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Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 2006 is a year of exciting releases and new discoveries for me. First there was Kayo Dot's Dowsing Anemone with Coppertongue, which was a phenomenal experience. Next there was The Flower King's Paradox Hotel, which was another very strong release. Then there was Adrian Belew's Side Three, which for me is the best album of the year thus far. And now I stumble on to Frost, a very fine neo progressive rock band that just released their debut album called Milliontown. Keyboardist/vocalist Jem Godfrey assembled this band because of his love of progressive rock, and he couldn't have chosen a finer cast of musicians. Andy Edwards and John Jowitt of IQ take up the rhythm unit, and from the get go you can hear their cohesiveness, and John Mitchell of Arena takes up the guitar aspect of the group, offering a lush and heavy performance overall. This is what modern music is supposed to be like, and I'm very impressed with their first outing.

Hyperventilate is the opening song, an instrumental that opens quietly with an interesting piano motif but soon turns into an all out rocker with a soaring synth line and an epic chord progression that reminds me a bit of Slainte Mhath off of Marillion's Clutching at Straws. Ascending runs here and there give a Dream Theater feel to the piece, and the evolution and musicianship of the song itself is rather stunning. A very impressive opener with great interplay between Mitchell and Godfrey. No Me No You, Snowman, and The Other Me are the more mainstream based pieces on this album that are bookended by the truly progressive ones. No Me No You begins with droning voices and droning guitar notes that outline the basic root structure. It's a rather simple song overall, but the group provide some interesting music and Godfrey's vocals, while not brilliant, more than suffice for the music and add another dimension to it. Some bombastic keyboards that remind me a bit of Spock's Beards intro to Go the Way You Go make up the middle section, and the flurry of instrumentation is rather well executed.

Snowman is a flurry of anxious synthesizers and melodic piano lines intertwining into an uneasy atmosphere. Slowly but surely the other instruments add layer by layer more to the background during the vocal sections, which are very nice. The Other Me begins with some sawing guitar (in the vein of Robert Fripp's during the intro of Larks Tongue in Aspic part I) and some interesting drumming by Edwards. The vocal effects and the main theme is also interesting, with soaring synthesizers and crushing guitars. Black Light Machine begins with a dancing guitar rhythm that invokes memories of those classic Steve Rothery riffs. Throughout the 10 minutes of music, there is a lot of evolution and the group really gets into a groove. Mitchell's solo towards the middle shows makes good use of the frets and shows the listener his skills on guitar. A refreshing and ethereal middle section helps elaborate more on the lush vocals before breaking out into a heavy middle section with flourishes of lush synthesizers and strong rhythmic approaches from Jowitt and Edwards. Here Godfrey gives a melodic synthesizer solo that makes good use of the keys while playing a Dream Theater-esque breakdown section. The first epic is a fantastic one, but does the true epic of the album beat it?

In my opinion, yes, the finale to the album, the 27 minute epic called Milliontown, is the showpiece of the album and the strongest work overall. It opens with a pretty piano motif and some underlying guitar riffing. The main theme of the album comes in around the third minute, and add some tricky riffing that continue and some great interplay between the synthesizers and the guitars, who take turns with the leads. An interesting 7/4 section comes up around the seventh minute with some refreshing vocals (very lush and harmonized) from Godfrey and Mitchell. The instrumental sections that take place between the fifteenth and twenty fifth minute are spectacular displays of guitar prowess and high energy riffing/interplay between the rhythm unit, with soaring guitar leads and melodic synthesizer and piano interludes. The song ends gently, with a quiet piano motif that ends similarly to the intro, giving to piece a continuous feel to. It's one of the best epics I've heard this decade, very creative.

In the end, Milliontown is a great debut from this upcoming neo prog force. That said, the middle pieces aren't very strong, but they are good for what they are. The rest of the album though (which makes up for half of it), is brilliant stuff that any fan of IQ, Arena, or maybe even Dream Theater would enjoy. I can't wait for the next release from this group, as they seem to have a long, fruitful, and very high energy career ahead of them. 4.5/5.

Report this review (#84021)
Posted Monday, July 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Milliontown is one of the most inspiring releases I've had the good fortune of listening to so far this year. Comprised of all stars of Neo-Prog all around, I would have had huge expectations of this release if it didn't sneak up on me as it did. That being the case, I was just plain shocked at how immediate and effective the music is. First off, the production on Milliontown is one of it's strong points. Crisp, crystal-clear, and especially modern, it gives Milliontown a relevant feel and is therefore not at all a throwback to the past as much Neo-Prog seems to be. It adds to what I see as an overall "wintry" musical feel to Milliontown, and I'm sure my perception of this is no doubt helped along by the album cover and indeed the band's name.

A unique thing about Frost is that their sound can't really be pinpointed or easily described. As I listen to Milliontown, I gather a long list of possible musical influences that range from Arena and IQ (which is obvious, considering several members of Frost hail from or have worked with these bands), but also latter-day Porcupine Tree, Falling into Infinity-era Dream Theater, and even Aphex Twin! All the influences come together to create a curious style of music which is bound by excellent production. The music is mainly Neo-Prog, but Frost also incorporate Prog-Metal into their music as well as symphonic tendencies and passages. Another draw for those that may not be the biggest fans of Neo-Prog is that the arrangements are lush without being cheesy, an aspect of Frost's music that is sure to please many Symphonic Prog fans. I don't think I have to vouch for the talent that these gifted individuals display, for their credentials are as good as any prog fan could hope for. But with their collaboration on Milliontown, they may end up turning a few heads among Prog-Metal aficionados who may think John Petrucci and Jordan Rudes are gods among men.

Jem Godfrey, in addition to playing keyboards, also provides the vocals throughout most of Milliontown. Unlike so many bands in the Neo-Prog genre, he rarely really lets go and wails, but rather sings in a subdued tone, making his vocal contribution another facet to the music instead of trying to share the spotlight with the music. His voice is also raspy, and listening to how it effects the feel of Milliontown is intriguing. Even though he's got a rough voice, Jem by no means can't sing. On the title epic, and several times throughout the rest of the album, he sings beautifully and the harmonies created with supporting vocals of other members in the band rival those of The Flower Kings.

It's apparent that Frost certainly had no shortage of creativity or ideas heading into this project. The band never lets up. Especially on the longer tracks, "Hyperventilate," "Black Light Machine," and the engaging epic "Milliontown," new musical themes are developed before the current ones wear out their welcome. These three songs are also the strongest on the album, but "Hyperventilate" honestly blew me away on first listen. It was partly because of my first contact with Frost's high- energy style of Neo-Prog which really took me by surprise, but also the sheer fact that it's composed in a way that no second is wasted while the band draws you in with shimmering melodies. The remaining shorter songs are a bit inferior to those previously mentioned, but they don't spoil the album. Instead, they move it along while trying new and different things. In these shorter songs, similarities to modern-day Porcupine Tree can really be heard in the aggressive vocals and guitar lines. The result is a bit more of an alternative rock format, but with a progressive rock attitude.

Whether Milliontown is a one-off collaboration between key members of the Neo-Prog elite or a beginning to a sonically adventurous career remains to be seen. Either way, Milliontown is another addition to what is so far a fine year for new Neo-Prog.

Report this review (#84028)
Posted Monday, July 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Here is a very good new release from a new band ( a neo-prog super group) consisting of John Mitchell (Arena-Kino) John Jowitt (IQ-JADIS) Andy Edwards (IQ) and Jem Godfrey (who is a total stranger to me) and believe me he can play keyboards and sing very well.As a matter of fact he is the brain behind FROST.The music is more rockier more heavier,more loud and more PROG,than what we usally here from those guys with there other bands.Andy Edwards on drums is impressive for one.You could say it's a mix between PORCUPINE TREE and OSI (not bad hein!).It is one of my favorite cd's of 2006.I give 4.5 stars to this new band with their MILLIONTOWN opus who will be in the top 10 of 2006 for sure.Try it you'll like it. POTS
Report this review (#84405)
Posted Friday, July 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars THE surprise of the year, so far. Caught me off guard and left me speechless. Opener 'Hyperventilate' may in itself have invented a new style, 'Symphonic Neo Prog'. A high energy instrumental magnum opus. It is clear with this song that the production on this album is top notch and unique.

'No Me No You' is a more standard song, but by no means less interesting. Dark, heavy verses, followed by nice choruses reminding me of Tears for Fears for some reason, only with a much harder edge. Great vocal harmonies, 80's sounding but definitely not cheesy.

'Snowman' is a mellow number, very moody. The synth and electronics work here are great. A good number.

'The Other Me' is another rocker, at times reminiscent of Stabbing Westward in their prime, and has a very infectious chorus, once again very 80's sounding in the melodies but with a very modern approach musically. Also reminds me a bit of Peter Gabriel hallucinogenics.

The second epic of this album, 'Black Light Machine' starts with an interesting delayed tapping guitar pattern, and from there on evolves, changes moods often, and explodes into a groovy and hectic instrumental segment, with some production tweakings à la O.S.I. (like drum fills played in reverse). I found myself laughing as I enjoyed the instrumental part so much.

Album closer, third epic and title track 'Milliontown' is absolutely amazing and breathtaking, 26 minutes of pure majestic symphonic neo prog. Genius I tell ya!

Being a fan of John Mitchell's other works but having never heard IQ before I did not know what to expect, and in fact, expected nothing. That is probably the reason why I am so flabbergasted with this album. I John Jowitt and Andy Edwards sound half as good in IQ as they sound in Milliontown, I'll buy every IQ album they have played on. Mitchell surpasses himself on Milliontown. He shows us another level of his capabilities, and will surely take his rightfully deserved place among the modern day prog guitar heroes. Jem Godfrey's keyboard playing is just amazing. He belongs within the greats of his era and also with the old time greats (some piano moments remind me of Genesis, Supertramp, while some keyboard parts could have been played by Jordan Rudess), and his voice adds color to the music and sounds unique. Coarse, raw and melodic.

All in all, this album is the best debut I have heard in a long, very long time. Milliontown will probably get my vote for 2006 album of the year, because I seriously doubt that something superior to this will hit the shelves this year. A masterpiece and a promise of a very interesting future.

Report this review (#86157)
Posted Tuesday, August 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm not a musician, nor do I have the prog knowledge that most of you have. But I have listened to tons of prog and prog related music. Some of my favorite bands are Sylvan, Threshold, Kino, Riverside, Oceansize, Opeth and of course Porcupine Tree. But, Up until now, I have not been inspired enough to attempt a review on any new (or new to me) music I've listened to.

Start to finish, Milliontown is crisp, clear, and fun. It is very well produced. With most epics I find myself checking my watch to see how long I've been listening. Not with Milliontown. It is like riding a time signature rollercoaster. For me, a good song leaves me wishing there was more. ALL of the songs on Milliontown do this. I even listen in my car with the windows rolled down... when it's not 115. Makes rush hour a breeze.

