Prurient – Arrowhead (Editions Mego) 2008
Well Happy New Year and all that shit. In my time proven tradition I try to start each new year with some good intentions to post regularly. From logging into this blog again after an absence of 12 months it appears that there are still a shit ton of you out there popping by to read my confused ramblings on records. In tribute to the diehards, let’s see how I go this year. As many of you know my review mojo has been exhausted over at The Antidote Podcast but due to our inexact release schedule I have missed talking about a ton of records that have made an impact on me over the past few years,
Lets’s start with an oldie. Prurient’s Arrowhead has a bit of a reputation as being one of Prurient’s defining works. As you probably know Prurient is the name used by Dominick Fernow for his nasty, transgressive, noisy musical output. This year he released the epic Frozen Niagra Falls, a sprawling double CD of darkwave industrial goodness which appears to have been universally ignored in everyone’s best of lists for 2015. I think the problem that people have with Fernow (I think the attitude transcends into his other projects such as Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement and Vatican Shadow) is that he’s a bit of a caricature – like a goth art school major with a flair for the dramatic. I’ve been guilty of ragging on him from time to time. I may have even stated that “I was done with him” during a rather tiresome tirade on the podcast. At the time of that statement I was a bit tired of Prurient’s embrace of darkwave forms in his records. Yet in 2015 I began to embrace this side of Prurient’s work. A decent noisenerd should only consideris whether the record is good, and not some semantic argument about whether such and such record is as good as (insert particular band’s name here) their old stuff.
But whatever anyone’s views on Fernow as an artist the man has made some fantastic records over the years and this critical sniffery from many reviewers (hey I’m just as guilty – OK) in some ways diminish the fact that he is an important artist in the intersection between noise and industrial music. Few of his albums give me as much pleasure as Arrowhead. I bought this last year and gave it a cursory listen on the day it arrived. It didn’t start well – a sadistic drone of high pitched microphone feedback ala Roman Shower. I wasn’t in the headspace for it at the time and I moved on to something else. Just before Christmas I gave it another try and discovered that the feedback of the track, Sternum, is accompanied by minimal drum strikes and some tonal interference which gave the track texture and created tension. The second track, Ribcage, embraces the feedback once more but here it is supplemented with Fernow’s patented cries of anguish to scale up the creep factor. It is the final track, Lungs, which tickled me the most though. A four minute race of tribal style drumming being immersed in washed of feedback. It may be the closest Prurient has come to a noise banger.
Arrowhead delivers a bucketload of noise goodness in just over half an hour. If you’ve become a recent adopter of Prurient’s laterstuff go back and have a listen to this. It won’t disappoint.