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Dominick Fernow might be best known for his industrial incantations under the Prurient moniker, but in recent months his attention has shifted towards a different outlet. Fernow’s interest in electronic music (from the clamorous grind of Muslimgauze to the recently defunct Sandwell District imprint) has been well documented, and it comes to a frothy head with his Vatican Shadow project. Revolving around themes gleaned from Iraq war propaganda and yellowing stacks of newspaper clippings, the tracks on ‘Kneel Before Religious Icons’ are a perfect representation of Fernow’s modus operandi. Behind a wall of tape hiss, drum machine rhythms beat out memories of early Ministry and AFX while sickly FM synthesizer pads crawl and heave into the abyss. Like much of Fernow’s output prior to this, the emphasis is on society’s darker crevices, but Vatican Shadow is steeped in an alarming mystery and sulfuric smoke that is sure to surprise recent converts.
There is a scene slowly rising to the surface with acts such as Demdike Stare, The Haxan Cloak and Raime renewing our interest in the darker side of industrial electronic music, and Fernow has created a sound with Vatican Shadow that acknowledges this while retaining faded and singular. ‘Kneel Before Religious Icons’ is electronic music fished from the troubled depths of militarized suspicion, and all the better for it.