If I could give it a 4.5, I would. Have a good time with this one.

your friend in prog, Robby

Report this review (#86264)
Posted Wednesday, August 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars what a delightful piece of music. From beginning to end, a marvelous trip, delivered by a oh! so talented quartet... I won't bother detailing the record track by track - you just gotta listen to it, while closing your eyes after a hard working day. Ethereal, celestial music there, with quite an amazing display of composing. From rythm to leads, from vocal lines to harmony sections, everything here is a call to pleasure.

I might just add, maybe, that the eponymous track is a fantastic epic, reaching the 26 minutes length in the blink of an eye, no fillers, wonderful composition. Such a pleasant mucial holiday is rare enough to be mentioned.

Along with Beyond Twilight's FTLOAATM (and waiting -eagerly!- for the next Symphony X and Circus Maximus records), one of my 2006 faves this far.

Surely not a masterpiece, but very close to it. 4 stars.

Report this review (#87854)
Posted Tuesday, August 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I heard about Frost on Progulus radio. The guys there were very excited about its release so I decided to give it a try.

I can sum this album up by saying, Frost just sounds fantastic!

Once I got the album and listened to it, I was a bit let down because I normally enjoy the metal side of things and that's not Frost's genre. But after listening to the album a few times at work, I've really done a 180 for this band/album and it's slightly less heavy genre.

The musicianship is superb and very reminiscent of Dream Theater at moments. Constantly changing intricate themes with long never boring instrumental sections is Frosts's strong points. The production value is very high on Milliontown.

I have fallen in love with the vocals on this album. The soft almost whispering tones that's delivered are very mood setting and almost demand you pay attention to the lyrics. I've always been a huge fan of great vocal melodies, but Frost does a great job of creating a mood with their songs yet their songs sometimes lack a defined catchy melody, I think it's more about the mood than some difficult to sing melody. This is how they have captured me as a listener.

The track Milliontown is the obvious spotlight on the album. I love this song. I especially got goose bumps when listening to the opening sample about angels. It really set a tone for me which really forced me to pay attention for what was coming next.

I've enjoyed this album so much that it has dragged me out of my prog metal cave and actually inspired me to hear more bands in this lighter style. How can I give an album that has opened my eyes to a new genre anything else than 5 stars? ;)

I am now determined to hear everything Frost has/will put out. GREAT ALBUM GUYS!!!

Report this review (#88128)
Posted Thursday, August 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Very very disapointing for me.... I bought this album without hearing a single note just because of the impressing line-up..... very disapointed.... too much pop for me. o.k. this is neo-prog but this is too much pop. The drums sounds like a drum machine all throughout the album....there is absolutely no emotions on this overproduced album..... Cant wait to hear Andy on tne next IQ album...On this one i dont hear no Andy....sorry...
Report this review (#88265)
Posted Sunday, August 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Well, when I first heard of Frost when looking at the website of Solution Productions, who were going to plan a ProgPassion 2 festival in october at De Boerderij, Zoetermeer (Holland). The line-up included MOONGARDEN (Italian), FOR ABSENT FRIENDS (Dutch), LAZULI (French), with KAZ LUX (Dutch) in the small cafe....until Moongarden canceled and they hired two top-notch prog acts: PALLAS (UK) and FROST. When I saw the line-up, I was expecting something great. ARENA, IQ, JADIS, KINO, THE URBANE...they all belong to bands I like. Jem Godfrey was a new face for me....some producer guy behind pop groups. Oh well.

When I took a good listen to Frost from a library lend, I was disappointed. I'm not much into prog-pop, which is essentially what Frost is. The first track, "Hyperventilate", is instrumental and a great proggy song. The others, however, have loads of poppy elements in it. Predictable structure of songs, simple lyrics that makes it easy to memorize them, and tons of studio samples, sound effects and the like. "The Other Me" sounds a lot like GARY NUMAN'S TUBEWAY ARMY's "Are Friends Electric?" to me. Jem Godfrey's voice is rough...very rough. Has he been smoking or something? It fits the music okay, but he is definately not a great singer if you ask me.

I'm not even going to waste time on explaining the other songs, for they don't interest me all that much. If you're into prog-pop, you'll probably like this. I can't say I care overly much for the poppy things, though. Same reason why I don't like bands like MUSE.

I'm going to see them live in october, and I'll probably have fun, plus a meet & greet with the band. And yes, I'll probably purchase their future albums as well, just 'cause I like collecting stuff. Don't get me wrong. Frost isn't a bad band at all. It's just not my cup of tea.

Yours, Tailscent

Report this review (#89060)
Posted Wednesday, September 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars I listened to this record repeatedly for a week, put it away for a few weeks and gave it a couple of more spins. My conclusion is that this is an excellent release, just not quite a 4 star album. The first and last songs are exceptional in their own ways.

"Hyperventilate" is an instrumental and a real rocker, and no doubt would be a highlight live. It opens so gently but when it kicks in, it kicks in. John Mitchell absolutely lights it up 2 minutes in.Then a minute later his leads are so tasteful. Great driving song. I love the way the over 26 minute song "Milliontown"starts, with a guy talking about how in the Bible whenever God wanted to destroy a city or people, he would send an angel to do it. He concludes the monologue with "So would you ever really want to see an angel ?" There is a real Neal Morse feel in this song, along with some good guitar and piano.

I must give Jem his due, his singing and piano playing do not take a back seat to the allstar prog band he assembled here. I would also say the rhythm section really stands out on many occasions, and look forward to drummer Andy's first studio work with IQ, he sure has the pedigree and the talent. The IQ tandem really stand out on "No Me No You". Again the lighter parts of this song i'm reminded of Neal Morse, which is a good thing of course. "Snowman" is a song that is quite mellow and is like taking a break after the first two barn burners. Nice piano and acoustic guitar in this one. "The Other Me" has some funky bass lines happening.

This is really well produced and it will be very interesting to see what FROST has in store for us in the future. 3.5 Stars.

Report this review (#89456)
Posted Monday, September 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars So typical of a lot of modern prog this lacks something vital.Whether that be exceptional playing like a Howe or an Emerson or exceptional compositions or an idea that really grabs.Even the artwork is unremarkable.True this band can really play but then isn't that a prerequesite of any prog band? What elevates this from anything else? Not a lot.Its just very good thats all but I'd struggle to make a case to rush out and buy it.
Report this review (#89553)
Posted Wednesday, September 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars I was looking forward to this release, while playing it for the first time in the car my wife said "This doesn't sound like your kind of music, it sounds more like boy band stuff". I would class this as pop with prog pretensions; there's no heart. The credentials of the band members look good as individuals but they don't sound as though there was any enthusiasm for this get together. The music sounds good in its own right but progressive? no.
Report this review (#89569)
Posted Wednesday, September 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Jem Godfrey, Atomic Kitten, Shayne Ward, Prog??? Don't get it... add John Mitchell, Andy Edwards, John Jowitt and John Boyes - prog - oh yeah!

What a strange marriage eh? but for the one track though and this would have been a complete and absolute failure... MILLIONTOWN the track that is.

What a track!! this alone warrants 5 stars. It simply rocks. It starts very gently and then bursts into life after nearly three minutes, thereafter you are treated to a sublime theatre of musicianship and production (Jem Godrefy's forte). The middle section after 14 minutes brings in a very different mood that the production skills enhance, the stereo effects as the music continues to expand both spacially and dynamically resulting in a panoramic explosion of pure pleasure. Following this the listener is subjected to the torture of pure bliss as the tempo is cranked up as too is the volume and more to the point the skills of all players are allowed free reign! The long gap to a rather poor gentle ending section can easily be ignored (or as I have done for in car listening removed!!) Absolutely brilliant track.

What a shame the rest of the album can't live up to this one track... Unfortunately this lets the album down, though there are some nice touches, that's the problem nice touches aren't good enough after listening to the 26 minute epic that is MILLIONTOWN.

So how does one rate this album? The 26 minute epic deserves 5 stars on it's own, but this is an album review and the other tracks detract from the whole so a 3 star rating is given - however one must understand that the one track alone will ensure that this album will forge a niche all of its own - Buy it you will not be disappointed.

Here's to the next collaboration...

Report this review (#91882)
Posted Sunday, September 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is one of those albums that I bought purely on the amount of interest shown on the various progressive rock websites. Subsequently, it is one of the rare times I wish I hadn't bothered. Apart from a fairly interesting first track the rest of it sounds like a soundtrack to "Miami Vice" - cheesy with horrible 80's sounding synths. The musicianship is fine but the vocals poor and songwriting uninspired, dull and without any real interst or feel for dynamicsl. This band is not progressive in my eyes - just well played pop music. Utterly forgettable!
Report this review (#100958)
Posted Wednesday, November 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Not bad, not bad at all.

Me, not being a Neo-prog fan and also having little faith in nowadays music, still thought that this album was worth trying, at least to see if 2006 had ANYTHING at all to offer. I'm glad I tried it. Especially the first track (intstrumental) and the 2 epics are very good. If it weren't for the poppy songs Snowman and the "Other me" this would get 5 stars, but they sadly bring the album down too much.

From the albums that I've heard of 2006, this is easily the best. If you can, at least give this a try, but don't expect an essential masterpiece.

Report this review (#105280)
Posted Tuesday, January 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I first heard a snippet of this album on a compilation cd from a music magazine. I wanted to hear more and so I bought this wonderful album. It is one of the two albums that I bought that were released in 2006.

The opening track "Hyperventilate" starts off with a great piano melody. It soon moves into a great rocking song. It is a great song and I was surprised to see an instrumental as the opening track. I love the progression this song goes through. It has a nice feel to it and then, suddenly, around 3 1/2 to 4 minutes it gets heavier, but only for a few bars. "No Me No You" is an interesting song. It is more of a mainstream song with the heavy riffs (unexpected, for me, I might add). The vocals fit the tone and feel of the song perfectly. The guitar is simple but does not get boring at all. The piano interlude halfway through is a good break to the heavy guitar. The song has a good chorus. I like the transition from "No Me No You" to "Snowman". No Me No You ends on a piano and Snowman begins on the piano. Snowman has a great piano intro and good vocals. It keeps a good feel to it and is a short song. "The Other Me" has a nice guitar intro. It sounds almost bluesy but not really. The vocals are good and I like the chorus part "with a little chemistry" but that is because I am a chemistry nut.

The next song is amazing. The ten minute Black Light Machine. The lyrics are good and the overall sound of the song is really pleasant. The guitar solo in the middle is really cool. I must admit I didn't like this song at first but it I listened to it a few more times and it is now one of my favorite songs. The guitar is really emotional and reminds me of GPS a little. The guitar playing throughout this whole album, and especially this song, is spectacular. It gets more interesting near the end and has a great rocking beat.

