Review Summary: “That’s my aim: to make you feel something. Even if those feelings are negative or uncomfortable.”
Prurient is one of the many, many
monikers of Dominick Fernow, a golden idol in the noise community. I found him because a review of his latest album, Frozen Niagara Falls, rated the album very postively. But I gave that album so many chances, and I still didn't enjoy it. Portions of it were physically painful to listen to. I did look up some of Fernow's other releases, of which there is an insane amount. Although I didn't like Frozen Niagara Falls, it made me a little curious. Someone on Sputnik directed me to Prurient's 2011 album, Bermuda Drain. It was supposedly an easier listen, being only 35 minutes long, and is a good gateway record that would ease me into some of Fernow's other works, such as the 12-hour-long, mind-crushing, soul-sucking noise of the album Penis Torture Chamber, released under the name Exploring Jezebel
Before I state my opinion on this album, I would like to point out I am not
a hardcore fan of the HNW genre. I am an outsider. This is something I am definitely not used to listening to.
Bermuda Drain starts off with a horrendous scream of agony on the first track, Many Jewels Surround The Crown. This scream, only seconds long, leads into a gaping void of distorted noise. And then, suddenly, eighties synthpop. Arpeggios of a melody and synth chords, accompanied by Fernow's harsh voice, speaking in an undertone. It is surprising, to say the least, but it sounds beautiful. I like to think that the scream and noise at the beginning of this track was to filter out the weaklings that stumbled across this album. When those people press play, they hear that cry of pain, and they would turn away immediately. But for those people who stick it out for this whole album, they're in for quite a treat.
Only a few minutes into this album is when the titular track appears. Bermuda Drain is one of the more mellow parts of this album. It contains ambient drone-like noises, with choppy sounds that fade in and out of volume, as well as recordings of industrial sounds. It's quite peaceful, with Fernow's voice being a little quieter on this track, and it's easier to understand. The next track, Watch Silently, quickly picks up in intensity. Fernow begins the track speaking in a quiet voice, like how he did in Many Jewels Surround The Crown. But in mere seconds, he begins to shout. He speaks like it's a severe strain on his throat to speak at all. However, it's in a very similar nature to the previous track. They're both industrial, and they both revolve around drone-like sounds and Fernow's voice. Only this track, Watch Silently, is so much more intense and chaotic. It's still fascinating, but in a different way.
The fifth track on this album is probably my personal favorite. The title is Palm Tree Corpse. It happens to be the second-longest song on this album, at just over five minutes. It contains these lush chords, and an easy-listening feel to the song in general. Fernow is repeating a simple phrase throughout most of this song. "If I could, I would take a tree branch and ram it inside you. But it's already been done."
It's quite a violent turn, considering how quiet and kind the instrumental of this song is. All of a sudden, Fernow begins screaming at the top of his lungs, but the sounds of these screams are different from the rest of the album. Because the synths are so quiet, you can hear every minute detail of Fernow's voice. You can hear the insane beauty of it, and what he's saying. It's gorgeous.
There's so much to say about every song on this album, but I'm probably losing your attention by this point, so let's wind it down. Every song is beautiful, but each one has its nuances and new sounds, new ideas, new arrangements that make this album entertaining. But this isn't an easy listen. Although it is quite short, it takes a few attempts for everything to absorb into your head when you listen to this album, and I recommend you do. Bermuda Drain as a whole is peaceful, yet destructive. It's beautiful, yet repulsive. But every moment on this album is art, and more people need to take it in.