Pleasure Ground (Load)

Over the past several years, Dominic Fernow (aka Prurient) has carved out a nice little niche for himself as a performance noise-artist. Onstage, a shirtless Fernow screeches into a microphone, while his sweaty, skinny bod whirls about a huge amp, emitting shrill, stinging feedback. To date, his visceral shows have been captivating and fun, but too much of a good thing bores any musician dedicated to sonic experimentation -- especially Prurient. And even though Fernow already makes some of the most aggressive avant-garde music around, the real exploration begins with Pleasure Ground, a 40-minute epic consisting of just four tracks.

Originally released last summer on Fernow's own Hospital Records, Pleasure Ground sees the New Yorker crossing his patented sound (sterile, oscillating distortion) with straight-up doom and gloom. It sounds as though Prurient is burrowing an underground tunnel directly from harsh experimental noise to extreme metal. Massive rumbles and brooding, in-the-red organs break through Fernow's usual wall of feedback. And on "Earthworks/Buried in Secret," this effect peaks when pitted against simple melodies built from malformed, garbled textures. With an unnerving tension coursing through this disc, a music party it ain't.

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