Niagara Falls is a massive source of hydroelectric power. In fact, it is the largest electricity producer in the state of New York. In 1956, a landslide damaged the hydropower site and thousands of production and manufacturing sites were critically affected due to the drastic power shortage. Thus, if Niagara Falls ever did freeze over, an electric-power war would probably ensue in New York, then causing an apocalypse. Now take that apocalypse, place it in Chernobyl, turn it into a movie trailer for a horror-robot-alien film, and you then have Dominick Fernow’s latest album, Frozen Niagara Falls.
Be ready to be distressed and uncomfortable. Fernow, who goes by the moniker Prurient, has released an album off the label Profound Lore Records. It is 90 minutes of white noise, both acoustic and electronic, that is equivalent to nails on chalkboard, with screeching synths, fuzzy static, pounding beats, and harsh feedback. The demonic vocals definitely add to this dark metal experimental chaos.
Fernow stated that his original idea was to make music solely from his guitar and a can of rocks, but that went south and he ultimately incorporated electronics. There are moments on this album that sound as though someone is just smashing all the sound and noise keys on a keyboard. Perhaps in frustration? Maybe out of anger? Both? Or just because?
There are a few tame noise-songs on this album, such as “Jester in Agony.” Contrary to its title, this song provides a meditative, though haunting, break from the rest of the otherwise agonizing and pained—and painful—songs. The album is extensive and the transition from each song to the next is unpredictable. It spans dark, screechy, pained, and thunderously demonic, to drums and guitar lines with actual beats and rhythms, such as in “Greenpoint.” An acoustic guitar plays and transitions into clattering and abrasive high-pitched frequencies.
Only veterans of noise-music — and durable, patient and healthy— ears can make out the tortured lyrics without being ruptured. Fernow’s lyrics violently and spitefully speak on love, hate, loss, and betrayal and paint disturbingly gory images. Frozen Niagra Falls is not necessarily unlistenable, but it should probably only be used for a horror-robot-alien film set in apocalyptic Chernobyl.