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Mesmerising drone-a-thon with surprise sting - 73%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, January 9th, 2013

An unusual departure for Electric Wizard: "Processean (Procession)" is completely instrumental and though the musicians use organ keyboards, drums and guitars that are recognisable, they're employing these instruments more for effect in a minimal orchestral way than to play an actual song with riffs and melodies. The result is a piece that might be part of a longer music soundscape more appropriate for an extended religious ritual than an album of songs. No wonder the band released it on its own: if the song failed in any way, EW could always ignore it politely. This punter is happy to say though that the track, while not the best thing EW have done, bubbles with an energy all its own. There is plenty of potential in the track to be something greater than what it is and perhaps at a later time the band could revisit it and pull out a longer, more complex work out of it.

The track begins with what sounds like a tune-up / warm-up, with everyone trying out their instruments and savouring the notes, what these can do and produce, in unison. A beat starts up and you quickly realise this warm-up dronerama is the real deal. In spite of the apparent formlessness, there are a lot of changes throughout the track: they're all in the details of the unfurling tapestry of music. Guitar feedback drone swirls continuously like a small plane lost in the clouds above, trying to reorient itself; the organ carries on, indifferent to what's going on around. The hand-drumming is steady and serene. Only near the end (within the last minute) is there any change, and then it is sudden and completely opposite to what's gone on previously: before, we had calming layers of music and hypnotic serenity, now we have empty space slashed by metal razors.

A mix of trance drone, doom metal and industrial-lite, this recording will surprise and confound all those who thought EW were good only for playing retro-doom and stoned-out psych music. The single's title and the way the music proceeds to the surprising and devastating climax are entirely in keeping with the themes that have inspired the band in the past and which EW revisits from time to time: an individual's escape and liberation from the oppression of real life, only for the freedom found to be a double-edged sword with the potential to become another form of imprisonment and slavery.

Originally the track was written about The Process Church of the Final Judgment, begun as a UK-based offshoot of the Church of Scientology but incorporating Christian mythological elements, but listeners can apply its message to other institutions and belief systems that promise similar relief for the mind, body and soul, but have something else hidden that they don't want to tell us about.

The Processean - 78%

StoningDoom, August 26th, 2012

Being an Electric Wizard fan for quite a while, it sure does increase your expectations on their new titles. Especially titles such as 'Come My Fanatics....' and 'Dopethrone'. Although this isn't a real LP title, it has its place in the EP collection of Electric Wizard's discography. Just like with a few other ones, this EP had a hard time interpreting to me on its first play. Just like on many other LP's and EP's', for example such as the fantastic album 'Dopethrone', comes along the new, experimental and tight 'Let Us Prey', its hard to think that it is as 'good' or 'enjoyable' as the last. But in reality, after a few plays and once you understand the musicology behind that album, you start to get why they went that way. In this case, the cracks and hardships in the original 'Electric Wizard' members were starting to show in 'Let Us Prey', for better and for worse. I used to dislike 'Let Us Prey' for quite a while with the exception of a few songs, but with multiple play throughs, I started to understand and began to appreciate for what the album was. Now I'm finding myself wanting this wonderful LP on vinyl.

Besides this, front man Jus Oborn (lead guitars/vocals) has been into the occult since childhood and I guess he felt like taking that "dirty, sleazed and filthy doom" into a different and experimental direction. With this, "The Processean" is the result of that, with light droning guitars, thundering and rolling drums and that menacing yet calming organ in the mix. It is no doubt that a lot of casual fans found this track a waste of time, along with why they only released 500 on vinyl, including it was only sold at the "Rise Above 20th Anniversary Show". But going back to what I said earlier, this track is one of those ones that you have to keep listening to and take your time to fully appreciate what they did on this. I was lucky enough to find a rip of this that was aired only once on some European radio station back when it was released.

I have found myself literally replaying this track over and over because the almost ambient like sound it produces is hypnotizing. Behind the music, the menacing message it gets across is like a burnt image in your mind of a "Process of The Final Judgement Church" cult mass being performed. The mood it purveys is incredibly peaceful but with a hint of cult madness. After reading some light research on "The Process Church", it is a very intriguing cult that I am starting to want to find out more about. So I guess researching the cult and fanatical backgrounds behind the music is an enhancer for the experience it paints for you.

I can now see why Jus Oborn and the rest of the band members created this very misunderstood track. The only thing that really bugs me is that its just way too short. I know 11 minutes and 40 seconds is very long for people, especially when the same chords played by the organ and the thundering drums play the exact same thing for its entirety. The longer the better in my opinion though, as the consistent chords, drums and drone just leave you in a hypnotic state. Besides this the length is quite reasonable enough I suppose though, seeing as 'Electric Wizard' aren't entirely an ambient/drone band, they are more about the mind crushing riffs, doom and drug inducing metal. Besides all this, this track is a very unique, interesting and fantastic track to come by once you appreciate the work and the cult message that the band gets across.

In saying this, I would have no hesitation buying this EP on vinyl if it wasn't so damn rare. But again, that's what also makes the album unique.