Frozen Niagara Falls

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Frozen Niagara Falls, Prurient's ambitious 2015 double-CD/triple-LP and first release on Canadian metal label Profound Lore, is a culmination of all of the project's previous achievements. It isn't Dominick Fernow's longest release (his catalog is populated with numerous limited multi-cassette boxes), but it's easily the most diverse, as well as the most sharply focused. Recorded during a period spanning three harsh winters in New York City, the album's lyrics touch upon familiar themes as abusive relationships, drugs, hopelessness, and even religious imagery, and the music ranges from harsh noise to unsettling dark ambient. Most striking, however, is the appearance of acoustic guitars and fretless bass on several tracks, adding a bizarre melodicism to screamed industrial tracks like "Dragonflies to Sew You Up." Some tracks work better than others, but there are many thrilling moments, such as the rapid-fire percussion manipulations of "Poinsettia Pills" and "Traditional Snowfall." Ten-minute "Greenpoint" is the album's centerpiece, starting out with acoustic folk guitar and letting suspenseful horror film score synths creep in, getting washed out with feedback bursts, and then quieting down for an undistorted spoken soliloquy and atmospheric synths. 11-minute closer "Christ Among the Broken Glass" is another intriguing experiment with clear, melodic acoustic guitars, crackling distortion, and whispered vocals, which is somewhat reminiscent of Popol Vuh's scores for Werner Herzog films. Any Prurient release is a demanding listen, but Frozen Niagara Falls is one of his most surprising and rewarding works.

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