If Black Light Machine is amazing, then the next song, the 27 minute epic "Milliontown" is unbelievable. The spoken words are a bit depressing, since I am a Christian and it is hypocritical of God. But that does not deter me at all. The piano motif that follows is really amazing. It keeps a mellow, emotional tone. The guitar comes in with a bang 3 minutes into the song. Great riffs from the guitar and keyboards follow with the rhythm instruments (bass and drums) do an amazing backing to the main instruments. You can do nothing but pay attention to every note, every beat of this song. An amazing ending track that ends this album on a very very very very good note.

Overall this album is really good. I like all the songs, but one or two of the songs are bit too heavy when compared to the rest of the album. I give it 4/5 stars.

Report this review (#106800)
Posted Tuesday, January 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Another brick in the wall.

It's true, Néo progressive bands sounds the same with their plastic keyboards and their fierce tendency to give hommage to their heroes, which means nothing really creative since 20 years. Is Frost* part of that whole circus?

Drum rolls...

No. Not a big 'no', but still no. To me, Frost* is part of a renouveau in the genre, but not in progressive music. Their approach is fresh enough to keep me interested, but in no way I'm flabbergasted by this record. Althought it's been heard before with Spock's Beard and Arena, the way it's processed is somewhat interesting to hear and refreshing. The pop issue is constant, each song has a 'prog' feel but done in a cute modern way, with lots of sampling, backward effects, enhanced voices and floaty keyboard textures.

The piece de resistance is the last song, to me it's a great kick in the backyard. The song shows how these guys were serious when they did this, it goes smoothly but does rock in many areas with bombastic lines and Dream Theater / Magic Pie approach. Great piano (reminding me Tori Amos) and crazy guitar parts, with layers and layers of texture. A very dense song with a lot to give. The other good bet is the instrumental song called Hyperventilate. And frankly, it could give you a nervous chill because it's pedal to the medal from start to finish. It's so good, you could almost see Dream Theater do kidding!

With lots of diversity for a Néo band (metal, pop and progressive), this band is already dead litteraly, but will be shot in the dark of 2006 for me.

Report this review (#108308)
Posted Sunday, January 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars *3/14/17* After its 10-year anniversary (10 YEARS!), I'm still blown away by this album's uncompromising joy. Milliontown continues to be, for me, a fearless expression of the prog-lover's enthusiasm for genre experimentation, catchy melodies, and ecstatic instrumental passages. It does all this, though, with a keen ear toward modern pop sensibilities and grounded song structure. A deconstruction of symphonic progressive rock, if you will. In this sense, the album represents for me both the essence of the 1990's symphonic prog renaissance and a signal of its inevitable decline in favor of the neo-prog and, ultimately, post-progressive movements. In a way, then, the album signifies the end of an era in my musical experience - a eulogistic celebration of the essence of symphonic progressive rock music.
Report this review (#112567)
Posted Sunday, February 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Absolute gem. Having indulged myself this year in catching up with recent releases by the likes of Spocks Beard, Jardis, IQ, Pallas, Arena etc I was pretty much 'all progged out'. The release of 'Milliontown' has to be my album of 2006. I was just not expecting the musicianship, originality and sheer quality of this recording. The production values are very high and I cannot recommend this album highly enough. A couple of relatively lesser quality mid album tracks are completely overshadowed by the opening track 'Hyperventilate' and the last two tracks 'Black Light Machine' and 'Milliontown'. With a new album currently in production, albeit with a possible slightly changed line-up, I can't wait for the new material due later this year. This album is a fantstic ambassador for the progrock gendre and I would emphatically recommend it to anyone who appreciates the best in contemporary music.
Report this review (#114300)
Posted Monday, March 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars It appears as if I had lately developed an affinity for everything that has the John Mitchell label on it. First KINO and now FROST (no need to mention that I have both Wetton/Downes ICON albums where JM is also present). It is true that I got interested in "Milliontown" because Mitchell was included, but that's about as far as the parallels with KINO's "Picture" goes. "Milliontown" is the far more progressive and diverse of the two albums.

The album starts off with "Hyperventilate", an instrumental that demonstrates where this whole thing is going to lead to: a theme played by the piano that is quickly taken over by a heavy guitar. And when you start to wonder wether this is actually a metal album and listed in the wrong category it turns into a beautiful melody that you just can't get out of your head.

The three shorter songs in the middle are probably the weakest. That dowsn't mean that they are bad, mind you. "No me no you" is in the same vein as the opener, just with words this time. A guitar heavy verse followed by a chorus that is again made to stick in your ears. "Snowman" is a ballad about the shortness of life and the thins we regret we haven't done in time, "The other me" is a really guitar heavy song, but not bad, not bad at all. Listen for the flies buzzing at the end of it, Weird.

But now is the time when the album really kicks off. "Black light machine" and the title track "Milliontown" finally feature the heavy keyboard solos that, at least to me, are the trademark of a great progressive rock song. "Milliontown" is the more diverse of the two long tracks with some mood and tempo changes.

Oh, there is yet another thing FROST has in common with KINO. In both cases it is uncertain that the - good - debut album will see a follow up. But in the case of FROST it is more likely as I've learned that Jem is already looking for musicians. So let's hope that there will be a second FROST album. I'll be one of the first to pre-order.

In conclusion I'd say that this is a very good album, definitely worth a listen, especially when you are into neo-progrssive. Just short of a five star rating. This album was a very pleasant surprise to me, probably one of the best releases of 2006.

And now let's move on to the next John Mitchell review - see ya there.

Report this review (#116037)
Posted Thursday, March 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I guess it's about time I review what I considered to be one of the best releases of 2006 (Right behind The Flower Kings' Paradox Hotel). Formed by the bands nucleus, Jem Godfrey, he surrounded himself with some of the best musicians in neo prog: John Mitchell of Arena and Kino, Andy Edwards of IQ, and John Jowitt of IQ, Arena, and Blind Ego. This makes for some of the most dynamic music in progressive muisc, in my opinion.

The disc begins with the almighty instrumental "Hyperventilate", kicked off by a beautiful piano section. Andy Edwards especially showcases what a versatile and accomplished drummer he is on this song. The band as a whole shines with musicianship that rivals old Yes (that's right...old Yes). Godfrey's synths remind me of Kevin Moore of Dream Theater towards the end, but the variety of influences are quite evident. Probably one of the best instrumentals I've heard in quite a while.

Where the intial track is undeniably prog, "No Me, No You" takes on a punkish bravado in the beginning with it's driving beat. Still embodies progressive characteristics, but see saws back and forth. This song is also the first we get to hear the vocalists for Frost*. Godfrey's got a decent voice and has a bit of a grittiness to it.

"Snowman" is when we get to hear Mitchell on vocals for the first time. As apparent on Kino's Picture, Mitchell is a very good vocalist. Maybe not possessing the best range, but still very listenable. The song begins with a down troddened pattern with a synth adding a bit of window dressing alongside the vocals and piano. A nice tune that sounds a bit like 10CC, but far from the strongest. Could use a bit more variation.

"The Other Me" begins with a grunge-like guitar riff that would sound comfortable on a Pearl Jam disc alongside a drum loop until the band bears down for a tone straight from society's underbelly. Again, with Godfrey on vocals, this is a very rocking song with a NIN persona. A song that really has a bit of a nasty bite to it...and I like it a lot.

Wedged in between the title track and "Hyperventilate" as my favorite track, we are presented with "Black Light Machine". With characteristics of IQ, Arena, and Pink Floyd, this is a very strong tune with excellent guitar work by Mitchell about 3 minutes in.

We close with the amazing 25 minute epic entitled "Milliontown". Could be one of the coolest epics I've heard and really ensures us that prog is well and alive as the young guns carry the torch high and proud. A pretty meek beginning gives away to an explosion about 2 1/2 minutes in followed by a wicked synth solo. This song is balls to the wall prog in all of it's glory. DPRP's poll from last year had this as being the best song of 2006 and neo prog doubters should give it a listen. Not the least bit tiresome with energy throughout.

I'm hoping Frost endures. We were hit with the news that they had disbanded, but Godfrey announced that Darwin's Radio singer/guitarist was going to carry on in the place of Mitchell. Might be interesting, but regardless, it would be hard to top this debut.

Report this review (#124657)
Posted Monday, June 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is very nicely done with interesting compositions, some decent vocal work, very nice keyboard work and some excelent guitar work.

It starts the album of with a very cold sounding instrumental. Then it get heavier with its next song which introduces the vocals. They aren't fantastic but it certinely doesn't take away from the music.

Each song on the album is very well done and enjoyable. I have never heard anything by John Mitchell before, but I would deffinately look into more of his albums after hearing this. And if your a fan of his other works, I would imagine you would enjoy this as well.

I would say this is one of the best albums of 2006. Its deffinately in my top ten for the year.

Report this review (#124676)
Posted Monday, June 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars With so much potential in this band, I have to say I was let down. I got this album, like other, from the great reviews it got, and the potential I saw with the band members. I suppose the big hype about this album put on too much expectation. The musicianship on the album is superb. These guys know how to play; but there just seems to be lacking something. It's as though they where afraid to take these songs further and just wanted to play it safe.

The one thing I really like about this album is the tweaked out computerized sounds. It reminds me of early 'sonic the hedgehog' music. If you want specific examples of this, it can be heard on the tracks 'The Other Me' at 3:20 minuets in, and 'Black Light Machine' at 7:15 minuets in. If the album had followed these examples and used this kind of technique more and explored its use, it would have earned a very nice place in my play list. But since these sounds are far and few between, it just seems bland.

Besides the tweaked out computerized sounds, there are also some other upsides to this album. The first song 'Hyperventilation' is a truly gem and beautiful. It has an amazing atmosphere to the song and a very grand sound.

The other song that was really enjoyable was the last song, the big, grand 26 minuet song, which earned the albums title: 'Milliontown'. But.and this is a big terms of big, grand 20+ minuet songs, it, like the album as a whole, falls short. There are many truly beautiful sounds and parts in this song, but it's scattered. The best part is at 16 minuets, which shares the same sound that I loved in 'Hyperventilation'. But again, they only use it for a couple of minuets and then moves back into the safe sound that makes the album fall short to true beauty.

The other songs, for me personally, just drag the album down. The second song 'No You No Me' tries to be a 'hard rock metal' song, and falls flat on its face. It's a typical 'it worked for other countless bands, so why not us' song. 'Snowman' has a really neat synthesized flute sound, but goes no where with it. It was very disappointing to hear such a neat sound go no where, almost hurtful to know there is potential that isn't being used.

'The Other Me', besides the previously noted complement, is pretty bland. It's the same thing for just fewer than five minuets. It sounds like they where trying to keep this song radio friendly, or something, and it carries on in 'Black Light Machine'. Bland; bland; bland; for the exception for a few minuets of very nice computerized sounds.

For the final verdict of this album: there are a few very beautiful moments, but the rest of the album drags it down too much. It felt like watching a movie with amazing and convincing acting, but with a script that went nowhere, and had a lot of plot-holes.

The three stars are for those incredibly beautiful moments. When it rains, it pours; when it's good, it's beautiful; when it's bad, it's painful.

