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Press Reviews for BY THE THROAT

Music community, brace yourselves. Ben Frost is set to occupy best of lists again and generate twice the press the critically-lauded Theory of Machines garnered a couple years ago. His third album, the fantastically complex By The Throat does what few albums are able to, somehow take their popular predecessor and almost completely erase it from your memory while listening to the fresh material. Comparisons are not even apt. Even though he employs guitars and noise again, this is a completely different animal. Opener “Killshot” is perhaps the best track, combining gentle electronics, a repeating guitar melody, and a fantastically looping slice of delayed feedback that cuts off abruptly every measure, it’s the perfect start to this exploration of experimental guitar music. “The Carpathians” presents an ominous and devastated landscape of snarling, howling beasts accompanied by heavy piano and soaring strings. I see the aftermath of a massive battle in this song whereas “O God Protect Me,” a winding and pensive melody, conjures the image of a warrior slowly dying and wondering how the end will come. “Híbakúsja” contrasts this opening salvo of songs with a gorgeous and altogether brighter atmosphere, even with it’s mournful horns and slow percussion backing the light guitar work. Sure enough, a mean shock of feedback and noise phases in to this, rumbling and shifting throughout the track. I’m not entirely sure where the connection to the movie is, but the two-part “Peter Venkman” introduces careening voices as instruments into Frost’s repertoire, as the glue holding this suite of delay-ridden guitar noise together, a tableau of horror if there ever was one, finally culminating in a horn lament towards the end. The seven minute “Leo Needs A New Pair Of Shoes” is certainly Frost at his most beautiful, pushing fragile guitar plucking to the forefront and letting it remain virtually untouched for the length of the composition, only letting pianos and some light noise grit come in mid-way. The intriguingly titled three-part “Through The Glass Of The Roof/Through The Roof Of Your Mouth/Through The Mouth Of Your Eye” closes out By The Throat with a trilogy of chaotic percussion and guitar experiments. It’s shocking how fresh and unique this album is, a truly singular artist at the height of his craft. And that’s saying something, given the impression that Theory of Machines left. Here’s to hoping for a long and exciting career.

Keith Pishnery

Word - Like a Scientist (September 19th 2009)

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