The Process
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2005
Well, I rarely write reviews, but this is one of those few CDs that have stuck in my mind so much, that I had to talk about it.

I'm a big fan of Industrial music. I like the popular stuff like Ministry, NIN, and KMFDM but also enjoy the not-so-popular groups like My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, Pitchshifter, and Front Line Assembly. I also listen to some electronic music, but generally prefer the faster, harder tracks. I've listened to some Skinny Puppy, and generally when it comes to their songs I either really love them ("Testure", "Worlock", and "Anger" come to mind) or I just plain hate them. When I say I hate them, I mean that they just sound like noise with absolutely no structure or point ("Download" is a song like that). Either way, with my love for the genre, I continually check out Skinny Puppy tracks when I come across them.

...And when I finally came across the Process albume, I couldn't have been more pleased! I was hooked on this album from the first track "Jahya". It's a track that starts off quietly, and then bursts into several layers of music and noise, including a beautiful piano sequence. On top of all that is loud percussion and some very loud metal guitars that just make you want to head bang. The music warps and blurs and then fades to strange industrial/techno sound and then the track is over. It's just amazing. I had never heard a song like it, and I wanted more. Luckily, Process delivered.

"Death" is the next track, and I was equally blown away. The vocals are angry and the song just makes you want to throw someone through a plate glass window. Everytime "Doesn't mean a thing!" is shouted I just want to punch someone. I was really suprised by the amount of guitars on the albume... SP CD's are generally more electronica/noise driven, but this is one album metal-heads would enjoy as well.

"Candle" and "Cult" are two of the slower songs on the album, and generally I'm not a big fan of slow industrial songs. Well, I love both of these tracks. "Candle" is almost an acoustic song, but it has some layers of guitar in the background that keep it from sounding like it doesn't belong. It's really a beautiful song. "Cult" is more of an electronic song, but is the closest to a ballad that SP will ever get. Either way, both are very listenable and I would never skip either track.

"Hardset Head" and "Curcible" are closer to the style of "Death" in that they are fast, unforgiving, and very heavy songs.

"Process", "Morter", and "Amnesia" are all really hard to describe. They fit on the album, but aren't really heavy or soft. They're right in between, in an area that you rarely see in the industrial genre.

"Blue Serge" is the song that will make you move whether you want to or not. It's the closest track to a techno/dance track that you'll ever hear from SP, but it has a unique sound that no one else could copy. I love to hear this when I'm driving.

"Cellar Heat" is the closer, and is really the only track I could do without. It sounds like a conglomeration of the previous tracks layered over each other continuously and then metaphorically flushed down the toilet. It's an interesting closer to the album, and it seems to say "We did all this, and it's really for nothing." just like how some of us feel after we accomplish something in life and realize just how little it really means.

The album easily gets a 5 out of 5, and I would give it more if I could. I like every song, though "Jahya", "Death", "Candle", and "Blue Serge" stand out the most. If you like the industrial genre, and even if you're not a fan of too many Skinny Puppy tracks, pick this one up. You won't be disappointed.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2004
Longtime fans have made a pasttime out of trashing this album, claiming that its not skinny puppy. Now that greater wrong of the right has distracted their scrutiny from this, here's my $.02.

It's beautiful, i think its the most beautiful puppy album. Quantifying it, saying it is greater or less than, for instance, too dark park, is not possible. But the sound of the process is highly accessible for puppy, in that I liked it the first time I heard it. Zealots would have you believe that this album is a tailspin into the lobotomized realm of pop music. It's not. It's weird as hell.

All of the songs are good. You may recognise Jahya, they stole it and used it in the 6th day preview a while back. Death is monotonous and spasm/scream-inducing. Candle is startlingly unique, and nearly acoustic. Hardset head is invincible hard cunning. Cult is a melancholy amplifier, and Process and Curcible are plain weird. Blue serge is the dance floor hit, it seems. Morter's simultaneously grating, crazy and beautiful, more than usual. Amnesia is just plain beautiful, with a hint of tear garden psychodelia.

Process is the most melodious album, the most strident attempt at dark beauty. I think Dwayne made a hell of a last blast, his effect is undeniable. It will knock you on your ass and drag you by your ankles through a world you've never seen, without explaining or slowing down. Are you being indoctrinated with doomsday cult brainwashing? Or is it just 'opening up channels' as ogre said he intends to do with his music? It does not elicit anger or sorrow, it just reams out a gaping hole in your mind, to let loftier things blow through.

