Vatican Shadow’s thematic concept sort of stops and starts with this little sum-up from Hospital Productions:
Militant religious industrial. Music for assassins on the world-scale board game upon which it isn’t clear who is winning or what side you are on.
Besides being one of the most ingenious descriptions ever put to paper, apt or not, those sentences are beyond faithful to Vatican Shadow’s vibe. This newest moniker of Prurient mastermind/Cold Cave synthist Dominick Fernow spent much of 2011 dropping release after release of predatory, militaristic noise, all of it cloaked in black, slinking round a side street, rifle in hand.
Fernow’s courting a Muslimgauze-esque level of prolificacy here; from the loping hypnosis of Mural of Saddam to the blistering grenade launch of Kneel Before Religious Icons — not to mention the collected Washington Buries Al Qaeda Leader At Sea Decks 1-3 and Pakistan Military Academy and Yemeni Commandos and, and, and — Vatican Shadow goes hard on a black-market electronic kick, drawing on the aforementioned Muslimgauze and even modern industrial, drone and ambient to hone a sound that’s equal parts nihilistic and hopeful.
But be forewarned: This is a catalogue that requires your full attention. Though the releases definitely stand alone, there’s a certain puncture and flow to the lot of them together. A real otherworldliness, this dark and uncompromising underground luring you into so much conspiracy. So dim the lights and settle in; Vatican Shadow’ll have you as a pawn in that global, deadly chess match faster than you can say “pull out the pin”.- Rue Sauvage