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Ben Frost - A U R O R A Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 8.5
Production 8.5
Creativity 8.5
Lasting Value 8.5
Reviewer Tilt 8.5
Final Verdict: 85%
Member Ratings
Vocals 7.31
Musicianship 7.44
Lyrics 7.31
Production 7.44
Creativity 7.44
Lasting Value 7.31
Reviewer Tilt 7.31
Average: 74%

Ben Frost - A U R O R A

Reviewed by: Ryan Dennehy (06/24/14)
Ben Frost - A U R O R A
Release Date: MaY 27th, 2014
Record Label: Bedroom Community


The variety of music that Icelandic composer Ben Frost produces is all too easy to fall into the same cliche adjectives: bleak, desolate, menacing. His previous LP, By The Throat, certainly engaged heavily in the last, but in the intervening time from that record to his latest, A U R O R A, he consulted on and contributed to Tim Hecker’s own magnificent Ravedeath, 1972 and Virgins. Hecker occupies a similar sonic space as Frost and has been traversing the spectrum of emotional response in his music with astounding success for well over a decade; Frost’s collaborations with him seems to have paid off in spades. For A U R O R A, Frost saw the virtue of collaboration, assembling in the Democratic Republic of the Congo a black metal drummer, a member of long running gothic titans Swans, and a multi-instrumentalist who also happens to hold a masters in biochemistry. This cabal aided Frost in producing his most successful record to date, one which dovetails from his previous oeuvre into a new frontier where a scorched atmosphere produces something resembling hope and a future.

The centerpiece of this approach is the mammoth “Secant,” whose glimmering synth melodies are mangled beneath the desolate gusts and erupt alongside the percussion into something enticingly fearsome. The sounds are disparate and clash with one another, battering against one another for dominance or at least to survive the cataclysmic damage they are inflicting upon one another. The relative placidity of “Diphenyl Oxalate” that makes a sudden interruption to this chaos is soothing, but quickly gives way to a freefall through razors and shards. “Venter,” the fraternal twin of “Secant” awaits at the base of this stomach churning trip. Its steady bursts of hand drums are laced with both earsplitting tones and the toll of bells, but once again the back half of the track snaps the tautness of that gradual build. In the hands of Frost and co., what may have once been a beatific tune is lost in the throes of an agonizing “drop” that strips it of all but its most basic essence. Whether its overwhelming brightness is a result of or despite this is unknowable, but “Venter” exists as a testament to Frost’s ability to subsume the elements of industrial and metal and regurgitate them in a frothy, cohesive work that could be described as “ambient” if it weren't so intent on disrupting your peace of mind.

Shaking the listener out of complacency seems to be the ultimate goal of A U R O R A; “Flex” opens the record with the sound of a fleeing shuttle being dragged back to the surface by a pummeling natural force. Retreat from what is contained within is not an option - it must be confronted directly and without hesitation. This means the ugliness of “Diphenyl Oxalate” and the warped beauty of “Nolan” aren't both merely accepted and viewed as separate but as pieces comprising a whole bearing the hallmarks of both. A U R O R A’s study of natures raw, frightening, and captivating power elevates it to something of a natural force in itself, joining a long tradition of understanding the necessity of destruction to create something and the Sisyphean struggle that entails.

Melody and harmony are constantly reintroduced throughout the record, only to be eradicated by tracks end in the primordial maelstrom that comprises it. It is not until reaching “A Single Point of Blinding Light” that the cacophony subsides permanently. A U R O R A’s opening liftoff did not succumb, but the edges of hope were serrated nearly until it became a weapon of destruction itself. Something lived, or was born, when those engines were swallowed by a swarm of sounds. With A U R O R A, Ben Frost has crafted an unimpeachable story of weathering the most abrasive elements of existence and emerging stronger for the trials endured.


8.5/10
 
Displaying posts 1 - 14 of 14
12:10 AM on 06/25/14
#2
midkay
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Thanks for reminding me of this release, only had spun it once before. Did so again on headphones tonight. Quite the experience!
04:49 AM on 06/25/14
#3
Jeff_Ryan
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This album is incredible
05:03 AM on 06/25/14
#4
Your Milkshake
...I drink it
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niceee
05:20 AM on 06/25/14
#5
Ryan Dennehy
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Thanks for reminding me of this release, only had spun it once before. Did so again on headphones tonight. Quite the experience!
Glad you checked it out again! It's up there for me in 2014, either my second or third favorite release of the year. You should check out By The Throat if you haven't yet.
07:50 AM on 06/25/14
#6
jordalsh
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great review, sounds awesome.
08:36 AM on 06/25/14
#7
Jake Jenkins
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knocked it out of the park mi amigo
08:40 AM on 06/25/14
#8
munkmunk
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this review made me want to check him out based on my musical leanings. Since you also recommended it, I decided I would first pick up By The Throat... Holy shit. Thanks for bringing this artist to light.
08:42 AM on 06/25/14
#9
Jake Jenkins
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this review made me want to check him out based on my musical leanings. Since you also recommended it, I decided I would first pick up By The Throat... Holy shit. Thanks for bringing this artist to light.
also should note that if you haven't checked out tim hecker, do that too
08:51 AM on 06/25/14
oldwirehands
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I'm not sure where I got this album from, but I found in on my hd awhile ago and was totally blown away. Its quite fitting for the dense fog I've been living in for the past week.
08:52 AM on 06/25/14
munkmunk
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yep already looked up some tim hecker and its on my list. just bought A U R O R A after listening to By The Throat straight through after I bought it on itunes. I had to pee so bad but I didn't want to interrupt the CRAZY awesome sounds happening in my earbuds. I promise I'm not a crazy person, I have just been looking for this blend of music (cinematic/organic/industrial/classical) for a while and not able to scratch the itch in the right place.
08:54 AM on 06/25/14
Ryan Dennehy
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great review, sounds awesome.

knocked it out of the park mi amigo
thanks fam
this review made me want to check him out based on my musical leanings. Since you also recommended it, I decided I would first pick up By The Throat... Holy shit. Thanks for bringing this artist to light.
Yay! I'm glad you like him. Let me know what you think of this one when you get to it.
also should note that if you haven't checked out tim hecker, do that too

Backed.
11:11 PM on 06/27/14
Chris Collum
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Good review dude. This ish leaked so long ago I'd almost forgotten about it..gotta change that
04:58 PM on 07/07/14
Archael
listens to good music
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been told this is really good, need to jam
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