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Sabazius' deliver their strange set of music again - 70%

oneyoudontknow, May 19th, 2013

How to deal with mythologies? How to deal with the modern widespread institution called church? How to deal with such obscure figures of the sort LaVey or Aleister Crowley. According to recent studies the trend in terms of spirituality moves away from the larger institutions and in the direction of some kind of fuzzy interpretation of the stories or tales or however you want to describe this properly. In some respect it is tricky, because on the one hand there is a rising impact of fundamentalism, while moderate positions are all too often a target of mockery; the safe position is the one that is taken. This whole issue remains a prominent topic in the metal scene as well as in other ones, due to the special status of religions in modern societies and cultural spheres.

Sabazius have already dealt with this topic in various ways on numerous recordings throughout their “career”, of which the opener of their self-titled debut album might be the best example. A juxtaposition of a diverse set of samples, whose topics range from something as plain as education over to ritualistic chants, helps to bring an otherwise rather minimalist doom metal approach to a level in which it leaves the listener not only fascinated but maybe even to some degree impressed. To those unfamiliar with the band and their albums it might be of use to know that these British musicians have a very peculiar way of approaching the song-writing and on returning to concepts on earlier albums; this becomes especially apparent on their latest split album with Hesper Payne.

Nevertheless, they are able to dig up obscurities, whose content merges together with the metal in a somewhat natural way without leaving the listener confused about the conceptual combination. Unintelligible growling in the background with the narration from the Book of Revelation on top of it. By putting it into the perspective of religion, these contrast remind on a Manichaean world view, which is all too common in the mythology of the established churches. The distorted voice is a mocking retelling of the Holy Scripture, a speaking in another tongue, something that is nightmare inducing. Interestingly, there is a switch in this style towards the end and it is up to a clean whispering voice to continue with the “delayed” second narration. End of Days, an apocalyptic Christian insanity, a megalomaniac fantasy on the supposedly last days of this world, mankind and whatnot. Something worthy to laugh about, due to its overall absurdity, its strangeness, its otherworldliness. As outlined above, the musical setting is rather minimalist – drums and guitars –, but has enough variation and puts enough emphasis on certain passages in order to support the tension, the text and the atmosphere. To point to the excess of repetition in a conventional way would be misleading because Sabazius' concept deals with matter in another kind of way. Unlike other bands the goal of the song-writing indicates an intention of presenting it all in a broader framework, whose main advantage seems to be the confusing oddities that fit together for some inexplicable reason. The British band fails to deliver pleasantries. Actually, rather the contrary would be the truth. They demand attention but deliver just a confusing chaos.

With an opener called Lightbringer their art wanders off into their typical doom ramblings, with the distorted vocals and all this stuff, while only in the second track they present the odd contrasts of samples and metal music. Experimental in design, daring in the execution and demanding on various levels, Parousia is anything but easy, plain or even ordinary.

Based on a review originally written for ‘A dead spot of light (Number 22)’: