THE PROCESS CHURCH SABBATH ASSEMBLY RITUAL @ CINEFAMILY

August 27th, 2009 |

From a Process publication:

“UNIVERSAL REAL ESTATE
The property is roughly spherical. 8,000 miles frontage on all sides. Scheduled for demolition shortly. Present tenants liable to do the job themselves prematurely.”

The Process Band:

Imaad Wasif
– vocals, acoustic guitar
Jex Thoth – vocals, formerly of the band Totem
Kevin Rutmanis – bass, former bassist for the Melvins, Tomahawk
David Christian – bongos and gong, of No-Neck Blues Band

The Process Church of the Final Judgment acquired what might be its first new members in decades Sunday night during two services at the Silent Movie Theatre. Audience members were initiated into whatever remains of the Church—now after a series of leadership and philosophical changes known as the Best Friends Animal Society—during a ceremony that was surprisingly benign, considering all the hysteria and accusations of Satan worship (not entirely untrue) that dogged the group during their heyday in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.

Though not as aesthetically elaborate as Catholic services, the Process service was strongly reminiscent of the few Catholic liturgies this unbeliever has attended—hymn, call and response between audience and robe-clad officiant(s), call and response, hymn, c & r, hymn, c & r, c & r, c & r, hymn, etc.—with the exception of the gentle banging of a gong at the end of each hymn. The music itself was exactly what devotional music should be: transcendent, beautiful, repetitive and dogmatic. The band members’ indie street cred revived a bit of the musical cache associated with Church in its prime, when the likes of Mick Jagger and George Clinton participated in their publications.

The four-piece sang of serving Christ and Satan, being purified by the fire of latter and given life by the water of the former; Armageddon—Abaddon—and repentance, Jehovah’s strength and Lucifer’s light; and of the Process’ appropriately Old Testament-y prophecy of the end of the world. Unlike the Old Testament, when the world is in flames, blood runs in the streets and we’re plagued by pestilence, hatred and misery, Processians “shall conquer fear with love.” I’m glad my new religion is so awesome.

—Ayse Arf