Sunday, May 21, 2006

1st Full Review of Weapons of Mass Percussion



The Process - Weapons of Mass Percussion

A Modern Reggae/Metal Political Opera

This is by far the most ambitious musical statement undertaken in response to our invasion of Iraq, though it is a difficult listening experience. No la-de-da here, no sir. This sure is a gutsy statement for a post 9-11 American band who may wanna sell a few discs to a distracted and frightened public. Why would you wannna lay down your hard earned ching on this when you can buy a tasty glazed disco doughnut by Bo Bice or Kelly Clarkston, its much easier to listen to and you don't have to think at all. Hey mon, you better stay with all them typical bread and circuses peddled to the masses. It's far too heavy for you American Idol types. Some of you might be puzzled by this disc; its not typical Process stuff. It communicates thematic content almost entirely through synthesized instrumentation and dubbed-in sound effects and voices. The Process have outdone themselves in creating this apocalyptic punk/reggae opus. Its a totally outrageous in its scope as it intersperses dub mixes along with traditional Rasta rhythms to tell the tale of a never ending war, a war so deeply embedded in ancient wounds scratched open by Americas hegemony that it threatens our very survival. The architecture of the sound is programmed for maximum effect and it is evokes a type of primal worry. It is not difficult to imagine the horror portrayed in this synthesized Armageddon. The sound is clear and stark, almost operatic, lending itself to a soundscape that is haunting and discordant. A horrifying beauty. The prologue, Rasta Soldier, portends revolution with its insistent rhythms as Asher spits out his disgust like a bad taste in his mouth. His urgent rasp is seething in anger, protesting our foolish open-eyed self-immolation. Asher dispatches a traditional verse/chorus/bridge for a minimalist format (parados) with a simple repetitive verse, a hopeful message, Coming from rebel country over the mountains and hills, its a Rasta Soldier. Stay out of Babylon. But there is little chance to save Babylon or Baghdad, or each other, as mans time is up and those of the earth must return to dust. And mans folly, a legacy of international terror, death and destruction, gains ascendance. The rest of the disc is divided into movements or episodes, the first such episode Osama Forgotten identifies the moral ambiguities of 9/11 including the reactive use of violence and state terror. This segment is less musical as echoed and synthesized sounds are layered between inhuman computerized voices, If you obey me, you will survive and dub mixes of radio broadcasts, "We have an airplane crashed into the pentagon". It tells the story of our post 9-11 experience and our deeply felt moral uncertainties. In their unquenchable thirst for power and control of markets and resources, our leaders have created the exact conditions for Armageddon and the end of times. Can the Rasta Soldier help us regain our spiritual balance and apply the universal standards of peace, love and justice to anyone but ourselves? The Logic Probe opens like an old Karloff horror flick, the mad scientist intones (with a slight British accent), Bring in the Logic Probe well jolly well right, bloke. This is some spooky shit; all they need is a Theremin to complete the vibe, though the other worldly background vocals echo incredible haunting tones, poetry without words. The theme of Megatron Cube , "Disclosure Averted; Continue Observations" signals that middle phase of post 9-11 in which government duplicity and the subversion of civil liberties are apparent though accountability becomes quite elusive. In the 4th Episode Tetragammatron, Asher reprises Rasta Soldier but it seems that the battle between the sacred and profane has reached a more terrifying level of destruction, our very soul us at stake. This is trippin music but its a bad trip, destruction everywhere, at least in the beginning and just as it feels hopeless the tone and rhythm begins to change and a glimmer of a small hope seems to emerge from despair and is echoed into the fade out. Subsonic Temple reveals the governments not-so-clever use of propaganda "STAND BY FOR MIND CONTROL". The disembodied voice of President Bush declares, "Weve just seen the first war of the 21st century and there is universal approval". Its followed by a dubbed-in bit by the Three Stooges, "Quiet numbskulls, I'm broadcasting". Then Asher sings, "Why you such a crazy dog?" perfect. The band really shines on this track with Garrick Owens licks finally getting out front in the mix, and he rocks as if his life depended on it. This cat can play! Vortex 4 continues the heavy metal assault all caution is observed as the haunting vocals and ghostly harmonies portend danger. It is in this episode where the battle between commerce/profit and humanity is clearly engaged. Who or what will prevail? The Evildoers Stamp'd Out In Dub episode features the horn section from the reggae/ska stalwarts Stamp'D. The music echoes our spiritual void and seem to protest our blind obedience as if to say "WAKE UP" and serves as an effective segue to Weapons of Mass Percussion and the whispers of conscience as "other voices" give rise to an alternative perspective - "I don't know anyone in any government or any intelligent agency that I can think of who has contended that Iraq had nuclear weapons - that's fact ..1" - to peculiar Bushisms such as "It will take time to restore chaos." This epiosde is a wicked and spot-on satire of our controlled media with the (now obligatory) opening teaser, "Terror, Horror, and Death - News at Eleven". Weapons Part II sets the stage for the dub mix of a glorious trio of songs originally heard on the triumphant Blood & Bones beginning with Rapdown, a warning about "evildoers and devil governments" that also plants the seed of hope...Jah is not dead, Jah is alive and well and can hold them in a cloud and in a lightning bolt. A musically dynamic track, a celebration of the spirit like Pete Seeger's "We Shall Overcome". Run Them Down warns "You better wake up" as the dub mix is accompanied by echoed voices and synthesized sounds that resemble an acid trip that alters your sense of reality and reveals a truth that exists deep inside you beneath layers of acculturation and social control. It's your truth but it's somehow universal and suddenly, and only for a moment, you realize that you are part of something much bigger. Rising Up (Old School and Techno) is the resolution of the internal conflict and a call to the universal spirit. It is a song of hope with an undercurrent of wonder...It's not too late, is it? The Process have created a difficult but wondrous musical document and they have joined hands with other iconoclastic artists such as Steve Earle (The Revolution Starts Now) and Neil Young (Living With War) who have the courage of their convictions and are not afraid to speak their minds. Damn Commerce, Do Right.

Peace, Bo White

"Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph." Haile Selassie

Writer, Author Bo White has reviewed a zillion CDs and concerts over the years. He's the man to see if your band wishes to showcase at the legendary Whites Bar. In addition he is a founding member of SAGINAWMUSIC.COM

The White Pages WHITESBAR.COM

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