Sabbath Assembly

Restored to One

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Jex Thoth, vocalist for the heavy psychedelic retro-rock group of the same name, and Dave Nuss of No-Neck Blues Band have formed this group for the sole purpose of playing hymns associated with the late-'60s/early-'70s cult the Process Church of the Final Judgment. That group, which made inroads to the rock and Hollywood communities with the help of its striking black-hooded robes and German shepherd dogs, not to mention a vaguely swastika-like symbol, eventually disbanded amid bitter acrimony, like many cults before it, but their songs aren't bad at all. As performed on this disc, with Thoth's incantatory vocals up front and relatively simple psychedelic rock behind, they're very much reminiscent of the kind of thing one might hear over the "Black Mass" scene in a 1970s TV movie about hippie witches seducing people to the ways of Satan. But there's no wink or elbow in the ribs from the performers; Thoth, Nuss, and their compatriots take this music utterly seriously, as earnest attempts to convey heartfelt spirituality (the Process Church's message is a bit too complex to sum up in one sentence mid-CD review, but there's some Christianity and some other philosophies bound up in it). Even without knowing anything about the history, this is a very enjoyable record for fans of early-'70s pre-metal hard rock (think Black Widow, Coven, and similar acts).

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