Ben Frost: By the Throat
The scene: a blizzard whites out the darkest of nights and wolves gather in packs to howl at the moon. Surely, you would have thought, some sort of rock cliché with any sense of terror emasculated by Ozzy and a thousand low budget horror flicks? Well not when the sound of these herding beasts are given over to Ben Frost. In his hands, they become, as they rightfully should be, truly horrific, chilling and full of dread: ‘The Carpathians’, the track from By the Throat wherein these creatures make their fearful appearance, should have been my Halloween offering rather than the comic Goth I served up.
I hesitate saying such things, but By the Throat is like nothing else I have ever heard. It’s practically impossible to classify and to make comparisons to other artists would be both tough and unhelpful. The closest musically, in terms of sensitivity to expansive orchestrations and feeling, are Teeth of the Sea. The only adjective that comes back again and again is cinematic. Despite being a tired and over-used term, it’s the best I can do. By the Throat is the soundtrack to a film of unspeakable and life-altering horror, watched in a hut in a snow-storm with only a single candle for warmth and light, with a pack of carnivores baying in the near distance. It’s fucking scary, ok?
The sounds assembled herein vary from the ghostly choral, to soothing brass, to the deepest of sub-bass, frozen keys and a variety of searing ice-burnt and monstrous electronic distortions. And it’s the latter, on tracks such as ‘Hibakúsja’, which really disturb and leave the most lasting of impressions. Here some machinic beast, ready to rip your gizzards out just for the fun of it, stalks, growls and devours.
In every imaginable way this is a breathtaking and awe-inspiring album.
Acquire it here.