Ben Frost By the Throat(Bedroom Community) Buy it from Insound
There are a vivid collection of misgivings and terrible gut feelings that seem to go along with Ben Frost’s By the Throat. Markedly, Frost’s approach to ambience calls to mind a harsh blend of dark wave aesthetics and black metal noise honed to sublimity. Exploring what could only be called the “negative space” around his conceptual leanings, Frost uses By the Throat to traverse down a deliciously dark path of post-rock, white noise revelations, and ominous justifications.
Perhaps just as menacing as the sum of its parts, there is something to be taken away from By the Throat’s icy landscapes and dark corners; however, the album’s nihilistic approach lends weight to its overall atmospheric disquiet--to its great success. An inextricable link between Frost’s methods and his aims reveal something more than theatrics for the sake of jarring and mugging. Composing rising and falling anthems of crashing noise and lilting fuzz, there is a muddled, trance-like fantasy to be found within By the Throat’s dark halls.
Replete with inexplicable references to Ghostbusters I and II, By the Throat would have you take your happy memories and bury them in the snow. How can one, after all, view Dr. Venkman in quite the same light after his showcasing in the two part opus that acts as the centerpiece to this drearily threatening LP? Always with wolves on your trail, Frost keeps a momentum of dread and quiet chaos brilliantly constant through out a head trip that is intrinsically linked to your own misfortunes and regrets. In other words, he aims to get in your head, and does.
Taking a familiar sonic approach and shaping it to a specific modification isn’t necessarily reinventing the wheel, but there is something to be said about the admittedly lucid machinations that Frost employs to bring about the sleek, almost metallic sharpness to By the Throat’s forefront as well a its underbelly. Take, for instance, the sparse heart monitor accompaniment that coats “O God Protect Me;” or the vicious percussion signatures juxtaposed with those cathartic moments of supreme silence that permeate the “Through…” trilogy that closes the LP. There’s more than gimmickry going on, which brings a genuine eeriness to the subdued discipline. It’s just all so crisp and caustic.
Fusing his amorphous inclinations with more structured creations finds Frost with an LP on the brink of both genius and manic miscues. It is a process that is at once fascinating as well as exhausting to experience in album form. The result is easily one of the more intriguing and overlooked releases of 2009, and an infinitely disturbing meld of visceral semblance and quiet complexity.12 January, 2010 - 06:52 — Daniel Rivera