Frost's greatest strength is his ability to work at length. Despite the 11 track indices present here, there actually aren't all that many more "songs" than the four long compositions found on Frost's last album. The similarly-titled three tracks at the end flow together, as do both parts of "Peter Venkman" (a song title that proves that Frost has more of a sense of humour than some might suspect—listening to it on headphones is akin to feeling like you're about to be assaulted by angry ghosts at any moment). But the opening three tracks form a suite that mostly strongly shows off both Frost's skill at sound design and the more varied approach he's taking here.
Until a measured electric piano melody starts pacing the background a few minutes in, "Killshot" is just wave after monstrous wave of static subsumed into a deadening bass pulse. That piano proves crucial for the melancholy feel of the track, but it doesn't make things less noisy. The primary difference between this and something like "Theory of Machines" is how much more open the track sounds—amid those waves of static it feels like there's actually space to breathe. As it fades into "The Carpathians," with Frost either utilizing multiple instruments to mimic the howling, whimpering and growling of wolves or capturing them in real-time, it's clear that in some ways By the Throat is more minimalist than much of Frost's past work even as it's more overtly menacing. About the gentlest this album gets is when "The Carpathians" fades into the hospital room beeping and clicking of "O God Protect Me," and you can't say that's exactly a comfort.
Frost keeps things uneasy throughout, whether it's the way "Híbakúsja" starts out sounding like incidental music for the creepiest forgotten '70s BBC science fiction serial before rupturing into heavy-breathing noise, or the way the plinks and plonks of "Leo Needs a New Pair of Shoes" keep threatening to explode but never do (that comes with the heavy metal atmospherics of the great "Through the Glass of the Roof"). Although it's not as immediately, viscerally satisfying as the dense soundscapes of Theory of Machines, By the Throat is just as impeccably and daringly constructed, taking you to places that are shadowy, frequently violent and, if the last three tracks are any indication, probably bad for your health.
Thu / 26 Nov 2009
02. The Carpathians
03. O God Protect Me
05. Untitled Transient
06. Peter Venkman Pt I
07. Peter Venkman Pt II
08. Leo Needs A New Pair Of Shoes
09. Through The Glass Of The Roof
10. Through The Roof Of Your Mouth
11. Through The Mouth Of Your Eye