I feel that this album is the best introduction to skinny puppy. Most of the other stuff, as great as it is, took me a long time to absorb and appreciate. Remission's a definite exception, but process is more timely. Like a decade from now timely.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2000
Now, don't look at that subject and crucify me. Unfortunately, it cannot be avoided, I must immediately leap onto the proverbial soapbox to properly review this album to: 1) Hammer in some points that some reviewers haven't quite put enough emphasis on, and 2) Explain the "rules of engagement" of this album.
First and foremost, and I've said this in several reviews, if you want to experience the true sound of Skinny Puppy, by all means, DO NOT start with Process. This is more important with Process than any other album. Their sound here is *far* different from their releases. This is due to several factors: 1) D.R. Goettel (R.I.P.) was not a part of much of its making. 2) There are extremely prominent elements of pop-like rhythm and very heavy metal influences not seen in any other album, even Rabies. 3) Most of Process was put together from pieces of what was left, and released AFTER Skinny Puppy disbanded.
However... despite all these things, Process will always have a place in my heart. The music here has the meaning and the impact of any other album and can hold its own with even the greatest (TDP, VIVIsect, and LR...)
Just as the albums listed above paved the way and set a possibly untouchable example of electronic music, Process sets the same example in the realm of what I've come to know (loosely, anyway) as electronic metal. Yes, the songs are, on average, MUCH more accessible than previous Puppy... and I, for one, welcome the change... because Process is a journey into some of the extremes of Skinny Puppy. The entire album, listened to as a whole, is nothing less than a ride up and down a sinister rollercoaster.
With Jahya, a very foreshadowing introduction, the ride begins. Thundering guitars, wonderous synths, and dark, cryptic lyrics... sewn in here and there with trademark SP-style samples. Then to Death, an apocalyptic storm of furious guitar, absolutely beautiful lyrics (among SP's greatest), and movements that start and stop so dramatically at times that the listener is left with whiplash. Then it stops altogether, and Candle begins... probably the most accessible song SP ever made (except maybe Testure). The lyics have the ring of Pink Floyd's "The Wall", tainted with Ogre's nigh-indestructible stream of consciousness. Again, very guitar oriented, and consistent in its beat and its flow. From here things go slightly downhill with Hardset Head, one of the weakest points of The Process. The synths are disruptive to the song in places, and the repetitive pop influence in the song disrupt the album in general. Don't get me wrong, it's not *bad* but it does have frequent encounters with my skip button. It seems the trend here is that the more metal-imbued, guitar-driven songs tend to be the best of the album. The one exception: Cult, another Skinny Puppy extreme, being the most unobtrusive, most tranquil song I can remember hearing from them... even when the guitar suddenly blasts in, it flows with the song, which has a shocking lack of SP's patented noise. Prepare yourself, however, for Process, and especially Curcible, are the opposite end of the pendulum again. In both these songs, much of the lyrics are somewhat chanted in a unison pool of Ogre's voice looped over itself, in different pitches... over music that is heavy start-and-stop, and very unforgiving. The end of Curcible, however, is a bit surprising in its peacefulness. On to Blue Serge, a beat-driven, cacophonic (especially in the synths) song that I've honestly never been able to enjoy. I think it's mainly due to Ogre's lyrics, which seem uncharacteristically lifeless and unexpressive here. Morter, although I find it a little more interesting, falls (albeit not as deep) into this same trap. Then the pendulum swings again to Amnesia, which has a feel unlike anything SP has done... almost to the point of being alien even to this album. Its independence alone increases my interest in it. And finally, there is a typical SP noise outro, this time given the name of Cellar Heat.
Altogether, The Process is a very solid effort, but prepare to be caught unaware by its completely atypical style. No matter what, the most adhering thought that seems to circulate about this album is that it is one of the best the electronic/metal side has ever known... and others in the genre could learn much from the great Skinny Puppy.
Brap on until the very end.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2005
This album is probably the most listenable album Skinny Puppy has out, I think even more so than their 2004 release, Greater Wrong Of The Right. Anyways, even though the most different SP album of the lot, it is truly an incredible experience.

1: Jahya : An amazingly rocking song, if you headbang, you will headbang

2: Death : Perfect for right after Jahya, comes in as pounding rock that does not run bland like many pounding rock songs out there

3: Candle : A beautiful song that i find in the similar category as Cult and Amnesia, 3 most listenable tracks on the album i'd say

4: Hardset Head : Bringing back the blunt and disturbing feel of SP, probably my least favorite of the album

5: Cult : I find similar in tone and feel as Candle and Amnesia

6: Process : Wow, this song changed me a lot. It comes off as a beautiful work of art, and completely sucks you in and has the most interesting vocals in it

7: Curcible : Not my favorite, but still good, on par with Hardset Head

8: Blue Serge : A wild song with a strong bass techno beat

9: Morter : ... if somehow i knew there was another song this good out there, i'd do anything to hear it. This album is worth it alone for this track, some amazing bass and considering this album came out in 1996, it is WAY WAY WAY ahead of it's time

10: Amnesia : Find it to have similar tone as Cult and Candle

11: Cellar Heat : Well, this is kinda like Download at the end of Last Rights, not too listenable, but zones the album out and leaves you staring at a brick wall.

