had mentioned it one day to Jeff Young and so Young contacted him and the rest is history. He’s unreal and soulful and a great player as well so he did the male vocal part and the bass line for the song. We love it.
You release regular albums with Hydrogyn and tour extensively. It doesn’t leave a lot of free time yet you still found time to record a solo album. Why did you decide to step outside your comfort zone with the band and do something on your own? Did you have a creative itch that couldn’t be scratched within the confines of the band?
Yeah, I do in a way. I’ve had so many comments made about the “country” background and friends and family asking me to do some stuff along those lines that I decided to do it. This solo CD is basically for them and I have another one on the way that will be more of what I want to do which again is different than Hydrogyn. Westlake and Boggs are working on a side project too called Ura-Kia and then Westlake has another one as well called Slave Train. These will all see release in 2011 and another Hydrogyn record as well. Now that’s a lot but it’s the way we love it. I really don’t have just one comfort zone. On the solo release, which is called If Ever a Day, I do country, rock, gospel and the title cut is a bit of a jazz/blues tune that I wrote so it’s a bit of everything. The next one will be more of a rocker.
You’re no stranger to singing cover songs – you’ve had at least one cover on each Hydrogyn album. As a cover expert then, what’s the attraction to putting a cover song on an album when you could be adding another original track?
You hear songs you like and you catch yourself singing them and then you go, “Wow I‘d like to do that!” So we do! On “Judgement”, we have fans asking for “Gold Dust Woman” as a lot of people have heard us doing that one in acoustic settings so we did it for the fans. “Assault Attack” from the Michael Schenker Group is done because I love the song and so do the guys, so we did it. We could always write another song to put on the CD but those cover tunes are for us and we enjoy them a lot.
What’s the criteria for selecting a good cover song? You’ve performed covers by everyone from AC/DC to Alanis Morissette to Fleetwood Mac!
Just loving the track. We did “Back in Black” in our live show when we met Michael and he said can we please record that and we said sure. I think the only cover song we have done that had some resistance to it is “18 And Life” because Westlake hates the song. Other than that, we have a vault of cover tunes recorded just waiting for their time, so to speak. Now “Assault Attack” was my idea but it took no time for the guys to jump and do it. That’s been one of Jeff‘s faves since it came out in 1982.
“Big Star” was part of your original “Best Served With Volume” demos from 2004. Why did it take so long to formally record?
We also recorded it for the “Bombshell” sessions and it made the live release of “Strip’em Blind Live” in 2007. We just love the song. Westlake wrote it in like 1999 and we said this song has never had an official release so we reworked it a bit and then got Doug involved and it just came out so good that it finally got the green light.
Do you have any other great tracks lurking in the Hydrogyn vaults that are waiting to see the light of day?
Yes. A ton actually and Jeff would kill me if I said what. We’ve been talking of releasing a cover CD so for now I have to keep mum.
Fashion alert! OK now, is that really the “Bombshell” outfit you’re wearing on the “Judgement” cover?
Yep, sure is. I thought that since the album title was “Judgement”, and that a lot of people have judged myself and the band since we started with the “Bombshell” album, that it only made sense to be viewed with the same outfit that started it all.
How much does your image play into your music?
I think this industry is a lot about image. So a big part of what we do with my image is about marketing. It really doesn’t have anything to do with the music; it’s just the role and persona I play on stage.
Look at any Hydrogyn album cover from “Bombshell” to “Judgement” and anyone can see that you play the role of the “rock vixen” to an extent. How much of that image is you merely expressing your own sexuality or a facet of your personality and how much is a product of women having to play that role in hard rock/metal music to be successful?
With the album covers, the pictures are supposed to represent the title of the album, not what or who Julie Westlake is. What I wear in the pictures on the covers is not always what I wear on stage. I don’t think it’s necessary that I have this particular image, it’s just the image I choose to represent each album.
Has your image had any negative impact on how seriously people respond to your music? Is there a stereotype you have to constantly fight against?
I wouldn’t say negative. Some people don’t like it but you’re not going to make everyone happy. I’m here to hopefully make people happy with our music, not with my clothes. If they don’t like the image, then they can close their eyes because the music is still good.