Report this review (#126688)
Posted Sunday, June 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars At the begining this albums osunds really good, Hyperventilate sounds amazing, like the goods instrumentals parts of Contagion (ARENA), but that's all, the rest of the album is just POP, not even progressive pop, like A.C.T., just pure pop, and it's really boring, lrepetitive long songs, ergo, boring songs; it sounds like many others boring NEO-Prog bands, like The Tangent, and Arena (except for Contagion)

The 2 stars are only because Hyperventilate is a good song, the rest, is just a waste of time


Report this review (#126692)
Posted Sunday, June 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first question that came to my mind while listening to "Milliontown" for the very first time was "who the hell is this Jem Godfrey dude?!". He doesn't sound like the usual prog keyboardist so I was very interested in keeping on listening to him. And so I did...

Hyperventilate is an awesome beginning to an album. This instrumental track full of soft passages mixed with faster and heavy ones is exquisite. Very proggy, closer to prog metal than to neo progressive, Hyperventilate blew me away because of the guitar and keyboard work.

John Mitchell and Jem Godfrey keep doing a superb duet for the rest of "Milliontown", being Black Light Machine and the tittle track the highest (I mean, *really high*) spots in this work. The drumming and bass playing aren't that great in my opinion, but they do their job pretty well.

What really got me into "Milliontown" was the atmosphere that's around the music. FROST* really makes you cold when you listen to their music! It's not like it was Christmas time, but somehow they can pass that coldness to the listener. I also enjoyed Jem's vocals a lot, he sounds like whispering during the half of the album, what also helps the cold sensation :P

Well, this is an album that can make you shiver, if you know what I mean. Not a masterpiece of progressive music, but very close to it.


Report this review (#138646)
Posted Sunday, September 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars When I saw this album was one of the top albums of 2006 on here, I listened to the one song on the site immediately. It sounded quite good so I bought the cd only to be disappointed. Most of the cd just sounds like boring pop music. I thought maybe I just needed to get used to it so I left it in my car for a while. I've listened to it numerous times and I just feel bored. I don't see what everybody's raving about at all. That's just my opinion though, feel free to have your own.
Report this review (#139112)
Posted Wednesday, September 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars I was quite disappointed by this album, I got this album after I had heard a lot of good things about it from this site and other places and I read some good reviews and the such like and then I got home and put this on and my hopes faded.

My problem with this album is it is too poppy, it's a personal bias sure but I'm unable to grasp it's progressive and musical merits through all this cuteness and upbeat poppy nonsense, it probably doesn't help that neo-progressive isn't exactly my favourite prog genre. I still tried to have an open mind and I listened to it a fair few times and yes there are some genuinely good moments but in my eyes they are few and far between and aren't strong enough to hold together this album or restore it's musical shortcomings and I found myself getting bored quite quick.

I would only recommend this album to fans of more accessible modern music or neo-progressive music.

Report this review (#139246)
Posted Thursday, September 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's about the music.

This cd came to me out of the blue, I don't know the bands these guys came from other then some by name only (always more to discover). As an old guy I grew up on prog and all things rotating about it. Over the years I matured as a listener, growing from all technique to the love of good composition. Any of those things are often good enough to keep me listening but the combination is what I need to elevate a project to my short list. I think this cd has made it.

I love to sing along to great hooks and melodies and need to be entertained in between with hot rhythms and layers. Even with only a few listens I find myself wanting those refrains just around the bend, and bend they do so well.

Thought not yet sold on Dream Theatre, Spocks Beard or Flower Kings (and I've tried) I find myself drawn to Porcupine Tree, Tool, Kaipa and all the regulars). Frost is a great blend of all the aspects of DT, SB & FK's that I really do like. I also hear a little Trevor Rabin production trickery (always fun, almost assaltive). This is what happens when your main writer is the keyboardist/vocalist and probably spending waaay too much time in front of his Pro-Tools station. It sounds like the band is in charge and control and I'd bet they have quite a few more releases under that hood.

As a side note, I ventured on the web and found some video of these guys in rehearsal/studio goofing around and I love their energy as people, that's not an easy thing to say about many proggers out there who imagine themselves a cut above.

Honesty, musicianship, composition, how much more do I have to take!

Report this review (#140554)
Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars When I first heard about Frost I got quite interested, it was said to be a very interesting new band so I had to check it out. I bought the album and I must say, I was pretty impressed from the start, that is for where the larger part of the album was concerned. And then we're talking about the last two songs. Because of the very long (and fabulous) epic these two songs cover almost 2/3 of the total time. If we look at these two songs it's a sensational album. Black light machine is on itself not so impressive until after a few minutes and also at the end of the song the guitar solos break loose. This is absolutely fantastic, it lifts the entire song to a very high level. It's no news that John Mitchell is one of the best in the business and that's what he is proving in this song. The epic Milliontown is what you may expect from a song of this length, a marvellous composition with lots of variety and turnovers and of course instrumental passages. But what disappoints me is that if a band (or a person in the band) can write great songs like this, why don't they do it more often ?

I mean: the prove they can, but the other 4 songs are more or less disappointing and devaluate the album. And what's worse: they prevent me from giving this album 5 stars, so it has to be 4.

Report this review (#144745)
Posted Monday, October 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Only one word needs to be added to the reviews already- BRILLIANT! Classic British neo-prog; there's nothing particularly original here, but it is superbly put together. Great playing, exciting loud and fast bits, and beautiful melodic quieter sections. The epics have a variety of moods and also have coherence, while the shorter tracks also have plenty of punch. I hope there's more to come from this band in future.
Report this review (#146125)
Posted Saturday, October 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Oh My God . what a fabulous music!"

That's my very very first reaction towards the opening track "Hyperventilate" (7:31) of debut album by FROST. That's really true and it did not require me to think further or re-spin the CD as at first listen it BLEW me away .Why? First, I have been listening to various kinds of progressive music from the traditional and basic symphonic prog even until the modern prog named as neo-psyche or so. But, the kind of music Hyperventilate track is kind like "new" to my ears. Yes, there is heavy component of Arena, but Arena has never played this kind of music before. There is a bit of symphonic prog in here, but Genesis or Yes has never played this kind of music. So .. it's totally new to my ears, honestly! Second, this track has something that really inquiring the mind with its varied moods, motifs and styles delivered by combining (dynamically!) the keyboard work, drums by new IQ drummer, bass guitar and guitar. It's really a masterpiece track, performed instrumental. Basically, having listened to this track, I really don't care what kind of music that would follow after this opening track because the opening track has already killed me alive! But it's not fair if I just write my review about the opening track only, it must continue with next tracks.

"No Me No You" (6:06) ast first did not impress me because it's basically an upbeat modern pop rock music with some new wave flavors, I believe, or some people may refer it as alternative rock. (Note: I'm not quite familiar with new wave kind of things). It starts with an ambient narration followed by guitar riffs which reminds me to the album by Mike Rutherford "Acting Very Strange". The more I spin this song, it grows on me especially on its groove and music flow. I have to admit that this band is lacking on vocal department, or at least it does not meet my expectation. The keyboard solo is attractive and stunning. Again, the influence of Arena is quite intense because John Mitchell is from Arena and John Jowitt played with Arena as well. Andy Edwards (IQ drummer) is a good drummer. The interlude part is quite complex with symphonic background.

"Snowman" (3:55) starts with very nice yet simple piano touch followed by mellow vocal line. The song contains some programming effort. It's good as a break to the next track. "The Other Me" (4:51) reminds me to a song by British pop rock band Def Leppard especially with a song titled "Truth?" from "Slank" album. It similarities lie on melody and ambient, even though they are not exactly the same. "Black Light Machine" (10:06) is another favorite of mine. It has an energetic and catchy music interlude especially keyboard solo which truly stunning. I do not favor the drum sounds actually, but it does not matter because the keyboard work is really excellent! So, it's not only the opening track that is excellent, this 5th track "Black Light Machine" and the concluding track "Milliontown" are also excellent.

"Milliontown" (26:35) is an epic, as you might have seen from the duration which it takes more than 25 minutes with six (6) chapters / movements. The opening chapter ONE UNDERGROUND serves as an ambient opening that sets the overall tone of the epic. It moves to Chapter two ABRACADAVER with a great music in relatively fast tempo in the vein of ARENA, demonstrating really GREEEEAAT keyboard solo and guitar solo with wonderful music. Andy Edwards plays his drums. The song moves dynamically in balanced styles of heavy and light parts until it finishes at the last chapter TWO UNDERGROUND. You would definitely find catchy segments and wonderful interludes throughout the twenty-six minutes full performance of the band.

Overall, I would highly recommend this album to those of you who really want to explore the boundaries of traditional or classic prog with unique prog sound produced by FROST. It's really entertaining for me personally to enjoy this album. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#149201)
Posted Tuesday, November 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of the best new albums and bands of the 21st century, Frost is quite a talented group of musicians. The first time I heard this album, I was absolutely blown away by the way they combined mystic sounding vocals with heavy metal prog, symphonic piano parts, epic chord progressions, intensely emotional soloing on guitar and synthesizer, and some very creative song structures.

Hyperventilate: best song on the album, a very intense instrumental that doesn't let on how amazing it will be until the drums kick in. Gorgeous piano intro, so rarely heard these days of synths and organs, not to say that I dont like those. When them music picks up, the synth takes over the piano line and it is so dramatic and intense you are nearly blown off of your seat. The song continues through many moods, and includes another great piano break.

No Me No You: Starts off with some spoken words over a radio maybe? followed by heavy riffing from the guitar and some metal sounding lyrics. Very heavy, very good. The chorus, however, breaks into a completely different mood, a little more sadness tinged, and when the piano break comes, it seems not to fit in at all, but it works very well. This is repeated again, making for a good song.

Snowman: Mainly dominated by piano and synthesizer, this song is mellow, but not quite peaceful or sleep inducing as there are some chords that sound almost diabolical when thrown in with the rest. Electronic drumming is quite nice, fitting the track well.

The Other Me: An ok song, good singing again, sounds very mystical/far away and dreamy.

Black Light Machine: My favorite after Hyperventilate. it stars off with some nice guitar riffs and a poppy vocal line, upbeat and all. Then it quiets down and when the guitar solo kicks in around 1:45, it blows my ears off. It quiets down again, but only for a second, and at 3 minutes, all hell starts to break loose in the form of more guitar soloing and some intense drumming to go with it. This followed by another vocal section, this time more eerie and ominous, with some cool chord changes. The the band breaks loose once more to rampage up and down the frets and this time the synthesizer joins in, dueling away for the final climactic 3 or 4 minutes of the song.

Milliontown: A very good epic, not my favorite, but damn good. The intro is amazing, questioning God and Angels, and a gorgeous piano/guitar melody. when the vocals come in, I love it. This moves seamlessly into a louder part with fast drums. Eventually, it goes into a 7/4 section that i really like. this quiets down into a softer section, but not for long as it kicks back into high gear. The last 10 minutes of this song are instrumental, and it feels a little overdone, but its really good music so i dont mind.

