Prurient
Frozen Niagara Falls


4.0
excellent

Review

by Tristan Jones STAFF
May 9th, 2015 | 399 replies


Release Date: 05/12/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-treachery

With an artist as notoriously divisive as Prurient, what is a promise worth? To declare one album as bold and torturous might send up red flags of unlistenability, whereas to describe another as accessible and dancey could make traditionalist fans of power electronics groan. Sole member Dominick Fernow refuses to grow comfortable, often treading unfamiliar territory blindfolded. The result is a test of the senses rather than a graceful display - an inevitably flawed performance redeemed by Fernow’s neurotic drive. If previous releases saw the noise music luminary slinking through dance halls and catacombs, his transition to Profound Lore Records has granted more free reign. Frozen Niagara Falls is the most expansive Prurient release yet, borrowing the best elements from his back catalogue while imposing self-restrictions. With so much at his disposal, yet heavily weighed down, Fernow has never been so powerful, yet powerless. Even the title alludes to this, suggesting a great entity rendered useless by something so minor as a temperature change. Opener “Myth of Building Bridges” sets this tone with a dystopian backdrop, laced with 80s-inspired EBM, death industrial, and shrillness, shocking the senses. A metallic voice flatlines with every breath, beaten down by thunderous drums. It’s unforgiving.

Refusing to let up, Niagara's transitions between tracks are unnerving, lending to an unpredictable experience. “Dragonflies To Sew You Up” bears little semblance to the opener, with obsessive drums that tug on Fernow’s seams while his antagonized vocals clash with the delicate guitar and piano. Other tracks feature harsh noise in abundance, such as “A Sorrow With A Braid” or “Poinsettia Pills”. The variation throughout Niagara is well-balanced, as the more abrasive sounds are countered by long stretches of haunting ambience, though never compromising that disconcerting edge. (“Cocaine Daughter” could be a respite, but ends with a cliffhanger as Fernow inhales right before unleashing the cacophonous “Falling Mask”.) As jarring as Niagara can be musically, the garbled storylines amplify its impact in the long term. In a recent interview with Brandon Stosuy, Dominick insisted, “Art should raise questions and not provide answers. In that sense, there has to be enough there for you to even care to ask a question.” Some listeners might find themselves maxing out the volume, trying to piece together Fernow’s cryptic mumblings. Ambiguous emotional display has long been a Prurient cornerstone, and Niagara strikes me as deeply betrayed.

It’s difficult to pin down this betrayal, as it could result from the actions of others, one’s own misgivings, or anyone and no one, as a reaction to overall frustration and harsh circumstances. There are some glaring religious references: “Poinsettia Pills” and “Lives Torn Apart (NYC)” feature lyrics so spiteful, it leads one to believe the speaker suffered at the hands of religious fanaticism. Closer “Christ Among the Broken Glass”, despite the beautiful, monastic guitar melodies and looming bass, calls to mind a twisted rendition of the Kristallnacht aftermath. Fire crackles, delivering an image of no return - the damage has been dealt. Other feelings of contempt seem directed inward, at times Ferrow making his music a vessel for self-persecution. All of this contributes to a distressing listen, made all the more so by the enigmatic subject matter. Niagara feels nonlinear, and doomed to misinterpretation. That’s perfectly fine. Prurient has never force-fed his stories, and with each listen, Frozen Niagara Falls uproots more of Fernow’s skeletons.



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user ratings (165)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
May 9th 2015


6107 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

https://profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com/album/frozen-niagara-falls



thanks to Chris and Stephanie at Profound Lore for the advance copy

Cygnatti
May 9th 2015


31486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

been meaning to get this guy's work. guess i'll start here. ^_^

adr
May 9th 2015


11587 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

smae

oltnabrick
May 9th 2015


35835 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

llllł

MoltenBoron
May 9th 2015


21 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Album's great. Right now I'm just waiting for my physical copy to come in the mail.

Arcade
Staff Reviewer
May 9th 2015


8282 Comments


excellent review tristan

Digging: Vince Staples - Big Fish Theory

oltnabrick
May 9th 2015


35835 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

bummed I missed the cassette pre-order for this, I really don't want to buy a CD but I want to own it

PotsyTater
May 9th 2015


1559 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i would cassette this hard

Ryus
May 9th 2015


14237 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yes johnny, so glad you reviewed this

Digging: Young Thug - Beautiful Thugger Girls

PotsyTater
May 9th 2015


1559 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah ud like this jac

ScuroFantasma
Contributing Reviewer
May 10th 2015


10207 Comments


Great review as always Johnny.

Digging: Emperor - IX Equilibrium

ComeToDaddy
May 10th 2015


1485 Comments


Fantastic review. Sounds right up my alley, really eager to give this one a spin.

PappyMason
May 10th 2015


5702 Comments


Yeah, great write-up. I need to check this out, sounds awesome.

oltnabrick
May 10th 2015


35835 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

not funny

Arcade
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2015


8282 Comments


in my defense it was actually pretty funny

Arcade
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2015


8282 Comments


please don't describe my transcendental humour as 'edgy'

Keyblade
May 10th 2015


24393 Comments


you're on a roll

Graveyard
May 10th 2015


6358 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"idk, that had the death of Freddie Mercury which fucking pissed me off"



worst sputnik post of 2015 so far

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2015


6107 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i normally don't encourage comment edit track-covering but omg Arcade plz

nvm

Graveyard
May 10th 2015


6358 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Nice review Johnny, as expected. I liked how you pointed out the balance between the harsh tracks and the more melodic ones on this. "Myth of Building Bridges" is slowly becoming my favorite track of his. It has everything like you described and it's just so goddamn good.



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