How do you see your image evolving as Hydrogyn becomes more and more established?
You never know. Again, a lot of it has to do with the album title and how it influences me. Of course, fashion is always changing, so you just never know what I will do next.
You’ve battled in the business and media trenches for many years now. Do you have any advice for young women aspiring to a career in music?
It’s really tough. You have to be willing to work long and hard for it. Don’t expect things to happen fast. It’s a long road and a lot of work and it’s important to create thick skin because people are always going to be tough on you no matter what.
When will you be hitting the road to tour behind “Judgement”? Is the focus going to be on the United States first and then head over to Europe?
Hopefully in the spring. We’re trying to focus more on the States this time around but also feel that Europe is such a strong area for us and we love our fans so much there. So, hopefully we will be able to hit both next year.
What can longtime fans expect to see in your new live show?
One thing you can always expect is a very energetic show. Our live show now consists of a variety of songs from all of our previous albums, as well as a few cover tunes along the way. And then, of course, we always take time after the show to spend time with our fans and we really enjoy meeting everyone.
(Famous) Last words?
I guess I would have to say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. In this case, an album. Let the content decide whether or not you’re a fan, rather than making assumptions based on an image of someone you’ve never met.
Label : Svart Records/The Ajna Offensive
Review by Luisa Mercier
Four are the entities of God: Christ, Jehova, Satan and Lucifer and each of them can be found in human nature shaped as hate, love, joy and pain. This vision, that reminds me of the Manichean Church of the origins of Christianity, was typical of the Process Church of the Final Judgement, one of the most unique and controversial cults of the latest decades. It was rumored to be linked to Charles Manson and Satanism, but now it is dissolved and what remains are its rites. Sabbath Asssembly have put in music the most sacred texts of the Church and also have revamped some of their most revered hymns, stuff reserved to the most important members. The songwriting is quite simple, mostly based on acoustic music, to be played in church and it is also background to reading of sacred texts. The overall experience is quite alienating as all good cults should be while Jamie Myers vocals are sweet, versatile, really beautiful, I appreciated that are so different from the vocals usually found in occult acts. Genesis P-Orridge delivers readings throughout the album, giving the effect of call-and-response between priest and flock. I do not know the exact aim of this album, maybe it is just a tribute to the Church, but it is powerfully effective.
Rating – 80/100
- Let Us All Give Praise and Validation
- We Come From the One
- Bless Our Lord and Master
- We Give Our Lives
- Christ You Bring the End
- And the Clarion Calls
- In the Time of Abaddon II
- For the Love of the Gods
- Jamie Myers – vocals
- Dave Nuss – guitars
Interview by Alessandra Cognetta
If you’ve never heard about them, this is a good chance to get to know more about Sabbath Assembly, a daring musical project that focuses its works on the hymns and texts of the Process Church (which we’re talking about right below). Their second album “Ye Are Gods” has just been released by Svart Recods and Ajna Offensive and we had the privilege to speak with mastermind Dave “Christian” Nuss and vocalist Jamie Myers about the new album and much, much more.
Hello and welcome to Femme Metal! It’s a pleasure to have you both here. Sabbath Assembly‘s upcoming album “Ye Are Gods” will be released in a few days, how are you and how do you feel during such an important phase?
Jamie: Terribly excited!
Dave: We are excited and grateful for the opportunity to share this music with the world.
How would you describe “Ye Are Gods” to someone who still hasn’t had the chance to listen to it?
Dave: “Ye Are Gods” presents hymns and liturgical text of the Process Church of the Final Judgment, a religious movement that began in the UK in the 1960′s. These are prayers and praise songs to the four major deities in Western religion: Christ, Satan, Lucifer and Jehovah. The album brings the listener through a cycle of spiritual death and resurrection.
There are a lot of guests on the album, with Genesis P-Orridge voicing the Sacrifist, Eyving Kang playing viola on “Declaration of Gods” and Imaad Wasif delivering a stunning performance on “We Give Our Lives”. How were these collaborations born?
Dave: The project seems to attract a wide range of occult thinkers and performers, and we welcome this opportunity to bring many voices to the recordings. Genesis came on board via Feral House Books, who supported our first album and subsequently recommended Gen to the project. Imaad was part of the very first incarnation of Sabbath Assembly and was recommended by the publisher of Timothy Wyllie’s book about the Process, to be discussed further below.