Overall, an amazing debut, I hope to see more of frost in the future.

Report this review (#150391)
Posted Monday, November 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Frost had its beginnings in 2004 when musician, songwriter, and producer Jem Godfrey (mostly known for his hits with Atomic Kitten), made a decision to return to his progressive roots that he experienced in an earlier band he was in called Freefall. After listening to a broad selection of current progressive rock acts, he approached guitarist John Mitchell of Arena about doing a project with him. In turn, Mitchell introduced Godfrey to bassist John Jowitt (Arena, IQ, Jadis) which led to contact with drummer Andy Edwards (also of IQ). Godfrey also brought in his former band-mate and guitarist in Freefall, John Boyes. And so began the Frost project.

Milliontown was the debut and result of this supergroup of sorts. Being that the core of the band is made of neo-proggers from Arena and IQ, one might expect this to sound like those bands. Instead, Frost is more of a heavy version of neo prog, showing some prog metal and pop rock tendencies thrown in. It's sort of like a fusion of contemporary neo prog with the current popular musical scene of 2006. As you can imagine, this is good and bad. Good in that it gives neo prog a good kick in the rear. Bad in that it seems too much like popular music. I can see a number of these being fitting pieces for music videos in the early morning hours on VH1. Milliontown gives me that mixed-bag feeling, so I clearly feel this album is out of reach for being in the four to five star territory, but it's not bad enough to rate as two or less stars.

After four tracks of average to mediocre pieces, Milliontown doesn't really kick in until the fifth track, Black Light Machine. It's length gives it much room for development and the band really soars on this one. Mitchell provides some really beautiful guitar solos here. Some of the moments are quite dreamy. Still, it has some qualities that are not as appealing, like the computer effects applied in the last heavier section that are reminiscent to some of the crap one can hear on modern pop music (think Backstreet Boys and such). It recovers by the ending with another nice Mitchell solo.

The final track times in at over 26 minutes. One can only hope that this will be the coup de grâce that will lift this album out of the doldrums of the first four tracks. And it does, but it's not in any way a masterpiece among the best 20+ minute tracks in our beloved genre. But it's enough to keep this album from falling into the two-star territory for me. In many ways it sounds like the earlier tracks, but instead of separate pieces, they are all tied together nicely, conceptually and thematically. Godfrey even performs some really nice Banksian keyboard lines throughout. I think what bothers me most about Frost, other than the pop rock tendencies, is it seems too noisy at times and needs a more powerful vocalist for this style of music. Godfrey's voice is more like a rough, whispering style and this kind of music begs for a soaring vocalist (like Rob Sowden).

An interesting addition to the neo prog sub-genre. An excellent debut, but not enough for this to be an essential purchase but showing lots of ability and promise that I'm looking forward to hearing what Frost produces in the future. Three stars.

Report this review (#161632)
Posted Tuesday, February 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Frost sounds like a black metal band name to me but this is as far from the truth as possible. Milliontown is Frost´s debut album but don´t let that fool you as this band is full of experienced musicians. Jem Godfrey who sings and plays the omnipresent keyboards on the album is also the main composer of the music. He has produced and written pop music for many years but has with this project decided to return to his prog roots. The other musicians are members of various neo prog bands like Arena and IQ. Personally I don´t think this sounds much like neither Arena nor IQ. Frost has a much more modern approach and sound and thank God for that. The influences ranges from Dream Theater ( Images & Words and Awake), some neo prog influences and commercial pop music.

I must say I was really surprised when I listened to Milliontown for the first time because I was expecting some rather mediocre neo prog, but this sounds much more powerful and fresh.

The music is very melodic and there is a good mood in the songs. Not since I heard Dream Theater´s Images & Words have I heard an album with this kind of sound. Milliontown is not a heavy metal album though, but there are traces. The melodic and complex instrumental opener Hyperventilate is a really excellent song with lots of Dream Theater tendencies. I also hear some Steve Vai Firegarden influences in this song. Jem Godfrey´s piano playing is otherworldly in this song. I promise you this is fantastic and very melodic.

No Me No You is the first test of Jem Godfrey´s frontman qualities and he passes with splendour. He has a really strong voice and even though the chorus of the song could have been in a pop song, it suits the music so well. This is one of those rare bands that sounds like pop, but is much more complicated than that. It never gets cheesy though and that´s good.

Snowman is a song with another style than the two previous ones. Very keyboard dominated and mellow this reminds me a bit about Chroma Key with a pop rock singer. Again the melody is very strong and the keyboards play some really melodic themes.

The Other Me is the weakest song here. This is really eighties like in the melody department. But of course it is professionally done and that saves this otherwise weak song.

Black Light Machine is the most neo prog song here. It´s kind of a mini epic with it´s 10 minute running time, but it isn´t the kind of song that builds. There are lots of solos and instrumental parts in this one. Nothing fancy though.

Milliontown is the real epic of the album. 26+ minutes is a long time for one song, but I am entertained throughout the whole playing time. The vocals lines and the singing style in this song sometimes reminds me of Neil Morse from Spock´s Beard. This is a great ending to a great album, and with the many different parts in this song, Frost proves that they are more than just another neo prog band.

The musicians are outstanding on this album and with the wonderful production this is emphazised even more. This has to be one of the most polished productions I have ever heard on a prog rock album, and even though this sometimes offend me I enjoy it greatly here. These songs were born to be produced like this.

This is one of the best modern prog rock albums I have heard in years and a sure 4 - 5 star album. It´s very rarely I hear something that I feel deserve 5 stars, but this is very special, even though it has it´s flaws and I can therefore only give it 4 stars. I can´t wait to hear more though. This is highly recommendable, you just have to try this one out if you´re into melodic symphonic prog rock.

Report this review (#162687)
Posted Tuesday, February 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I wanted to write my first review about an album that I truly loved.

Sure, it would be easy to write about Selling England or some other Genesis masterpiece, but I wanted something more modern.

Milliontown by Frost is the best album I've purchased this year (yes, I know, I'm a little late to the album, I was out of Prog Rock for about ten years).

I first heard No Me, No You on a Progressive Rock podcast and it blew me away, I needed more. I searched through the archives and found Hyperventilate and Black Light Machine. Again, fantastic, I needed more, shortly thereafter, I picked up the album and continue to say Wow! every time that I listen to it.

This album contains 4 fantastic songs and two good songs.

Hyperventilate provides an enchanting introduction to the layers you'll find throughout the entire album, keyboard wizardry interspersed with crunching guitar yet retaining a firm grip on melody throughout.

No Me, No You grips you with a ballsy metalish crunch only to blindside the listener with a shift from left field into a rolling 12/8 chorus that gets repeated throughout the song. Jem Godfrey's pop expertise shines through in the chorus, bridge and outro coalescing the prog oddities with almost pop-like hooks. The result, pure majesty.

Snowman is a good enough song, but it is the best example of my biggest criticism of the album. Many parts of the album feature entirely too much processing on the lead vocals. The album sounds great, why muddy up Snowman and the beginning of Milliontown by sweeping the vocals to the point of distraction?

The Other Me, enjoyable but unremarkable.

Black Light Machine is ten minutes of proggy goodness full of great guitar work.

Milliontown, the 26 minute epic is a beautifully constructed piece but also the place to insert my second criticism of the album. It would have been a much stronger 24.5 minute epic, the 90 seconds of piano afterthought strikes me as kind of a Transatlantic ploy to simply make the 'epic' longer.

Other than that, Milliontown (the song) is a wonderfully enjoyable excursion through the afterlife from the eyes of a Zombie (or at least that's the most I can gather from the references to the book). Similar to the remainder of the album, it's full of almost pop sounding hooks, progressive wizardry, lush layers and thoughtful lyrics.

A final thought, it's so nice hearing a prog keyboard player who doesn't spend the entire album trying to mimic a Mellotron. Love the sound of the Mellotron, but come on guys, it's 2008 (or 2006 when this was released). Let's be progressive. Enjoy the music released in the 70's for what it was don't try to recreate it 40 years later. Go buy a Roland or something from this decade.

Wonderful album, I highly recommend it.

Report this review (#165399)
Posted Sunday, March 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#168635)
Posted Thursday, April 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Jem Godfrey, believe it or not, has written quite a few hits over the years...for the likes of ATOMIC KITTEN and SUGABABES. I know, I know, I know. Not exactly the best grounding in music but, before you try to turn away from this review in disgust, realise that Mr Godfrey is, like you and me, a serious lover of all things prog. After temporarily quitting the day job, Godfrey put together an impressive looking line-up for his new project entitled FROST, who aimed to bring prog into the 21st century by combining the archaic progressive sensibilities, rhythms and sounds of his 1970's-yester-year heroes with the more overt, primary-coloured simplicity of todays pop and Indie acts. Digital-pop-prog, if you will. It sounds like a unique challenge, and maybe not to everyone's tastes considering the apathy towards chart-bothering pop-hits shown by the average progger.(me included). However, with the help of neo- prog heroes IQ's rhythm section and the talented guitarist John Mitchell, Godfrey has produced a scintillating odyssey into this bright new world filled with daring musical mixtures. Opener 'Hyperventilate' sounds like an almighty-clash between Marillion and The Human League, with bold synths and highly-string guitars battling for supremacy over the Andy Edwards thunderous drumming. It's a good start, but things are bettered immediately. Sophomore song 'No Me, No You' is one of 'Milliontowns' highlights. Crunching metal-riffs run head-first thru John Jowitt's thuddering bass, whilst Godfrey's synthesised Transformers-esque vocals spew a barrage of meaty lyrics. So far, so good. But there will very definitely be detractors who will see this as falling delicately between two stools that, traditionally, are very, very far apart. Indeed, 'The Other Me' sounds cringingly like a sub-Sugababes pop ditty, with vacuous wordplay only deepening the resemblence. 'Black Light Machine' fares better, but the pop quirks don't always sit comfortably alongside the prog-and-metal framework, sometimes making for awkward moments and time-changes. The required and eponymously-titled 20-minute-plus epic finishes things off in some style, and is probably the LP's most experimental piece. The fact that the clash of styles doesn't always work does detract from the promising musical avenue being explored here, and there is no denying that. But, in fairness you have to give Godfrey a pat on the back for being true to the core ideologies and ethos of progressive rock - that of experimentation, progression, style-merging etc - and it has to be said that there is little out there(in the prog world) similar to MILLIONTOWN. At times inspired, at others awkward and mawkish, Godfrey's quest for a harmonious balance between prog and pop, his day-job and his first love, was always going to be difficult. He hasn't quite pulled it off yet but with the talent shown by FROST here, there are surely exiciting times ahead.
Report this review (#175541)
Posted Friday, June 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Hello, good evening, and welcome

Frost* (the asterisk is part of the band's name) are the brainchild of noted producer Jem Godfrey. While Godfrey is probably best known for his work with the girl band Atomic Kitten, he has a longstanding passion for progressive rock. He sings and plays keyboards on this album.

