I’ve always liked The Process and the incredible full body blast sound that heats you up like a nuclear meltdown whenever you catch them live, or through recordings. The Process has never strayed too far from their unique vision of reggae music and their molten embrace of social consciousness and spirituality. They have a tenacious grasp on a perspective that music can be more than just another silly diversion.
This is all good and true but our airways and information highways are clogged with the stuff that keeps the public isolated, uninformed, and preoccupied with meaningless spectacles such as sports, instant celebrity, and mass-produced disposable culture.
It seems that the more we are plugged in, the more we are tuned out. So unplug your X-Box, I-Pod, DirectTV and Notebook and listen to the real thing. The Process creates astonishingly complex and beautiful music in layers of sounds and rhythms with a voice that speaks an uncompromising truth.
This is the thinking man’s soul music - warm, passionate and political. Even if you don’t ascribe to Rasta principles and practices or the deification of Haile Selassie, you will still be able to dig the music. If you are Rasta, well. You are there.
The Lion of Judah CD is a seven track gem that was three years in the making. It was a painstaking labor of love featuring an international cast of characters including Ghetto Priest aka Squids from London’s eclectic music scene, Skip McDonald from Sugarhill Records house band, seminal techno wizard David Harrow, Adrian Sherwood from the UK Reggae scene, Congo Natty aka Rebel MC and, of course, the members of The Process including Seth Peyton.
The CD was recorded in London, Los Angeles, and Michigan. It was worth the wait. This is one of the most thematically rich and concise bodies of music to emerge since Good Morning Magpie by Murder by Death or John Mellencamp’s No Better Than This. The Process are motor city metal madmen that will take it to you like a full body slam and then pick you up, dust you off and punch you in the face - musically speaking. You may not realize what just happened, but you will beg for more even though your face is bloody and your body is bruised and aching. This is a modern spiritual music. Listen to the gospel.
The music and lyrics are inspired by the story of Haile Selassie’s life and his belief that God’s spirit would prevail over the forces of evil. This is heavy karma in the day and age of never ending war. In Rasta culture, the Lion of Judah represents Emperor Haile Salassie of Ethiopia. Rastafarians hold that Selassie is a direct descendant of the Israelite Tribe of Judah through the lineage of King David and Solomon and that he is the Lion of Judah mentioned in the Book of Revelation. (Revelations 5:5).
The EP contains all of the original mixes of The Lion of Judah Hath Prevailed – Little Axe Mix, Adrian Sherwood mix, Congo Natty’s well toasted mix, Adrian Sherwood’s Mix plus a bonus Dub-Step version by David Harrow. There is a bonus track entitled Ghetto Life by Ghetto Priest from his upcoming CD Sacred Ground.
The disc opens with the original mix of The Lion of Judah Hath Prevailed with David Asher and Ghetto Priest switching off on vocals. The sound is pristine with just enough echo and the vocals mixed up front. There is a solid interplay of instruments with the rhythm section, bass and percussion mixed back and echoed guitar.
Version two is a Chilled Mix worked out by Little Axe. This mix has a softer sound with an emphasis on mixing the sweet harmonies up front in the mix. The drum machine is less effective but never interferes with the message or overall sound. Skip McDonald’s guitar work is splendidly understated. He riffs in an economical melodic style that gives this mix emotional grit.
Adrian Sherwood is the featured producer on the next three mixes. This one features Congo Natty on vocals with Asher. The rhythm section is used to greater effect on this mix. Drum/percussion and Bass lines are more prominent. Natty has a raspy rapping style that drives the power of the message.
Sherwood’s “Toasted” mix brings Congo Natty back in a free-form rap of the Rasta gospel and praise His name. This is the only version that strays from the original lyrics written S.G. Townsend, David Asher and Garrick Owen. There is more of an electronic/synthesized vibe to this mix. It sounds great and Congo Natty’s inspired vocals elevate this version to an almost perfect mix. Sherwood’s final effort, “The Dub” mix - is primarily an instrumental workout that experiments with empty spaces, echo, electronica and synthesized surges of sound and fury
David Harrow mixed the sixth and final version of the Lion of Judah. It is slowed down and has abrupt stops and starts with some wah wah guitar mixed with synthesized squibbles, blurts and conga beats. At times the vocals are accapella and echoed giving this version a minimalist edge
Bonus Track: Ghetto Life by Ghetto Priest from the forthcoming Ghetto Priest CD “Sacred Ground”
Ghetto Life has a sparse arrangement to an unobtrusive reggae beat with occasional electronic doodlings. The musical backdrop includes a somber keyboard riff that weaves in and out of the mix. The vibe is laid back but the lyrics tell a tale about the horror of poverty, violence and exploitation. The contrast is powerful. Ghetto Priest sings in a distinctive tenor that is reminiscent of Sting during the heady days of The Police. A masterful performance!
It is essential to the overall experience of the CD to know the words that support the music. The lyrics are repeated in each of the six mixes with some degree of variation
The Lion Of Judah Hath Prevailed
Standing like patience on a monument, smiling at grief
Blood sweat and tears for the sake of peace
He sits upon the highest regions, overlooking all
the harder they came is the harder they fall
When I see the lightning and I hear the thunder
I know man and woman have made a blunder
Jah makes the winds His messengers, flaming fire His ministers
At his word the mountains rose and the valleys sank down
The Lion Of Judah hath prevailed