Jamie, let’s talk a bit about your involvement with the new album. What was your approach on Sabbath Assembly‘s music (previous works included), and how much did you participate in the creation process?
Jamie: When Dave first approached me about the project we had many discussions about which direction to take the new material in. He was extremely open to new ideas and graciously allowed me the room to explore the music in my own way. Especially when it came to reinterpreting the hymns from a vocal standpoint. It was important to me that I approach the melodies and harmonies with a level of creativity that satisfied me, while still maintaining the authenticity of the original hymns. Dave and I seemed to bounce ideas off of one another with a certain amount of ease and I was appreciative of the freedom to experiment with “Ye are Gods”. Nothing felt overly planned. There was good chemistry and the spontaneity just flowed.
It almost seems like you recorded the album as one whole piece, I admit I had to check a few times to see what track I was listening to. Was it in your plans to give the album this sense of, if I may say so, “unity” (integrity?), or was it a natural development of the writing process?
Dave: The album follows the structure and format of the Process’ “Sabbath Assembly” liturgy. Our task was to blend together text and hymn in such a way that a rock album was made, rather than simply a document of a Church recording. We tried this more documentarian approach at first, and the results fell flat. Our hope is that the story of the liturgy is well-conveyed through the final result of weaving prayers and hymns into and through each other. The credit for the narrative flow must go to the writers of the Mass.
What drew you towards the Process Church in the first place? How did you find out about it and why did it catch your interest to the point that you decided to base your musical production on it?
Dave: In Timothy Wyllie’s book “LOVE SEX FEAR DEATH”, there are several reproductions of sheet music in with the photos and propaganda of the Church. These immediately caught my eye, and in particular one called, “Christ and Satan Joined in Unity.” For some years I had been light-heartedly referring to myself as a ‘Christian Satanist’ — I just felt I could sympathize with both sides — and here was a hymn that was singing about this exact concept. It was a great moment of synchronicity; and thus a plan was hatched to bring these hymns into the world.
Your music is (please, correct me if I’m wrong) at present the only recorded version available of the hymns. Do you consider this a burden, a responsibility, or a pleasure, being able to spread Processean theology?
Dave: These are the only recordings of the hymns, and we do feel a great honor and responsibility in bringing them into the world. We’ve had many discussions in the arranging process about the question of authenticity. In the final analysis, Sabbath Assembly are interpreters, not historians. On the first album we printed the sheet music for two hymns in the cd booklet of the EU tour version, and on this album we print sheet music for 8 hymns, in both the LP and CD. Part of the intention behind this is to express that Sabbath Assembly does not hold any exclusive right on singing and recording this music; and others, should they feel inspired, can also participate in this movement. This is one reason we try to keep the focus of Sabbath Assembly as much as possible away from the personalities of the band; it’s the message that’s important, not the members.
The song “In The Time of Abaddon II” features words from the “Discourse of Abaddon” by Timothy I of Alexandria (Bishop of Alexandria between 378 and 384) and is the first track from “Ye Are Gods” to get a – very suggestive – music video. Why did you choose to implement part of this scroll and how is it linked to the Processean main theme of the album?
Dave: The first album has a song called “In the Time of Abaddon”, so in the wake of performing that tune we embarked on some research into the myth and story Abaddon, the Angel of Death, and discovered the “Discourse”. In terms of the album sequence, the song follows the hymn “Christ, You Bring the End”, for Abaddon is the creature you meet at your “End”; he frightens your corpse with his hideous appearance so that you willingly give your soul to God. “Abaddon II” is actually not a Processean hymn but one we wrote ourselves because we wanted a moment with a particularly dark feel, and honestly most of the Process hymns are fairly joyful. On a deeper level, the “Discourse” presents an ambiguous portrayal of Abaddon and his interaction with Jehovah that leaves the reader wondering who’s actually the “evil” one in the story. This moral complexity of what is “evil” and what is “good” also fits well with Processean ideas.
Jamie, what brought you to Sabbath Assembly? You performed with Hammers of Misfortune and Wolves in the Throne Room before joining forces with Dave, how would you describe these three phases of your career?