In 2006, Godfrey contacted guitarist John Mitchell of Arena (although it was Mitchell's work with Kino which attracted Godfrey's attention) along with John Jowitt and Andy Edwards of IQ with a view to forming a prog supergroup. John Boyes, a former bandmate of Godfrey, also appears on the album. "Milliontown" is the band's only official release to date, although at time of writing they are working and touring together.

The album opens with the 7½ minute "Hyperventilate", an instrumental track which begins rather like the title track from ELP's "Trilogy" album, before moving through some fine Yes like sequences. "No me, no you", the first track with vocals, reminds me a lot of Porcupine Tree's more recent work, especially vocally. John Mitchell also brings with him a fair bit of Arena/The Urbane here, the guitar riffs bearing Mitchell's distinct trademark.

"Snowman" is the shortest track on the album at just under 4 minutes. The song is relatively light, with a strong bass line and plinking keyboards supporting a distorted vocal.

The opening riff of "The other me" sounds very like Tubeway Army's "Are 'friends' electric" before Mitchell's distorted vocals take us in an altogether heavier direction. The 10 minute "Black Light Machine" returns us to an Arena style, Mitchell's fine guitar work once again being a feature. The track weaves through a variety of styles and moods from the rather light pop style opening sequence to gentle waves of atmospheric keyboard backed vocals and thundering bursts of guitar.

It is though to the sprawling 26½ minute title track that we look for our prog masterpiece. Nominally in six sections, this monster may borrow heavily from both classic prog and neo-prog epics which have gone before (including "Close to the edge" and "Duke's travels" to name but two), but it still makes for a fine way to spend half an hour. The overall sound is actually quite similar to that of the other recent prog supergroup Transatlantic, the vocals being particularly reminiscent of Neal Morse. The track is as ambitious as it is pompous, with soaring symphonic sections, lush keyboards and plenty of lead guitar breaks. A new prog classic indeed.

In all, a refreshing and reassuring hour of neo-prog performed by a group of highly talented craftsmen. This may be Jem Godfrey's baby, but it is apparent throughout that this is very much a band effort. Any album which features a 26+ minute prog epic cannot be all bad, but in this case it is pleasing to report that the album works well as a whole too.

Report this review (#178246)
Posted Saturday, July 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
mystic fred
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Having heard the story behind this release I was suspicious to say the least : a producer of pop albums making a Prog record..? Sounds audacious, and on listening to the whole album my suspicions were more or less confirmed - the album is a good debut, but didn't really do anything for me, i felt i'd heard much of it before. All the ingredients are present to make a good prog album but alas the spark of originality seemed to be absent here. The musicianship is excellent, band members previously playing in excellent Neo-prog bands IQ and Arena.

I hope the material on their next album will be better, indeed a very popular album but i'm afraid Frost "Milliontown" left me a bit chilly.

Report this review (#179987)
Posted Tuesday, August 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well ... like what others have said, this here is a 'modern neo-prog' sort of album. That said, I'm usually always in the mood to listen to Milliontown; it's one of my top CD purchases of 2007. I really like how the songs sound, err, 'frosty' and 'chilly' .. mm, just the way the songs were mixed and produced.

Anyways, ... Hyperventilate is an awesome, wild instrumental roller coaster ride, No Me No You is a nice rocker (I really enjoy the vocal harmonies), Snowman is a slower, mellower song, still very chilly-sounding. The Other Me ... another rockin' song. Black Light Machine .. well, listen to the sample up above for yourself. Milliontown ... this is their ending song, and it's very good. I usually don't tire of listening through the whole track; there's always a section to look forward to. Overall, great album.

Report this review (#183927)
Posted Sunday, September 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars There is a lot of acts with this name around now. I personally remember a good black metal band with the same name who emulated the best of Mayhem's masterpiece Mysteries Dom Sathanas. I am missing that band.........or maybe I have just lost touch with that scene. Another Frost is doing the rounds on the folk-rock circuit Norway and I also believe there is one band in Iceland with the same name. Or is it a bank with the same name ? Give us your savings and get your bank account frozen.

Well, over to this neo progressive rock band. The first Dream Theater like minutes of this album blew me away. The music is pretty symphonic throughout and laden by excellent guitars and keyboards. The right stuff, in other words. The vocals are great too. The music swings between quiet reflection and bombastic heavy parts. The twenty six minutes long title track is a typical example. Although the rest of the one hour long album is not as strong as the beginning, this album is one of the better progressive rock albums released during the last two years. Milliontown being the debut album from this UK band, I am looking forward to the follow up album.

A goodish album.

Report this review (#186677)
Posted Wednesday, October 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars What a find.

I stumbled across this album months ago and have only grown to love it more and more with every listen. As a debut album this CD is all the more unbelievable-every track is great in its own way. The album kicks off and ends in very progressive fashion, and these more proggy tracks sandwich some more straightforward (but still very entertaining and enjoyable) tracks. The opening instrumental Hyperventilate is a rewarding listen, including some wonderful piano work and very noisy (in a good way) production and driving rhythm, all the way to the intense finale. No Me No You is probably the most different from the rest with some prog-metal influence here. Dark vocals and chugging guitar opens up to some soaring synth lines making for a very varied track. Snowman is a surprisingly mellow and bittersweet song, a nice soft intermediate song, shortest on the album at under 4 minutes. It builds up with some beautiful vocal work toward the end. The Other Me is a very straightforward rock song but nonetheless very cool. Very driving and noisy rhythms, big and head-bobbing track. The final two tracks are far and away the best on the album. Black Light Machine is a great song, a cool guitar line opening working its way through to the end where things go crazy. But the masterpiece of the album is the title track, the prog epic Milliontown. It is a song packed full of beautiful melodies, interesting transitions and lyrics, and great solos and development. Marvelous song, highly recommended.

4.5 stars, for sure. I can't wait for their next album, Experiments in Mass Appeal.

Report this review (#187191)
Posted Monday, October 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars An extremely good debut from this English band.!!

FROST* make their appearance so glad to the progressive abyss. Their style is close to bands just like SHADOW GALLERY and DREAM THEATER with a notable taste of the Pop element. Actually, the band presents 2 styles in its music. The progressive instrumental style that is so special, so technical and so unique and the Pop-Prog style, full of marvelous vocals and beautiful melodies. The production is also perfectly clear, making the album delightfully listened.

Introducing this wonderful debut, FROST* prove that are ready to create something different in the Progressive Scene. This album is recommended to any Prog fan that loves a more melodic progressive style, always dressed with interesting instrumental parts...

4,5 stars really...

Report this review (#201869)
Posted Friday, February 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars I think this album is one of the best albums in the world. From beginning to the end you listen some great music.

As the first album of the band thats a great start.

The first song called "Hypervantilate" got really good piano riffs . The structure of the song is great that we can taste some agressive riffs and soft melodies in the same song without any problem. Another great thing about this song is the keyboard solo , because instead of only viririviriviriirivurivurivui type of keyboard solos , thats so melodic so complex so high ..

Album continues with "No me No you" which is heavier song. Chorus melody is also great. Next song "Snow Man" puts a mellow feeling inside you. It seems to be so easy sturcture at first but its really musical. "The other me" stars with a funky melody. And continues good. Lets talk about "Black Light Machine" , this song is a really a masterpiece. Especailly the guitar parts are impressing. Vocal parts really shows us the Frost's style.

As the conclusion last song " Milliontown " is a good conclusion for the album. With its 26 minute long epic structure and great contents . Thats really an essential album !

Report this review (#219057)
Posted Sunday, May 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Great album. This is the Tony Banks solo album that he should have made. Great musicianship and production, time sigs, keyboard solo's, decent vocals, etc. Some of the songs are a bit too pop and seem a bit formulaic. They don't really seem to fit either the album or the prog tag so not the perfect album but overall still really refreshing to hear. The opening track is fantastic, great build up, this Jem guy really knows how to create a big sound. Somehting I've not heard anyone else mention yet. - the song Milliontown has some It Bites moments - reminds me of Once Around The World.
Report this review (#227896)
Posted Wednesday, July 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Frost* is superb. Talented, inspired and a true extension of the greatness that has become the Progressive Rock genre, since it's infancy in the 60's. I can't predict where Frost* will settle in the legacy of Progressive Rock elite, but they can indeed attain that status, if they continue as a group. I am very impressed with this release, there is no real weakness in any of it - although certain songs are stronger than others. But that is to be expected, in the end.

If you enjoy the more "classic" ProgRock type of group, i.e., Genesis, Pink Floyd, Yes, early King Crimson, Camel, etc. - Frost* is nothing like them - but they carry on the tradition that inspires your musical senses. If you enjoy contemporary groups like Porcupine Tree, Particle, Magic Pie and Wolverine - there is a certain affinity within their collective music, so you will very much enjoy Frost*. If any of this defines who you are, I highly recommend Milliontown be added to your collection.

Report this review (#229841)
Posted Monday, August 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Simply put, a marvelous release. I can help use only superlatives for this debut album. Excellent musicianship, originality and freshness in aboundance in both rythm, arrangements and melodies, highly solid songwriting, and probably the best production I ever heard.

The impression throughout the entire album is to be in the hands of masters: masters of instruments, master producer. Start with "Hyperventilate" and you are through a journey of discoveries, a rollercoster of situations.

Complex rythms and abrupt rythmic changes, very many layers of textures, nice harmonies which sometimes give the impression of borrowing notes from somewhere else (do they discover new notes?!), excellent keyboard use for both solos and background, great guitar work perfectly entwined with the rest of the sound - these features shold attract every pure prog lover. Beside, the sound is highly crafted, rich and wide, full of calculated effects. There is a simingly fantastic balance between guitar and keyboards, while bass and drumming are always consistent, interesting and distinguishable.

All in all, I would call it a must, definitely underrated in these pages. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#241758)
Posted Sunday, September 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have my headphones on, my wife and eldest son are watching the X-factor on tv. I spin the Frost* debut disc for the 2nd time and this time it's music is absorbed for this review. Well I reckon that a lot of it is reminiscent of late 70's Genesis and late 80's IQ. The opening track is excellent and an instrumental! It's name is "Hyperventilate" and contains some nice work on piano and guitar plus an instrumental break that might have been an out-take from "Wind & Wuthering". It has a nice tight synth solo as well - a good start. I also like the 2nd track "No Me No You", it's a bit heavier and a bit catchier, it has nice use of piano and reminds me a bit of "And Then There were Three". The third track "Snowman" starts with slower piano and has a metronomic quality, but this track is weaker than the first two in my opinion. Then track four and a heavier start with shades of Numan's "Are Friends Electric", the disc is heavily influenced by eighties styles I think.... Then T5 "Black Light Machine" a jaunty start and some really nice guitar work and a fantastic instrumental part with synth arpegios and technically tight guitar, the instrumental break makes this track my favourite so far, can the EPIC trump it? Track 6 - "Milliontown" the veritable lengthy epic and it doesn't disappoint, nice piano, organ and synths with "safe" male vocals (same as throughout the CD). Again this is a very eighties feel but then has a tremendous instrumental ending that tops everything on the CD, and it's a rap, 3.75 stars rounded up to FOUR. Buy this if you liked eighties IQ, because this CD sounds very much like that era....
Report this review (#244259)
Posted Sunday, October 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow! Just, wow! The debut of the band Frost* is, in lack of a better word, amazing.