Buy this, get this, it's similar to an Ohgr album as well, you gotta hear it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2004
I'm always surprised when I read bad reviews of this album, especially when they come from longtime SP fans. "The Process" is my favorite with "The last rights". In my opinion, SP have always been about evolution and that's precisely what this album is about. It's a beautiful, sad and brave release. I couldn't care less if they use guitars or not as long as the music doesn't disappoint. And it doesn't, it sounds amazing, so very different from anything else.
Ogre is terrific as always while Cevin and Dwayne (r.i.p.) put out their most emotional music.
Yes this is not the same old Puppy (cold and industrial) but it seems that, for this ultimate release (at least with the classic line-up), they have decided to let their heart speak. The music is so hard to describe : somewhere between industrial, metal, electronica, goth and techno. The best requiem from one of the best bands ever.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2001
Process is like a science fiction book. It has sad melodies, hard guitars, future sound, artificial voices, strange samples.
I know that probably Process is not a typical Skinny album, but it has all the elements that show you is Skinny behind it. And, I think, it is more well done that others Puupy albums in terms
there's no vacuum or something you miss. It's just perfect.
The songs:
- Jahya: A dark and powerfull intro, describing the whole album.
- Death: I like this one. It's hard but noy conventional.
- Candle: One the most perfect songs I ve ever heard. The acoustic guitar is amazing.
- Harset Head: Powerfull and hard electronic song.
- Cult: A secret little master piece. Lyrics are great.
- Process: Interesting electro (and political) song
- Curcible: is good but not my favourite.
- Blue serge: The samples are well done.
- Morter: my song. Absolutely great. The ambience is great, the melody is pure fascination.
- Amnesia: A great song with a great message: Whatever truth means nothing.
- Cellar heat: an appropiate end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2006
The fact that this literally unfinished album still gets 5 stars from me is a testament to the absolute genious of those involved. Due to the conflicts within the band and the untimely death of keyboardist Dwayne Goettel, this project was abandoned and released in this incomplete form. Despite this, it's one of the most detailed, diverse (yet unified), melodic and innovative albums I've ever heard.

After the heartstoppingly dark trainwreck/masterpiece that was "Last Rights", the 3 members of Skinny Puppy set out to create what appears to be a concept album about a church/religion called "The Process". The result is epic and totally removed from the rest of the catelogue. IDM influence bleeds into the quickened percussion, acoustic guitars and string sections enter the mix and Ogre sings cleanly for the first (notable) time. There was an absolutely massive vision behind this thing. One can only imagine what would have happened should things have worked out differently, but I for one am sure it would have stood as their absolute best work.

As it is, it's still consistent. Beginning with the melancholic "Jahya", 2 guitar chords reverberate through the listener's skull repeatedly over a piano melody, Ogre mumbles and it breaks down into a bizarre and violent drum track. The range and scope of the album become apparent.

Next we have "Death", a 'hard-edged' (as the preceding sample states) industrial metal tune with gorgeous melodic choruses and howling atmospherics in the background. Never sounds stale or derivative- truly separate from the rest of this subgenre.

"Candle" is a beautiful acoustic build up with amazingly poetic lyrics. Synths and various beats rise to a climax.

"Hardset Head" is an incredibly busy hardcore techno tune with some very pissed off vocals overlaying. The rhythms simply stop occasionally to reveal layers of melody beneath. The energy here is amazing.

"Cult"... a ballad using mostly orchestral patches. Very personal lyrics and a beautifully quiet and subdued outro. Not easily described. "I live alone...".

"Process" is impossible to categorize. Clicks, beeps and glitches form slowly into a beat with heavily processed (no pun intended) vocals, alternated with an upbeat shouted chorus of "We have progressed!". There's a lot of subtlety and detail here, and the ending is uplifting and a fitting last few moments with the introduction of sweeping synth sounds.

"Curcible" is an awkward, offbeat metal tune with an extremely ominous ending section building into a wall of inpenetrable rhythm tracks. A live staple.

"Blue Serge" reminds me of something that might be on Front 242's "05.22.09.12. Off", a heavily dance oriented song with heavy kick sounds. There's really a lot going on here, but the focus never moves from the beat. People who like 242 or care a lot about the production aspects of industrial will enjoy it. Really, the production on the whole album is incredible.

"Morter" is the most detailed and strange track on "The Process". It took a while to grow on me but now I rank it among SP's best work. Beats and melodies come in and out and form a strange sort of collage. This one has to be heard.

"Amnesia". Tragic and romantic at once, a perfect finale to the album and Dwayne's life. One of Skinny Puppy's best tracks ever. Also possibly the most melodic thing on the album.

