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Frost* Experiments in Mass Appeal album cover
3.66 | 340 ratings | 28 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Experiments in Mass Appeal (8:00)
2. Welcome to Nowhere (5:31)
3. Pocket Sun (4:28)
4. Saline (6:06)
5. Dear Dead Days (6:50)
6. Falling Down (5:49)
7. You/I (1:06)
8. Toys (3:03)
9. Wonderland (15:48)

Total Time 56:41

Bonus DVD from 2008 SE:
- Video -
1. The Making of Experiments in Mass Appeal (155:46)
2. The Christmas Sessions (9:30)
3. Gig Reports (53:06)
- Audio (Mp3 format) -
4. Experiments in Mass Appeal (instrumental) (7:39)
5. Welcome to Nowhere (instrumental) (5:31)
6. Pocket Sun (instrumental) (4:28)
7. Saline (instrumental) (6:07)
8. Dear Dear Days (instrumental) (6:50)
9. Falling Down (instrumental) (5:49)
10. Toys (instrumental) (3:04)
11. Wonderland (instrumental) (6:35)

Total Time 264:25

Line-up / Musicians

- Declan Burke / lead vocals, acoustic guitars
- John Mitchell / guitar, violin, backing vocals
- Jem Godfrey / keyboards, piano, backing vocals
- John Jowitt / bass
- Andy Edwards / drums

Releases information

CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMCD 303 (2008, Germany)
CD + DVD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMSECD 303 (2008, Germany) Bonus DVD with 3 Videos and instrumental mixes of album's tracks except #7

Thanks to LiquidEternity with latest update by Tony R for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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FROST* Experiments in Mass Appeal ratings distribution

(340 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

FROST* Experiments in Mass Appeal reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Experiment or not, it certainly is appealing

That spray painted asterisk really needs some attention, this is a fantastic album. Supergroup Frost* has had an interesting life up to this point, in the course of a few short years they've released their debut album, broken up, regrouped and decided to strike back at the progressive community with this monster of a release. The band is harder edged, more aggressive and more out for the kill than ever before.

There's been a trend in the Neo-Prog community that many people have noticed, and that's the gradual darkening of the bands in the genre. Think of it like this, if Symphonic Prog is the father of the community as it stands right now with bands like Genesis and Yes hanging around with it all this time, Neo-Prog would be their teenaged son with an identity problem. Over the course of his life he's gone through some phases, at first trying to be a clone of his father who had to change with the times to make money to feed the family, so Neo tried to fill that gap. After taking a lot of criticism over the years Neo decided that he didn't want to take any more of this abuse and so is distancing himself from his father genre. He's putting on some eyeshadow and dawning all black clothes and hanging out with the wrong crowds. Bands in the genre like Pendragon, IQ and even Marillion have gone dark, and apparently so have Frost*. While results have been varied for other bands it's pretty clear that for Frost* this was a good move, the songs are chilling, moving and genuinely hard to call retro.

The band also seems to have decided to move away from the 'side-long epic'. While their first album featured the lengthy Milliontown, which was controversial depending on who you are, this album has no songs that reach over 9 minutes (if you discount the fact that there's a hidden track at the end of the album). This really works for the album though, and it allows development of theme and emotion before moving onto the next section or song. There are a few songs that run very close to one another and segue perfectly, making one wonder if they were indeed to be thought of as a suite, and then there's other songs which just hold their own very well. It's that emotional aspect that makes the songs so memorable. Opening with the wonderful Experiments In Mass Appeal the band prove that they can do everything a post-rock band can do in terms of build and release of tension while still maintaining a great melody and perfect structure.

A couple of songs on the album work just as short rockers. While short still means about 5-minutes and ''rockers'' still shows the songs going through a progression that stops them from being too simple, these songs help fill out the album and make it feel complete. Welcome To Nowhere has an explosive chorus which picks up the song from its somewhat slow intro, Burke's shrill voice makes for a good addition to the instruments that pack a wild punch and the song even has some headbanging moments. Pocket Sun has a brief guitar into which sounds for a moment like a Daft Punk song before blasting into full motion. Toys is the shortest song on the album and almost sounds like Coheed and Cambria at times with the style of guitar, but its fast, upbeat delivery with some quirky vocal lines (''it's dog eat God/In dog we trust...'') make for a very good addition to the album. Saline is a slow and emotional tune with some very nice instrumentation that allow for a full range of sounds to come into play. But even the excellent short songs have heavy competition on the album.

Easily the standout songs are the collection of mid-lengthed tunes that lie in wait in the middle of the album. Dear Dead Days has got to be one of the best progressive songs to have been written in 2008. With a blistering fast keyboard intro from Godfrey that for a moment has an almost James Bond like atmosphere the song turns into a growling darkness-fest coming into the chorus. This is the kind of song you have to crank to mother-effing-eleven when you have it in a vehicle of any kind, and doing so will give you a full appreciation of the killer rhythm section provided by Jowitt and Edwards while the evil guitar backing provided by Mitchell only adds to the intensity of the song. This is an excellent tune full of all the pomp, virtuosity and atmosphere that prog fans looks for without going overboard in any department. This segues into the equally memorable Falling Down which uses its melodies to make for somewhat of a crash-pad for the previous song. They run together incredibly well and really could have been combined to make a 13-minute suite, but weren't.