I have no previous relation with either Frost* or its members, but after the first listen I understood the hype about this band. What makes this stand out especially, unlike many groups with many virtuoso instrumentalists, Frost* never seem to loose themselves in their own brilliance. I get the feeling that "Milliontown" was made with melody and energy in mind foremost, and that the technical showcasing is just a fortunate circumstance to the music.

If you are unfamiliar with Frost* and their music it can be described as somewhat of a cross of rock/fusion with progressive music of many forms. It's hard to find a good corresponding act that at least resemble the sound of Frost*, I can't for the life of me think of any right now. It's really melodic, slick and well structured, that's the best description I can give. In the bands Biography here on progarchives, band leader and creator Jem Godfrey shares his view on progressive music stating that "Most prog bands sound as if the last thirty years never happened. How can that be progressive?" This trend is very apparent here on progarchives and there has been many times when I've myself questioned some of the leading "progressive" acts right to actually call themselves that. What Godfrey set out to do with Frost* was to create progressive rock for the 21st century. In my opinion he succeeded, astonishingly well.

With some of the crispest production I've ever heard, coupled with marvelous instrumentalists and song lyrics that for once almost grab my attention, Frost* is a fresh wind in the genre and Milliontown one of the best albums of this decade so far.

It is a masterpiece, listen to it, love it, treasure it!


Report this review (#252674)
Posted Wednesday, November 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Similar the the late show Seinfeld--the show about nothing--Milliontown is the album about nothing. If you need a plot, or at least lyrics about something tangible or relatable, then this won't be up your alley. Conversely, if you like creative, "balls-out" instrumentals, then then this will be for you.

Milliontown gets-r-done for me.

I'm going to be honest: I really only listen to this album for the first and final songs (like Spock's Beard's V, which wouldn't surprise me if it was hatched from the same prog-egg as Milliontown), although Black Light Machine is also a good listen with some catchy verses and interesting solos.

Hyperventilate kicks things off nicely. Let's see, we've got 3/4, 4/4, 5/4, and 7/4, which all can go by without really noticing because the melodies and playing are just flat out fun. Again, there's really nothing holding it together, but they pull it off.

I will appreciate Milliontown for what it is, because I don't think we're likely to get another epic from Jem. That's OK--they've left their mark nicely in my opinion. I find it pleasant and interesting throughout, but special mention must be made for the final 10 minutes or so: they are just rocking out and I love it. High energy, fun and well-played--what's not to like?

One oddity is with the individual contributions to this supergroup. Without seeing the line-up, I would not have guessed that Jowitt, Edwards and Mitchell are playing on this album. Edwards fills things up much more than I can remember in his IQ work (and to nice effect, to be sure), while I can barely hear Jowitt at all (though I suppose this is intentionally a blatant guitar-synth-drum mix). Finally, I am stunned that I often mistake Mitchell's playing for a synth. Very restrained and very robotic. It sounds very good, but it's hard to be happy with a t-bone when someone's having filet mignon right next to you.

All in all, I usually enjoy my visits to Milliontown, and I'm glad it happened. If you like the over-the-top instrumentals that neo prog can sometimes deliver, you can't get much better or more consistent than Milliontown.

Report this review (#283773)
Posted Thursday, May 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars As good of a debut as any you would've heard in the '00s, Milliontown is an album that proves no influences are unwelcome in prog.

The most notable thing about Frost* is that they feel like a very fresh band-they never appear to blatantly be copying or homaging prog acts from the '70s. "Hyperventilate" is an amazing song and one of my very favorite instrumentals in prog, and it's largely because it distinctly feels like its own animal while keeping the beauty and mystery of prog past. The piano is gorgeous and catchy, but it doesn't sound like it's trying to emulate Firth of Fifth or Gentle Giant-it simply sounds like Frost*. In a genre that has nearly collapsed due to the constant recycling and regurgitation of old themes and tired influences, that's as good as can be expected from a modern prog group.

Things continue steadily from there, with "No Me No You" proving to be equal parts soaring and intense, inspiring and menacing. "Snowman" works as a short, pensive interlude with some truly inspired keyboard and segues nicely into "The Other Me", which forges pieces of pop, industrial and prog and sprinkles in some sharp songwriting("My handywork will hunt me down and masquerade as me") into a song that could serve equally as a soundtrack passage or a hit single. Finally, "Black Light Machine", while featuring a somewhat "been there, done that" anti-war message, has some truly beautiful passages and the last few minutes feature a wonderfully evocative, sci-fi inspired instrumental section that many other bands only wish they could pull off with the sort of clarity and intuition that Frost* uses here.

Indeed, if there's anything wrong with this album, it's the title track. It manages to mix all of the best parts of the first half hour of the album and then simply extend them past the point of caring. It works for a while but by the time you're 15 minutes in you'll be checking your watch. The title track is, sadly enough, a perfect example of too much of a good thing.

Still, any fan of progressive rock owes it to themselves to check this album out. Jem Godfrey knows all the right buttons to push when it comes to listenability, and combined with the grand scale and complex instrumentation, "Milliontown" is an album that prog heads and mainstream listeners alike will find equal value in. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#300359)
Posted Friday, September 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the album that reintroduced me to modern prog a couple of years ago. To my ears, this is one of the greatest albums of the 21st century so far, along with Big Big Train's 2009 album 'The Underfall Yard'. However, don't misunderstand me. These two albums are very different from one another. The songs on 'The Underfall Yard' gradually burrow into your consciousness and stay there forever. The music on 'Milliontown' takes a very different approach. Metaphorically speaking, Jem Godfrey picks up a sledgehammer etched with the words POP, scratches the words POP out until they are barely legible and then scrapes the word PROG! over the top of the word POP. He then proceeds to bash you around the ears with said sledgehammer. Yes it's PROG but you can still see the POP underneath it. And it is good! In fact it is so good it switched me on to the whole prog scene again after years of disillusionment with music as a whole. I like melody and the melodies in this beauty just kick ass. I like harmony and luckily, so does Jem. It has got everything that I look for in my music and more. I cannot fault it. I refuse to fault it. Every song is superb, brilliantly produced and executed.

The opening track 'Hyperventilate' gives an indication of what is to come. Fantastic track. I just adore 'Snowman' for its quirkiness. I haven't heard quirkiness like this in years and it works brilliantly.

The last two tracks 'Black Light Machine' and Milliontown are masterpieces of music of any genre. I cannot even put into words how brilliant I think the track 'Milliontown' is. I have to say that I am massive fan of this album. I can't admit to being a fan of all of Jem Godfrey's work (yes I'm talking about Jem's daytime job!) but Frost* changed my life and I can only thank him for that. A classic. A masterpiece. Great prog or great pop, whatever it is, to me it is an essential part of any music collection. I think I said the same thing about 'The Underfall Yard'. But it's true! God, I hope Jem gets his health back and resurrects Frost*. I really miss them!

Report this review (#508984)
Posted Thursday, August 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Frost* is Jem Godfrey's baby; having established a lucrative career as a songwriter for major pop stars, Godfrey wanted an outlet through which he could perform some of his own songs and develop material with a different artistic direction than his day job. Luckily, various veterans of IQ and Arena decided to help out, and the end result is the Milliontown album. It's a rather poppy sort of neo-prog album, with Godfrey's ear for a good hook benefitting the songwriting; to be honest, it feels a little lightweight and insubstantial for my tastes, but fans of the poppier end of neo-prog may find a lot to like here.
Report this review (#707464)
Posted Tuesday, April 3, 2012 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars This is a new band that has been put together by Jem Godfrey, and while this may appear to many to be his first foray into progressive music he has actually been around for quite a while. He formed Freefall back in 1986, and only eight weeks later they opened for IQ. Over the years they supported the likes of Galahad, Ark and Geoff Mann, but although they had three independent releases they never hit the heights and they called it a day in 1991. That didn't stop his interest in music and more recently has been working on more profitable areas. So far he has successfully co-composed and co-produced pop hits, e.g. for Atomic Kitten, whose number one hit sold over two million copies alone. Apart from that he worked for Blue, Ronan Keating, Lulu and Samantha Mumba as well as scoring further chart success with Holly Vallance ("Kiss Kiss"), Atomic Kitten and Shane Ward (winner of the talent show "X-Factor"). When he decided that he needed something a little more stretching he bought a load of prog CDs and started looking for musicians. The result is that Andy Edwards and John Jowitt of IQ provide the hard hitting rhythm section, with guitarist John Mitchell (Arena, Kino etc) also in tow. JJ and John have always enjoyed playing together, reliving their Arena days, and it shows. Jem must have opened for JJ, either in Ark or IQ (or both), and has relived some of those Freefall days by asking John Boyes to also guest on guitars.

What I didn't expect at all was the complexity and sheer brilliance of opener "Hyperventilate". It starts almost dreamily, with sounds evocative of native American flutes before the piano tinkles in gently. Gradually Jem expands the music, playing up and down the keyboards in a gentle introduction, until a repeated sequence starts to take prominence. This builds until John comes crashing in with guitars following the same pattern then all hell breaks loose and it is off and devil take the hindmost. This is a soaring climatic instrumental with guitars and keyboards swapping roles while Andy and JJ provide total rock support. Just when you think that there can't be anymore the songs lifts, turns and then implodes on itself and falls back to piano and then it is off again. At the end of this song I was already in awe ? could this be the best prog debut since Spock's Beard? The other songs show a more structured side to the band, but one that is very hard hitting and riff hungry. This is a style of music that could probably be called prog metal, but it is far removed from Threshold as the melodies are stronger and this is packed full of hooks and is totally infectious. Jem may have written all of the material but he has surrounded himself with guys that know how to deliver, and the result is an album that may only be six songs long but this is sheer quality. If ever you doubted that the British prog scene could kick out something new and exciting then you should know that this is just incredible.

Feedback #89 2006

Report this review (#906886)
Posted Tuesday, February 5, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Another album I became aware of from PA's top fifty popular artists in the last 24 hours, the reviews of this album indicated that this was an album to be excited about. In particular, the quote in the artist profile from Jem Godfrey about most prog bands acting like the last 30 years in music didn't happen had me wondering how this progressive rock artist would approach making a prog album.

