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Frost* - Milliontown CD (album) cover





3.83 | 447 ratings

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4 stars This is one of those releases that garners massive amounts of attention and excitement when it comes out, leaving a lot of people curious and plenty others confused.

What you have with Frost* is pure, unadultered nonstandard noodling. If you can't stand any of the following, this band might not be for you: Yes, ELP, Dream Theater, Spock's Beard, or Frank Zappa. Do not assume, however, that by lots of noodling I mean lots of shredding. There are moments of this, sure, but for the most part the noodling takes the form of interesting and unique musical moments that have mostly nothing to do with the songs themselves. And also do not assume that this is neo-prog like you've heard before. Yes, three of the four members on this release are from high-profile neo-prog bands (IQ and Arena), but while this is certainly neo-prog, it's not their usual brand. The level of energy and excitement among the band sounds like a bunch of younger fellows, really--showing that the true power behind Frost* is not their musical ability or their creative songwriting but their powerful sense of humor. What you should be expecting with this album is an hour of carefree, excited exaltations about music and how to really screw with it. Some take issue with the particularly average vocals, but the music is worth putting up with some average vocals for.

It begins with the instrumental Hyperventilate. Kicking off with some gentle piano, it gradually builds and then reaches a specific melody, at which point the band enters and the song goes wild. The track picks up and drops off quite frequently, building to numerous climaxes and granting Jem himself some time to whip out a very intense keyboard solo. While perhaps maybe not the most unique instrumental song in the world of prog, it certainly has its own flavor and flair. After Hyperventilate ends with a bang, No Me No You begins, being the first of the middle three pop/rocck tunes. Some chugging guitar and computerized vocals bring the song to a poppy chorus that still has enough rock in it to work. A few piano bits keep the song in the flavor begun on the first track. Snowman is the third song, being more or less the quintessential ballad of the album. Though it's slow, the harmonies are nice and the piano still full of spirit. Then the weakest track of the album, The Other Me, begins, and we get a nice barrage of lyrics hearkening back to Schwartzenegger's The Sixth Day and music about as straightforward as progressive music can be.

The fifth song, Black Light Machine, opens with a repeating delayed guitar lick, a sonic backdrop that will continue for a good portion of the song. Some nice vocals and a small guitar solo comprise the first half. However, it's the second half that really demands attention. First, a second guitar solo, this one very extended, builds and builds, pushing the track faster and faster until it calms down for the last vocal part. Then, with a few minutes remaining, the song kicks into completely high gear--ample ground for further solos from different instruments. Lastly, the title track Milliontown enters, a song which comprises nearly half the album. If a 27 minute song interests you, get this: it's a 27 minute song about zombies. The first twenty minutes play forward in fairly traditional prog epic standard, with some fast parts and some slow parts and some strange circus music used as transitions. However, it's the last eight or nine minutes that really turn this song into Frost*'s masterpiece. Entirely instrumental, these last minutes reprise in indefatiguable pace many of the song's highlights, making room for a couple of tasty solos and some wild drumming.

In the end, this album is not one to be taken seriously but to be simply enjoyed at a very basic prog level. Many of the lyrics are silly, the songs focus mostly on clever instrumentation, and the album as a whole dances on the fine and fun line between whimsical and ridiculous.

LiquidEternity | 4/5 |


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