Jamie: I started out in music like many of my peers. I tagged along with my older sibling to a ton of metal shows and spent a lot of my youth going to DIY shows and playing in punk/hardcore bands. All the while, seeking out and listening to any interesting bit of music I could find. I would scour the dusty record bins at second hand stores for anything metal, punk, deathrock, even old country. It didn’t stop there either, I made it my mission to seek out every prog rock gem I could get my hands on. So when the offer to play bass and sing for Hammers was laid on the table I snatched it up. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play music that was influenced by some of my favorite musical genres. The level of musicianship that the members of Hammers had was unlike any other project I had been a part of. It really pushed me to better myself as a bass player and vocalist. My involvement with Wolves followed some shows that Hammers had played with them. I had a strong connection with the Weaver brothers and could tell that those guys were on the brink of something great. So when they asked me to work with them I happily obliged. In a round about way, performances with those two bands are what led to my involvement with Sabbath Assembly. Dave and I were familiar with each other’s music and had come from similar backgrounds so it wasn’t a stretch for the two of us to collaborate.
Timothy Wyllie (an original Process Church member) is featured on “Transcendence”, his voice delivering words from “Gods on War” by Process Church founder Robert DeGrimston. Why did you decide to seek him out and what where his thoughts on Sabbath Assembly?
Dave: For the album sequence we needed a moment following the apocalyptic “Abaddon” to bridge us into the redemptive tale that is the last track, “The Love of the Gods”. Timothy‘s homily about “the new beginning” that follows every death is absolutely inspiring. He has been a part of Sabbath Assembly since the beginning of the band, actually, as he and I and his book publisher, Jodi Willie, hatched the idea of the project together at a Book Expo in NYC that presented his book about the Process. Since then he has been a great support.
Have you ever received any particular or unusual critics or comments regarding your music?
Dave: We saw recently that a critic tore apart the last track on our album, “Love of the Gods” because of the positive vibes. It is important for people to know that while the Process did dress in black and preach about the Apocalypse, they also spoke with great joy of the inevitable reconciliation that awaits those who can unify good and evil in their lives — the Phoenix rising from the ashes. In some circles it’s more acceptable to sing about death, and in others it’s more acceptable to sing about life; Sabbath Assembly needs to do both.
Dave, I’ve read that playing drums and listening to rock music caused you some troubles in the past, to use an euphemism. It’s no secret that religion isn’t very fond of metal music. I’m Catholic and live in Italy, and I’d be redundant if I described the poor situation we’re in, “metal-wise”. Do you think there is a way to reach a sort of reconciliation, or maybe there’s already some form of mutual understanding and we just can’t see it (because having something to whine about is more entertaining)?
Dave: I really feel that what the Process teaches is a gateway for the future of Metal. We passed through the Satanic thrash of the 80s and the Church-burning black metal of the 90s. Karmically these steps needed to happen because of the history of the Christian Church and the repressive and destructive steps it took to control the darkness. Darkness of course can’t be controlled or repressed; it is always there, even if you can’t feel it for one moment it is waiting to resurface. So repressing is not the key as much as managing. In this regard, an explosive Satanic Weremacht may not be what the world needs today as much as a more balanced approach. I don’t mean that stylistically music needs to become as tonal and folky as Sabbath Assembly at all, I just mean that thematically bands could potentially work more with the idea of balance. While the metal scene seems to be accepting of bands like us, we can imagine that — MAYBE — in about 1000 years, the Catholic Church will begin to acknowledge the wisdom in this approach.
What can we expect from Sabbath Assembly in the future? Will you still draw inspirations from the Process Church or do you intend to explore new paths?
Dave: There are still many more hymns and texts to explore within the Process Church, so as of now the plan is to continue sharing the depths of their theology as it is revealed to us over time.
That’s it! Thank you both for taking the time to answer our questions. This is the “write whatever you want” space, so feel free to leave a message to fans and readers. We hope to see you soon on the road!
Dave & Jamie: Yes – see you on tour in Spring 2013!
