Full-on Post-Metal Noizzzzzzze Asssssssault by Prurient and his buddies:
Picked this up at Minehead back in December (basically a mag w/ interviews, reviews and a free CD for sissy dickwad ambulance-chasers like myself) after Prurient's set totally fucking blew me away. It was a one-man post-power electronics noise attack (basically just human voice thru an array of fx, but magnified up to the point where the quantal-foam became visible/audible as a frequency-array of solidified sound-grain), yet it also seemed soooo seeped in Black Metal's sonic & cultural architecture.
I mentioned in my review of Minehead for FACT magazine a couple months back that Prurient hit the resonant frequency of one of my root-canal fillings eliciting an extremely painful, but exhilarating r/sponse from me: I kinda screwed my face up and went *ghaaaaa* 'cause it felt like someone had jammed a fork into my gob, but then I immediately punched the air and whooped like a...like a...I dunno...a fucking maniac. Elsewhere, in his set, he was spewing out a palpable wall o'noise that went up and down the frequency-rainbow creating ripples of response from my various bodily organs, tissues, muscles, etc: it was like a series of invisible fingers running riot in yr inner landscape. It was incredibly physical music.
An appropriately blurred and scabby-looking pic of Prurient (yep, another Tesco Value camera classic! We spare no expense on this blog) - note leather strides. When he performed, he rocked his body and bent into the noise, copying the basic body-posture of the singer/front-man of a Metal band; he was def. rocking out to implied beats n riffs...
A couple things struck me there and then, at the gig, even before the 3-day bout of tinnitus kicked in):
(a) Despite the avant-noise leanings of his music, Dominik Fernow's body language/posture/stance(physical or otherwise) that night was pure Metal. (I think he was even wearing a studded belt/wristband) One thing that hit me incredibly strongly that night (I was stoned!) was how much Metal had informed/inspired/influenced a large number of the acts that played over the weekend. The Metal influence was def. there in Wolf Eyes' set (and the wunnerful Dead Machines feat. Mr. and Mrs Olson) as much as Hardcore and old school UK Industrial...tho, in WE's case, it was more of a Doomcore vibe...but Prurient seemed (not that I'm an expert) pure Post-Black Metal...
His interview in Night Science is peppered with Death/Doom Metallisms. He frequently mentions "Pain", "Depression", "Malevolence", "Grim", "Hopelessness", "Dread", "Isolation", "Desolation", "Disease"...stressing these words, repeating them, until they take on some new, concrete (almost hyperreal) meaning...first I kinda laughed at it, then I sensed his conviction and realised it wasn't some Goth loner pose...there was a bit about getting a sense of sinister dread from banal household objects like light-fittings that hit a chord with me (reminded me of reading Sartre years ago and his passages about how certain mind-states cause ordinary objects to become hollowed-out and unrecognisable...this also skewed into a phrase from a documentary on Philip K Dick I saw a while back where Dick or the narrator (I forget which) says: "Objects are sinister...")...was Fernow actually trying to recreate states of depression or urban dread w/ his music or was he, like Dubstep, invoking a reminscence of certain mind-states so that his music could then act as an elevator or an antidote or a road-map out of that place. (The best Dubstep strikes me as hinting at a state of reconcilliation or balance between extreme urban dread and spiritual freedom, inner-city and countryman, technology and mysticism, meditation and euphoria, etc)
Metal has definitely replaced Punk as the numero uno underground/outsider music of choice; a whole generation has been turned on by it. Kinda makes sense: I mean, how can corporate Punk like Green Day, Blink, etc that sells by the zillion-load be considered alternative in any sense...Metal's always been there lurking on the margins like some unfashionable quasi-goth kid in a long overcoat who can't getta girlfriend...but now it's finally reaping its reward, albeit in a thousand different hybridised nu-forms, but mainly as pure joyous noise. This has been on the cards for a while; the signs have all been there: when I was talking to various Belgian artists last year, it became apparent that the Metal/Noise axis was very firmly at the heart of a whole bunch of stuff that was happening over there (tho mainly as a source of inspiration: the sheer biodiversity of the Belgian underground was both staggering & heartening...)...in fact, the Funeral Folk guys gave me their Black Metal Top Ten (wh/ I'll be printing soon) but it took Prurient's live show to put all this into focus for me.
(When I came back, I had half a mind to turn this into a kinda Metal-orientated blog, if only temporary, because it felt to me like that's where a lot of the energy and inspration had been coalescing...but, like a lot of my half-arsed plans, it never really got off the ground beyond this (plus I loooove too many diverse things to home in on this to the degree that it deserves)...I was also about to work for Zero Tolerance magazine reviewing Metal and Noise stuff, though my bout of Chicken Pox and a general lack of time seems to have temporarily scuppered that, but we'll see...)
(b) At the time, the whole physicality of the live Prurient frequency-attack also reminded me of the Dubstep thing, though it was less of an immersive experience...we're talking about (mostly) hi-end frequencies, severe treble and mids, rather than bass and sub-bass: they were hitting different organs/parts of the brain than the lo-end stuff does (and there were no beats as such)...but I found it more, I dunno, overtly exhilarating and it made me more physically expressive, whereas Dubstep and low-end bass make me feel kinda more meditational and inner-focused...(post-script: have been reading recently about the gut-brain bio-electrical linkage...(the thing that makes people say: "I had a gut-feeling", etc) and wondered if the low-end/bass resonance of diaphragm/bowels/etc has a mirror'd psychological (or brain-chemistry) response that invokes that slooow meditational Hip-hop/Dub vibe...?)
Anyway, it's v. interesting to me that Simon's been thinking along similar lines. Metal's a sort of node that I seem to have come to from different directions...for example the Folk/Metal/Doom overlap of people like Dead Raven Choir (check their "Cask Strength Black Metal" 3xLP box-set) and the Funeral Folk boys...)...my love of 70s Rawk and Barbarian Rock led me to 70s/80s Metal...and I got into Nile a few years back 'cos they were like a sped-up Egyptian Death Metal version of Sabbaff...but I wonder what's led Simon to this particular node-point (it doesn't feel like his usual turf) apart from critical curiosity and a canny sense of cultural observation.