After his stunning 2015 LP, A U R O R A, and last year's psychological-horror opera The Wasp Factory, electro-noise maestro Ben Frost is back, in violent-sounding collaboration with the legendary Steve Albini.
The record opens with one Darth-Vader-ish breath sound, and then immediately the pummelling begins. The main theme on "Threshold of Faith" is a heavy, percussive, bass drop every five seconds or so, accompanied by some fuzzy, mid-range electrical noise (perhaps heavily distorted synths). In the song's latter half, some crystalline, high-range tones add a feeling of mysticism. "Eurydice's Heel (Hades)" incorporates what sounds like guitar feedback noises into a floatier but no less caustic soundscape. "Threshold of Faith (Your Own Blood)," the third song, picks up the subterranean bass line from the end of the opener and adds more sparkly, guitar(-like?) sounds.
"All That You Love Will Be Eviscerated (Albini Swing Version)" uses chiming bell-like sounds in a fragile and airy setting, but with a sinister edge — it could aptly soundtrack glaciers melting in a climate change documentary. Two tracks later, Lotic's remix seems to offer more of the titular 'evisceration' via aggressive, spastic flurries of percussion. "The Beat Don't Die in Bingo Town" presents an alien melody through heavily shuddering tremolo, while "Mere Anarchy" juxtaposes sweeping, cinematic synths with intermittently squeaking horns.
Though Frost skilfully balanced the heaviness with some breathing room on A U R O R A, his work with Albini seems to have let in just a little more light and colour, enough to both surprise and enchant. With supposedly over two hours of recorded music from their time together, hopefully there's more on its way soon. (Mute)