Interview by Si Smith
From the retro feel of Girlschool to the heavier riffage of Kittie, all-girl bands are slowly becoming more prevalent in the metal scene. More and more we are seeing the aggressive side of metal being represented with vocalists like Angela Gossow and Morgan Lander flying the flag for feminine brutality. Crashing into the scene like a juggernaut come Frantic Amber, a true international phenomena with members from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Japan. Vocalist Elizabeth took some time off screaming at the mike to tell Femme Metal more about the band…..
Firstly I would like to welcome you to the Femme Metal webzine and thank you for speaking with us about the band.
Thank you, it’s my pleasure!
Casting your mind back to 2008, how did the band start and how did your involvement with the band begin?
Well Frantic Amber was a project Mary started in 2008 and went from project to band march 2010 where we completed the full line-up. I joined forces with Mary in fall 2010 where we recorded the first demos of “Bloodlust” and “Unbreakable”. With the new demos we started looking for new band members and I must say that I feel lucky to be in Frantic Amber with these wonderful girls!
The encyclopedia tells me that “Amber warning lights provide effective illumination in the darkness, and are known for providing bright, powerful beams that are still easy on the eyes”. The similarities speak for themselves! If you could convey a message to the world through Frantic Amber, what would it be?
Be yourself! Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, because you can! You can do whatever you put your mind to!
You describe your music as “Brutal female metal from Sweden”. Is being an all-girl band important to you and your mission?
Yes, no boys allowed! *laughs* Well it’s what we decided to do at the beginning of Frantic Amber and we just have so much fun together! We want to be an inspiration for other girls to play heavier music.
There seems to be much vodka and “Red Devil” involved…..It went really great!! We loved Russia and the fans there where totally and wonderfully crazy!*laughs* Yes Russians love their vodka and are very keen to toast! Sandra especially enjoyed the Red Devil drinks and it even matched her hair I don’t drink much or often but I did get to party a bit on the last day after all the gigs and it was so much fun!
You guys seemed to get on well with your tourmates Hysterica. Is this a relationship that will continue in the future? Are there any other bands you have enjoyed playing alongside?
Yes, definitely! They are our sisters in metal and we really had fun together! We will of course continue our friendship and we hope to stir up more trouble in the future!
On your band page Emlee is listed as drummer – yet we see you borrowing drummers for your live gigs – what is the deal with the drummer situation?
Emlee left Frantic Amber so the seat of the drummer is vacant at the moment. We work with live and session drummers now to gain experience and keep on gigging. It’s been great to work with both Jocke Wallgren (Valkyria) and Erik Röjås (Decadence, Netherbird) while looking for our match in a girl drummer!
The EP now out is entitled “Wrath of Judgement” .Do you remember the first song the band ever wrote and worked on? How did the process develop until the finished song?
Yes of course! The first song ever to be made in Frantic Amber was “Bloodlust” and was also the first lyrics I wrote for the band. This was the track that Mary sent me to audition in the first place. I remember I was impressed by the musical skills so I was really nervous when I met her and the former bassist to show my work. The first edition of “Bloodlust” was mostly clean vocals with only a little bit of growl so Mary asked me if I could do it only with growl vocals instead and I was very doubtful at first! But I then went home to research growling and started experimenting with my voice and then “Bloodlust” became what it is today. I’m still continuing to develop my vocal technique and I’m proud to see that we are all evolving together as musicians, as friends and as a band. Since we became a full line-up the music now gets written faster than ever. Someone comes with a riff or an idea and then it gets worked on. Sometimes it’s even a full song. We all give each other feedback and continue to work with the track until we feels it’s done and then I get it to write the lyrics. I write from my own personal experiences, feelings, thoughts, themes and stuff that comes to my mind. – Therefore our songs are very close to my heart and on stage the feelings just wash me over! Once I’ve finished the lyrics I bring them to the band, do a fun mini performance and they give their feedback. So as you can see we all pitch in, we all give constructive feedback so we can get better. The track is officially done when we all are satisfied with the outcome!
Immediately in the first track (also the title track) it is clear that Frantic Amber is no “ordinary” metal phenomena. “I do what I want…..I make my own way…I will not change”. These are very self-empowering lyrics. As singer do you always feel this way when you get on stage and sing the lyrics? How would you like to affect those who listen to your music?