The last song on the album is also a very good one. Wonderland is a very Radiohead kind of song with its atmospheric build - that is, until the piano comes in and takes over, and then it's all Frost*. More emotional playing from every member here makes for a good ending to the disc. Although it's not really over. The 15-minute long track is only partially taken up by Wonderland, the other song (the name of which is as of know unknown) is another dramatic and emotional tune that makes for a second satisfying end to the album.

All in all this is an excellent album that deserves multiple spins this holiday season. It's great to see that Frost* is back on the block with some excellent new music, and that the Neo bands can use their new found dark powers for good and not evil. 4.5 out of 5, one of this year's best releases, just shy of a masterpiece. Definitely recommended! Even to those who think that Neo-bands don't have a shot at producing unique music.

Review by Roland113
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Experiments in Mass Appeal is fantastic. I just wanted to get that out there.

Dear Dead Days is amazing and illustrates how a keyboard is supposed to sound. The tone of the synth patch along with the virtuosity of Jem's playing is one of the highlights of the album. Saline, followed by Dear Dead Days which is in turn segued into 'Falling Down represents the highlight suite of the album if you will. Fantastic set of songs.

Toys is fantastic as well. Good song, great riff, great rocking track.

Honestly, I don't quite understand 'Wonderland' it's not really an epic, just two songs put together, I guess to fit in with the prog scene, you need to have at least one song in excess of ten minutes or something, as I said, I don't understand the rationale behind combining both songs into one. With that being said, the first Wonderland is pretty good, the second is great. Wonderland two is a nice laid back ending to the album, lots of nice soundscapes and a really good mix in my opinion.

You and I is a minute long pretty interlude piece. Nothing remarkable.

The first two songs are enigmas. Both have a lot of contrasting loud and quiet sections, either the quiet sections are too quiet or the loud sections are too loud but still, the extreme volume difference between the sections does detract from the pair.

I waffled on whether to give this a four or a five star rating to this album. I finally settled on five for two reasons. Given a scale of 1-10 I'd give it a 9, no, it's not a perfect album, but close. Since we're on a five star rating, I'll round up. The second reason is that I gave Milliiontown a five star rating as well and relatively speaking this one is better than Milliontown.


Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars "Experiments In Mass Appeal" is more powerful than their debut "Milliontown", and they have also changed vocalists leaving John Mitchell to focus on his guitar playing. Declan Burke from DARWIN'S RADIO is the new singer and he also adds some acoustic guitar to the mix. For me this is an upgrade on their debut. Interesting thing is that there is no information in the liner notes except for the song titles. Great pictures though that are really humerous.

"Experiments In Mass Appeal" is my favourite track, it opens with gentle guitar and bass as piano tinkles away. Reserved vocals join in. An explosive sound arrives 2 1/2 minutes in. Impressive. Absolutely ripping guitar a minute later. A calm before 4 1/2 minutes and then it kicks in again. Powerful ending as well. "Welcome To Nowhere" is mellow with vocals and piano before we are hit with an outburst of sound. The song settles back down but is fuller than the intro. Great contrasts in this one too with a powerful ending as well. "Pocket Sun" features this cool guitar melody as vocals repeat the same line.The tempo picks up as a barage of drums comes in. A devastating soundscape after 3 minutes. What a fantastic song ! "Saline" is the first song that I would classify as good and not great. Perhaps because it's fairly mellow overall.

"Dear Dead Days" opens with a powerful and chaotic soundscape. Vocals and piano a minute in. Violin follows before it kicks back in before 2 minutes. Blistering guitar solo 6 minutes in. "Falling Down" has a good beat to it. I like when it calms down on the chorus. Great sound 3 1/2 minutes in as the guitar grinds away. "You / I" is a very short track with reserved vocals and piano. "Toys" is uptempo with vocals. This is a fun song that would fit well on THE AMBER LIGHT's latest album called "Play". Very similar style. Lots of energy. "Wonderland" is the epic at almost 16 minutes. It opens with pulsing sounds before piano and vocals take over a minute in. It kicks into gear 2 1/2 minutes in. It stops completely 6 minutes in and returns fully at 7 1/2 minutes. Piano, acoustic guitar and vocals dominate the rest of the way.This song was a bit of a disappointment for me, but it's still pretty good.

The frost is getting thicker folks. 3.5 stars.

Review by progrules
3 stars I'm giving myself a hard time last few days. This has to be the 5th or 6th review where the rating is causing me almost literally headaches. This could even be the worst of all those cases and again I'm caught in the middle between 3 and 4 stars. And that's already surprising looking at the average for this album so far. I would even be the first (of 24!) to give it three if that would be the verdict. But even now I'm writing this I'm not quite sure which it will be. So I will give ratings for each song with short description once again and see what comes of it:

1. The title track is a song with alternating soft and sweet parts and on the other hand several pretty rough passages. Good opener, though a bit monotonous towards the end (3,75*).

