Vatican Shadow, Kneel Before Religious Icons


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Pursuing a submerged construct of desolate electronics that implicate techno and industrial in equal measure, the music Dominick Fernow (aka Prurient) makes under the Vatican Shadow moniker is creepy, beautiful and completely unique in it’s thematic aesthetic. Referencing the sinister iconography associated with the Iraq war, all of his track titles — and much of his artwork — are gleaned from newsprint cuttings. Far removed from their original source material, and taken alongside Fernow’s bleak soundscapes, the imagery takes on a nightmarish and fevered intensity — a hellish Orwellian vision fittingly adorned with doublespeak and murky agenda. A number of highly sought cassette releases over the past couple of years culminated in this — the first Vatican Shadow LP — released at the tail end of last year, again, frustratingly, on tape. Here it sees a welcome vinyl and digital release, also benefiting from a full mastering session at Berlin’s renowned Dubplates & Mastering.

“Chopper Crash Marines’ Names Released” sets the tone. An anesthetized drum machine pattern is piped from afar, while a haunting synth drone and bruising sub pattern surround it. This effective template is, broadly speaking, followed for the other seven tracks. “Harbingers Of Things To Come” marries brittle funeral-march snares to a deadening sub, while “Worshippers At The Same Mosque” offers slightly cleaner and more melodic styling. Perhaps most compulsive is the buzzing, industrial drive of “Shooter In The Same Uniform As The Soldiers,” a track that recalls memories of vintage Downwards. The record reaches an electro-inflected climax with “Final Victory: Christ Became A Man And Had Truly Assumed Human Nature.”

Kneel Before Religious Icons is a deep and idiosyncratic LP, humming with dread, certainty, and grandiose musical epiphany. Like much of the current axis of evil — Demdike Stare, Raime, and The Haxan Cloak — Vatican Shadow trades on a teeming hypnotic undercurrent, at once forbidding and deliciously enveloping. That Fernow can construct such a compulsive LP out of this gray-scale palette is testament to a singular vision.

hectic  on April 7, 2012 at 6:55 AM

inspiring and beautiful

Last Foundation  on April 15, 2012 at 4:00 PM

Great release!


Little White Earbuds May Charts 2012 | Little White Earbuds  on June 2, 2012 at 4:29 PM

[…] [Perc Trax] 02. Bass Clef, “Walworth Road Acid Trapdoor” [Punch Drunk] 03. Vatican Shadow, “Church Of All Images” [Type] 04. Shackleton, “Powerplant” [Woe To The Septic Heart!] 05. Guy Andrews, […]

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