Off stage, no I don’t always feel that way but when I go on stage I become what I sing. I project the feelings I had when I wrote the song and I stand behind every word. I would like the listener to gain strength from “Wrath of Judgement” and understand that it’s ok to just be yourself. Growing up I had a hard time finding my place and I’m still all confused and young but I never want to be anyone else but rather get to know myself and discover who I am. I would like to inspire people to stop caring about what everybody else thinks and stop just doing whatever is expected of you. Be yourself and keep growing as a human being finding your own way in life.
On all tracks of the EP I must say that you manage to sound brutal yet also understandable! It is rare to find a brutal vocalist with such a clear diction, it is great to be able to hear and understand what is being sung. And you sing it with such passion! Did you have any musical training? Are there any particular exercises you do to keep your voice able to produce the sounds you need?
Thank you! That really means so much to me!! Well I have a history of music mostly in classical and jazz. When I lived back home in Denmark I was a part of the local music schools “talent-program” where I had piano as my major and the saxophone as my minor instrument. Later I also took some singing lessons but I continued to develop on my own. My growling is self taught though. I’ve been singing my whole life naturally just because I love it but when I got more into metal I started experimenting more with my voice and that’s where I found my growl. I still have fun finding new ways to sing and will probably never stop evolving my skills. To keep up my growl it’s important that I practise and keep getting stronger because it takes a lot of physical endurance and strength to use vocals like this. Support and correct placement of the voice box is crucial to not getting hurt. I enjoy to do Melissa Cross’s warm ups and making up my own stuff as I go along.
In “The Awakening” you sing “There’s something inside of me raging to get out” – what is it inside of you that drives you to sing and/or write the way that you do? Do you ever want to sing a nice gentle ballad about love and peace?
Sometimes there are just too many feelings going on inside of me and it really feels like they are raging and I don’t know where to place them or what to do about them. In “The Awakening” I describe them as a beast because it feels like it is clawing and ripping me apart. As you may guess these feelings are not of the positive kind but filled with rage, hatred and aggression. *laughs* Sure! I would love to sing a nice ballad, there are always two sides of a person and even I have a soft and nice little girl somewhere in there as well! Though I don’t know if it would suit with ballads about love and peace but that’s why I make a lot of music on my own as solo projects. I have a very broad spectre in music and like everything from classical to the hardest black metal! In my opinion there are two kinds of music: Good music and bad music, period! So for me it doesn’t matter which genre it is but rather how good it is!
The final song on the EP is “Doomed to Walk this Earth” which seems to be brimming with social and political comment. Would you like to take us through the rationale behind this song?
This song is based on the theme of war. It’s everywhere, has always been there and will probably continue to exist as long as humans roam this planet. I don’t know why is has to be like this and I don’t like that people get hurt and killed for stupid reasons as politics, money or power! Of course world peace would be nice but also very unrealistic so as I express in the lyrics of “Eternal War”, pointless bloodshed is always going to be here but that doesn’t mean that I like it!
As well as producing quality metal, your mission statement includes the vision of “building an army”. You certainly seemed to get lots of positive comments from your Russian gigs in your guestbook! How have listeners been responding to the music in general? What is the best way for fans to communicate with Frantic Amber?
We create music and want to share it with the world and hopefully inspire some along the way! We are all very grateful for all the loving support we’ve been getting and it really warms my heart when people come up to me after a show with big excited eyes expressing their appreciation. I think the best way would be to come to one of our concerts! – From home the fans can also find us on Facebook and MySpace.
Finally, what is the next stage for Frantic Amber? Now Russia is conquered, have you any plans on how to conquer the rest of the world?
Oh yes! We will continue on our path to world domination! *laughs* We plan to play live around Stockholm in April, record our next demo/EP in May and then see what happens during the summertime. We are all hungry for development and we intend to keep up our tempo! Hopefully there will soon be more international tours to come!
Thank you so much for talking to us at Femme Metal, Elizabeth, we wish Frantic Amber great success in their attempts at world domination!! Any last words?
You are very welcome and thank you!I would also like to thank all of our fans out there for the amazing support and I want each and every one of you to know that you are highly appreciated and I hope to see more new faces in the crowd! Stay metal!
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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