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Cocaine Death

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Album Review

One of the more prolific disciples of harsh noise, Dominick Fernow's work as Prurient was also some of the more harrowing, demonic, and ugly sound in a scene that thrived on darkness. Along with running top-tier noise label Hospital Productions, Fernow produced tape after tape of Prurient sounds, all weaving compositional webs of pained distortion, garbled electronics, feedback, and other forms of shrillness. Released in 2008, Cocaine Death collected tracks from three of these extremely limited cassette releases, funneling the concise pieces into one of Fernow's most brutal offerings. The tracks consist of swells of recognizable synth tones, vocals, and guitar sounds blanketed in so many layers of panic attack-inducing processing and noise that they blur into a shiny, hateful din. As much indebted to industrial music and Throbbing Gristle as it is the icy synthesizers and cassette hiss of underground minimal wave German synth punk of the mid-'80s, the true appeal of Cocaine Death is its deft ability to connect with all of its difficult emotional themes. Dark, abrasive, horrifying, and even somewhat nauseating at times, the sounds here channel all the self-hatred, narcissism, and delusion of substance abuse, toxic relationships, and ceaseless confusion, breathing expression and honesty into their bleak shells rather than just showcasing malfunctioning gear and shrill electronics.


Born: Wisconsin

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Prurient is the most well-known project of American artist Dominick Fernow, one of the most visible and influential figures of the early 21st century noise scene. Prurient's myriad recordings and numerous collaborations have been harsh, volatile, and uncompromising, featuring screamed lyrics about violence, sex, isolation, and drug abuse. Live performances have often featured Fernow screaming shirtless using a microphone, amplifier, and found objects as instruments. Prurient's recordings are primarily...
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Cocaine Death, Prurient
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