Making a blind purchase, I had it in my ear buds the day after I got it and listened. The opening instrumental really made a deep impression. Opening with what sounds like a wooden flute, the song instantly reminded me of a predawn mountain lake with the first light in the sky over silhouetted mountains. A delicate tinkling piano melody suggests that sunrise is drawing near and then as the sun comes up the bass and treble notes create a beautiful melody. As the music builds, light percussion joins and then suddenly the music erupts in a full scale melodic, almost metal sound full of richness. This is just the beginning. As the music develops, there is more piano, some explosive synthesizer solos, searing guitar solos that remind me of Steve Vai, voluminous rock in the vein of Steve Morse, and some marvelous neo-prog rock sounds. By the time the track wraps up, I am eager to hear what will come next, my ears practically smoking.

However, the next three tracks are a let down. "No Me No You" starts out promising enough with some manipulation of speaking voices that might have come from a Butthole Surfers album. Then heavy chugging guitar and the song that sounds very mainstream. The chorus contrasts the edge of the verses by being more melodic. The vocals have the slightly raw sound that many mainstream, popular rock bands have these days, the kind that sometimes sound like there is far too much breath coming out for the words sung. It's okay but reminds me too much of what I could expect to hear on Vancouver's rock radio station if I were back home. The middle part gets interesting but it's an insert in a heavy pop song.

"Snowman" just goes right by me. Each time I listen to it I lose concentration and think of other things. It has a kind of synthesized pan flute sound (two notes only) that sounds like a flute was recorded at the highest volume possible and then sampled. Thankfully, this is the shortest song on the album.

"The Other Me" is also a mainstream heavy rock song and unless I actually play it I can't recall how it goes either. But things really start looking up by "Black Light Machine". Where the first track, "Hyperventilate" gave us such rich music, "Black Light Machine" now does so with a song, too. At just over ten minutes, there's room to let the music move through different phases and show off once more the band's ability to shift effortlessly from light piano passages to thundering heavy rock to synthesizer-driven neo-prog. After listening to this again this morning, I was inspired to put this song on a playlist to burn to CD for long drives.

The last track is an epic over 26 minutes long. "Milliontown" doesn't introduce anything we don't already know. In a way, it's like the best parts of the album condensed into one composition, the Coles Notes version of the album, sort of. We have more of the heavy pop music, the wonderful synthesizer solos, the Steve Vai guitar, the prog metal pounding, and everything else except for the flutes, real or sampled. My problem with this song is that it seems to just keep going on and on. It's like ten songs chopped and stitched together and reminds me of how Transatlantic's long songs sometimes feel. While it's nice to hear such creativity, I feel like they just looked for any cool studio jam part to fit in. There's even a short passage of maybe sixteen bars that sounds like classic Genesis.

Without looking at the time counter you'll be kept wondering when the song will wrap up. There's a big anthemic keyboard melody that sounds like a great finale, but the song keeps going. There are some great guitar and synthesizer solos, and the song continues. The melody introduced at the beginning reprises, and the song continues. Even when the last big wallop seems to herald the close of the song, it is followed by a return of the piano and another minute of playing until the last note is sustained for yet another 17 seconds before the track finally and truly comes to its temporal conclusion. There's some excellent music but as the band dispenses with the usual practice of dividing epic songs into parts at least in title, it's a bit puzzling why so many musical themes were necessary.

The only other slight complaint about the album is that it is produced really loud. Except for the pretty piano parts, the volume of everything is loud like a bombardment of music. On the one hand it makes the album seem full and rich. On the other hand, it makes any kind of subtlety nearly impossible. That beautiful opening with flute and piano is a wonder.

"Hyperventilate" continues to be a joy to listen to and now I have come to appreciate "Black Light Machine". But the rest of the album doesn't exactly beg for repeat plays unless I want to undertake the task of inundating my brain with the extensive "Milliontown".

Report this review (#1264629)
Posted Saturday, August 30, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Out of the better known modern prog acts, Frost* (yes, with a cute snowflake, although sometimes it pops up in my iPod as The Frost) sat on my shelf the longest, for five years. I don't really know why, as it presented an admirable attempt to bridge neo-prog with modern rock, and featured among members John Mitchell, who became a defining part of the latter-day sound of Arena, along with Clive Nolan, and Andy Edwards, who provided a needed kick of energy to IQ's Frequency album. Maybe because I had trouble making it through the 25-minute Milliontown, which has a rather boring middle part (the beginning and end are good).

Anyway, this ain't half-bad. Compared to the follow-up, it still has kind of a split personality. 3 longer songs are neo- prog epics, basically a succession of typically neo-proggish catchy energetic synth and delayed guitar effects solos with slower verses in between. And the other 3 belong to modern rock family - heavy and/or densely layered, with loads of electronic effects to them. Later they would take more in the second direction.

Report this review (#1542972)
Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2016 | Review Permalink
Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
4 stars "Milliontown" has been launched in 2006 as the debut creation of a UK Rick act FROST* and definitely considered as one of milestones not only in Neo-Prog society but also in Progressive Rock scene, let me say. The longest album-titled suite featuring drastic and dramatic melody appearances and charismatic and energetic impressions infiltrated deeply in the sound world might acclaim itself as one of Neo-Symphonic theaters. Their basal waves and vibes obviously inspired by British progressive rock vanguards (especially Genesis) and modestly seasoned with metallic hints are pretty comfortable for the audience regardless of such a complex rhythm ground. Exactly delightful and fruitful, till the end, a fragile keyboard lament.

Of course not only the masterpiece ... each track should have its own identity. The beginning kickin' titled "Hyperventilate" would be suitable to make us overbreathe under such a sound fantasia mainly created by Jem GODFREY's keyboard and John MITCHELL's guitar works unified together. This is another masterpiece to call a massive prediction they would aggressively run toward the top of the progressive mountain. In the middle part of this album we can enjoy Jem's vocal variation (partially dealt with effectors methinks) or catchy pop essence in their backyard (but this texture should not be their real essence but only kinda musical spice, in my humble opinion). Enthusiastic battles amongst keyboards, guitars, drums, or voices e.g. in "Back Light Machine", must ring the bell in our inner mind I'm sure.

Although not every track can be felt innovative but the first and the last are too impressive for the audience to ignore as progressive rock gems. Quite appropriate for beginners of Neo-Prog, beyond expression.

Report this review (#1632483)
Posted Saturday, October 15, 2016 | Review Permalink
The Crow
4 stars After Kino, John Mitchell participated in another super-group called Frost*!!!

And this time, the results are much better than in the named band thanks to the very good songwriting abilities of Jem Godfrey, the other key member of the band. The style of the group is a very powerful neo-prog with tremendous instrumental sections, distorted and strong guitars, and tons of good melodies.

Frost* is like The Urbane (old John Mitchell's band) meets IQ with some stimulating ideas like disco elements (Black Light Machine) and even electronic-industrial touches (The Other Me) but always maintaining a very neo-prog atmosphere throughout the whole record and counting with very good vocals from Mitchell himself. I really like his mellow-deep voice, and in Frost* he sang better than ever.

Best Tracks: Hyperventilate (excellent instrumental opener), Black Light Machine (one of the most awesome neo-prog songs that I've heard) and Milliontown (marvelous tour de force and a true progressive masterpiece)

Conclusion: despite its flaws in form of two lackluster songs (Snowman, The Other Me), Milliontown is an excellent album which contains some of the best neo-prog songs released in the last decade. Powerful, funny and to be enjoyed many many times without being tired of it.

If you like neo-prog, even just a bit, I strongly recommend you check this album out.

My rating: ****

Report this review (#2080121)
Posted Saturday, December 1, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars Frost has been a very important band for me, because it was one of the first few bands I discovered once I was baptized in the world of modern prog thanks to Dream Theater's "Octivarium". This album, along with Mars Volta's "De-Loused in the Comatorium" I considered to be original holy trinity, three albums that not only didn't sound like pop or classic rock or anything you'd hear on the radio, but three albums that didn't even sound like each other, in any aspect.

Even now, Frost* (apparently that asterisk is part of the name) is one of the freshest outfits out there and one of the next big things in the ever influential world of British rock and progressive music. Even their debut here "Milliontown" sounds fresh and new even 15 years after its release. One of my biggest plus points is prog bands that manage to stay the course while incorporating a catchy pop aesthetic to draw any listener in and keep them coming back again and again, and this has been one of Frost's biggest accomplishments. Composer and bandleader Jem Godfrey does a good job incorporating instrumental sections and riffs with significant lyrics and catchy choruses.

The album begins with a lovely piano-led instrumental "Hyperventilate" followed by the gripping and driving "No Me No You". The machine gun verse that bookends the song are almost hypnotic as they lead into the big bombastic chorus before the piano fades out. I understand why Godfrey refers to himself as a composer, these songs to seem to be classically structured, yet there's also a good attention to detail in songwriting, lyricism and attractiveness to casual listeners.

"Snowman" is a classic example. It's a soft and beautiful ballad that find a perfect home as a backing track to an emotional scene in a drama or action movie. The depth of the electronics, the softness of the guitars and keys and the soothing presence of the backing vocals on the back end of the track just send chills up my spine every time. It's as almost if someone asked Mason Bates to write a pop song arrangement of a Depeche Mode song but in the style of an old school music box. One of my absolute favorites.

From the sublime to the hardcore comes "The Other Me", which sounds like the beginning of an older Fast and Furious movie. This song has a hard rock, "punch you in the face" kind of mentality, unique from the rest of the songs on the album, and yet there are softer interludes and Nine Inch Nails-esque electronic freakouts that pepper the song with depth and life before the bombastic chorus fills the room before it all fades out to the buzzing of bugs in your ears. Even a simple catchy 5 minute song like this has enough depth to be more interesting than some bands whole albums.

But then, Godfrey decides to go big or go home by ending the album with two epics. The first of which, "Black Light Machine", immediately catches the ear with a nice happy and perky synth line with a happy chorus to boot. After a few minutes it fades out to bring in a nice David Gilmour-esque solo spot by the guitars before that fades into another atmospheric verse before the band kicks it into overdrive and finished on a technical high note.

"Milliontown" is the big epic. It has everything, soft atmospheric interludes, catchy choruses, fast technical sections, big bombastic finishes and intelligent songwriting and lyricisim. It may not be as memorable as, say "Octivarium", but it's still an impressive piece of music to digest if you have the time to sit down and listen to all 26-and-a-half minutes of it, but if you don't, that's fine, because even though I'm a sucker for long songs, Frost's biggest weapon is it's shorter, catchier (and still proggy) songs which are much harder to pull off.

It's not the best album I've ever heard, the epics (especially" Milliontown") can be a bit convoluted at times, but the rest of the album is superb. It's a different take than Porcupine Tree did when the emerged from the 80's New Wave craze as a psychedellic Pink Floyd-ian Beatles-esque band in the early 90's before evolving into a streamlined, heavier, grungier form (a la Tool) but still focused on songwriting and lyrics. It's a modern take on popular music and progressive rock, as well as a sign of the times. Jem Grodfrey has established himself as a brilliant songwriter, musician and composer with this album and each album this band puts out is always on my radar.

Report this review (#2572033)
Posted Saturday, June 19, 2021 | Review Permalink

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