Ben Frost, born in Australia but now based in Iceland, went even further outside his comfort zone for A U R O R A. Working largely on a laptop, the bulk of the album was written in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The result is a body of work that will mine deep into the depths of a listener's psyche. Dark and powerful, it's a monster of an album, aggressive and dictatorial. Snarling drums meet iridescent synth patterns, as Frost eschews the organic creations of his earlier work, relying solely on synths and the percussion of ex-Liturgy drummer and current Guardian Alien leader Greg Fox, Swans’ Thor Harris, and multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily.
This harsher, starker sound palette is one Frost manages to play with convincingly, resulting in a spell-binding album of magnetic weight and great scope. The militaristic thrash of 'Secant' turns up awkward patterns against blissful background noise and mournful themes, while 'Diphenyl Oxalate' jars and shocks with its brute force. A haze of emotion shrouds 'No Sorrowing', its imperative directive as powerful as anything else on offer here. Metal, grindcore, minimalism, a range of different influences and ideas make themselves apparent, all drawn together with Frost's key vision, a singular approach and execution resulting in a stunning body of work.
As featured in the Mid-year Roundup 2014