Prurient - Pleasure Ground (Hospital Productions 2xCS)
I had almost forgotten entirely that I even had this double-cassette from Providence's (now New York's) Dominick Fernow aka Prurient. You see, I picked it up at this year's No Fun Fest, and anyone will tell you that things start getting a little blurry when you approach the edge of the merch tables and before you know it you're pulling bills out of your wallet because there is no fucking way you're going to miss out on that Skaters tape. Although I will say that I remember this purchase more clearly than most, particularly because Dominick's girlfriend (I assume?) was selling it to the guy beside me, and when she cracked it open to reveal that it came with a lock of her hair...well I was sold too. Not because I have a thing for his girlfriend, but come on - how badass is THAT. The fact that it's limited to 40 copies didn't hurt either. Platinum blonde hair aside, the chunky case also holds a lyric sheet, tracklisting/recording info, as well as a bunch of Xeroxed images captioned with various lyrics from the album (don't show your mom the picture of the larvae with "the cruel final cum" pasted at the bottom).
The four 10-minute tracks represented on each cassette side are indicative of the new direction Prurient has been pursuing lately, the "long form" direction. Gone are the short, amazingly harsh amp blasts of "The History of AIDS" and "Shipwrecker's Diary". In their place are sounds that may seem less direct but are effective all the same.
The first side is "Military Road", a surpressed electronic diffusion highlighted by haunted, strangulated vocals piercing the mess every now and again. It's almost passive-aggressive in approach yet willing to explode all the same at any moment. It never does though, trailing off into a solo vocal performance that reminds me of Pig Destroyer's J.R. Hayes, a band whose lyrics often dwell in the same dark corners as Prurient's.
Side two is "Earthworms/Buried in Secret" sounds like thunder splitting the planet wide open and listening to the screams of whatever the fuck is down there. Imagine every classic horror movie monster's on-screen death and you're somewhere in the right vicinity. Later on the harshness subsides and an eerie synth/keyboard line is audible, reminiscent of an Emperor intro track or "The Baron's Chamber", Prurient's most severely underrated work. Add all that to the man himself screaming the line "what of this destruction" endlessly and you've got a recipe for disaster pie, à la mode.
On to cassette two, side one: "Outdoorsman/Indestructible". It rings familiar to me and I'm pretty sure that's because it's the same mutant piano fandango Prurient used in his No Fun performance. Killer. The side is a veritable slow burner of stomach churning drones and some lyrics that require an extremely attentive ear to decipher, lyrics in hand or not. Pony up to your stereo speaker if you've got the grapes.
Lastly, "Apple Tree Victim". I'm picking up an air of black metal influence on this one...are those guitars? They sound like guitars. Either way, more oil-coated obliteration spewn forth from the blowhole of the megalodon. The vocals are similar to those on the first side - pained and venemous. Almost melancholic in tandem with the skrawl of the sounds in the background. Rather epic, if I do say so myself.
This is a Prurient release that dabbles in similar terrority as the rest - making you feel uneasy, uncomfortable, maybe even guilty. It might be a little too over the top to succeed there, but musically it all works real well. On the other hand after I finished listening to the tapes I had Xerox ink on my hands and Prurient's girlfriend's hair stuck to my shirt...so what does that say about me?