"Cellar Heat", Merzbow-esque noise coupled with a backwards version of the opening track. Kind of unneeded but not bad, simply a 30 second outro.

The epic scope of these ideas may not be realized, but the songs are all fantastic. "The Process" is very hard to find and often goes for ridiculous prices ($80!?), but it is essential listening for any fan of industrial music or Skinny Puppy. Some of the ideas present here were in fact expanded upon in 2004's "Greater Wrong of the Right", but a good deal of them were abandoned entirely.

A unique and wonderful experience. 5 stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2002
I've been a Skinny Puppy fan for a very very long time, and I cannot for the life of me, understand ANYONE who claims to be an SP fan, not liking this CD. It is definitely a transitional work and had the group stayed together it would have been the sign of things to come. Perhaps this is why so many were disappointed in this cd when it came out; because it is indicative of a period of style change. But so what? This has happened before in SP's history. I mean, let's face it: Bites/Remission era Puppy does not sound like Too Dark Park/Last Rites era Puppy. And anyway, truth be told in some ways this cd seems to me, to represent an amalgam of all the differing styles through SP's history. There's even a return to the thrashy guitar on some tracks not really heard since the Rabies album. And there are some new things, like Ogre's changes in singing style on some track and a curious but effective almost ballad-like track. All that matters to me is that the cd works. Despite the differing style changes (which represented the two camps of contention within the band) it retains the same angry, dark mood that is typical of Skinny Puppy. Some have said this is their most commercial/accessible cd. Well....in some ways that is true...the production is certainly a lot more slick than in previous efforts perhaps but can you honestly imagine hearing this on the billboard top 40 along with all the R&B histrionics, talentless boy bands and post Seattle scene schlock rockers? I think not...still too noisy, angry and experimental, so "accessible" is really not a word that can describe this cd. And it is surprising how well this cd works considering Ogre wasn't communicating with the other two members of the band when it was recorded. Simply amazing work. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2002
I've had just about enough of the guitar bashing from everyone. I haven't seen such a sudden dedication to metal guitars since FLA's "Millenium." How can fans complain about the new hardcore sound they approached in "The Process?" Sometimes I worry that someday, if people whine enough, guitar might find it's way out industrial music forever. But can you honestly go back to mellow electronics after hearing this awesomeness? There's only one band that doesn't need guitar to sound dark and evil, and that's Numb. But even they started out with guitar. I can't believe all these bands were brave enough to become high-tech metal. They knew it would upset fans, but what did everyone expect? Skinny Puppy obviously isn't the happiest band in the world. It was only a matter of time before songs like Tin Omen opened their eyes to the power of guitar. The hardest songs on this album are Death, which won't give you time to catch up, and Crucible, which has the raddest drums I've ever heard at the end with a clip of some guy giving a hardcore speech. Track 5 "Cult" should have been on the radio and gotten these guys the publicity they deserve. It's one of the slowest and "prettiest" songs they have to offer. And they even throw a little guitar into that as well. The Process only has one flaw, Track 8, "Blue Surge." It's the first song without guitar on the whole cd, and not to judge the band, but it's way to happy and downright silly sounding to fit in on this album. It sounds like they were just messing around in the studio. "Morter" almost makes up for it by combining some nice electronics with some super high tech guitar that reminds me of the elecrtic gremlin from Grmelins 2. I recommend you buy this as soon as possible, along with a copy of Millenium or hard Wired by Front Line Assembly. And remember, these aren't trance bands. If you can't handle a little manly guitar, there's always plently of happy female singer bands out there that can make you feel safe.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2003
It's a toss up between this and rabies as to which is the more accessable album. Both are uncharacteristicly musical by skinny puppy standards. The difference is that I keep coming back to the process, where as the first time I got over rabies that was it.
So about the album. This was american recordings effort to make a commercial record. By in large they were actually amazingly successful. Ironically the label then failed to put any effort into promoting this commercial effort, so it didn't sell noticably more than anthing else puppy ever did.
The range of sounds on this album is amazing. Candle is actually almost acoustic. A couple other tracks have a moderately techno feel. There are the moderately embarassing metal tracks (not so much because they're bad, infact death is quite good, but because skinny puppy skirted the metal line a few times years earlier when it was still a current sound- these tracks are just ridiculously dated) Morter (probably my favorite on the album) and a few others are reminiscent of the trademark wall to wall noise dance sound that made skinny puppy the band they were.
There are times when I'm in the mood for this band, and times when i'm not. The process has consistently appealed to me at the times when I'm not in the mood for skinny puppy. It's the first album they ever did not based out of a noise pallette, not that it doesn't break into noise, it just doesn't live there.
the biggest disapointment in this album is only that it's not really skinny puppy. But out of the 10 amazing studio albums the band did, I do rank this toward the top.
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