2. Same description actually but here the rough parts are extremely loud compared to the soft moments. Not a good song to play if you want to fall asleep. Original approach (3,5*).

3. Good song with pleasant rhythm as main feature (3,75*).

4. This one could have been on their debut (Milliontown) contrary to the first three. Bit of a ballad this but also here too monotonous near the end (3,25*).

5. The absolute highlight for me. Very catchy song with a great keyboard riff that keeps coming back all the time. Also the chorus is very nice (4*).

6. Not really a stand out song, average for Frost* standard without being really poor (3,5*).

7. Supershort ballad, nice but no more (3*).

8. Pretty rough and rocking track, not really special, just good (3,5).

9. Biggest disappointment for me. Appears not to be an interesting epic like I hoped for but one of those hidden track kind of things I usually hate. First 6 minutes are pretty good than a ballad-like part after a pause and last few minutes are completely uninteresting with the album fading out disappointingly (3,25*).

And this last almost makes me punish them by giving it three stars out of sheer disappointment and frustration because I had hoped for something that might have come near the fantastic epic on their debutalbum but the opposite was the case here. And another disappointment is the lacking of a few of those great guitar solos by John Mitchell like on Black light Machine. They are absent at all on this album. So it would have to be three stars you would think after so much negative comment and still ... there is something about this album that makes it hard to approach it all negative. Somehow it's too good for that. It breathes some sort of class, it's not boring or unoriginal at all and at least they have the balls to try something new compared to the debut.

In the end I'm caught between disappointment and admiration. And I don't often do this but this time I let the general opinion play a part in my judgement and give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, my personal average for this album is with a very slight edge above 3,5 so I'm entitled to give them 4 stars but I'm not convinced and consider their debut much much better. The only advantage this album has compared to Milliontown is that this one is more consistent. The class difference between the songs on the debut was much bigger. So 4 stars in the end for this, I'm letting them off the hook.

EDIT: I have to reconsider here. Above stated still goes for 100% as far as I'm concerned but after many more listens it doesn't get any better, rather worse. The songs appeared not tenable for me so since it already was 50-50 for 3 or 4 stars I will have to round down in the end.

Review by LiquidEternity
5 stars To be perfectly honest, even as a convinced fan of the first Frost* release, before hearing this album I had every intention of giving it most likely a three star rating, perhaps four if it were impressive. And here now it's getting five.

On paper, this seems a rather dangerous way for a band to go. Jem Godfrey, a notable songwriter in the pop genre, turns to prog to exorcise his wiggles and get some of his virtuosic talent out there. That's Milliontown, an album built on triumphant and wild-hearted noodling that ranks right up there with the famous excesses of many other progressive bands (Dream Theater, Yes, and so forth). In essence, Milliontown does not sound like a musician wanting to venture into prog to impress everyone but rather more to simply snub the genre he'd been making a living on. Well, on the heels of that project comes the unexpected album Experiments in Mass Appeal. This time, instead of turning to excessive prog as a refuge from the simplicity of pop, Jem is turning away from traditional prog to avoid the pitfalls of Milliontown: noodling, bombastic passages, zombies. Of course, he doesn't succeed on all those levels, exactly. Stay tuned. What Experiments in Mass Appeal is, though, is music that is definitely progressive while not being built on odd time signatures, terribly long compositions, hours of soloing and instrumental dinkery, or anything remotely connected to Lord of the Rings. But at the same time, in no way is this a pop album (though the track Toys is structured similarly). Intense dynamics from loud to quiet, from slow to fast, from pretty to pretty strange all turn this album into a completely different animal than exists anywhere else in the pop or neo-prog world.

The music is definitely more down-to-earth, band-oriented fare, though that mostly only in comparison with Frost*'s debut. Instead of focusing on the solos and instrumentals here, Jem creates music that is very much aimed at creating beautiful, catchy melodies. Usually this formula is dangerous. A neo-prog band backing off the proggy instrumentals, cutting down to shorter songs, trying to be more band-oriented, trying to focus on melodies? History has taught us that this occurrence often leads to a completely straightforward, barely progressive release that struggles to please either the fans of prog or of rock. This is not at all the case with Frost* and Experiments in Mass Appeal. Rather, in the end, it seems to me that Experiments in Mass Appeal almost has more in common musically with mid- to late-70s Zappa than with IQ, even though two of the five members come from that act. Except this album has really nothing in connection with Zappa, either. It stands on its own, with a very unique identity among its peers and contemporaries.

The music begins quietly with the title track in the form of a heartbeat and some simple guitar and piano. The music simmers quietly like this for a few minutes before it truly explodes into what Frost* really is made of. New prime vocalist Dec Burke is blessed with quite a set of pipes and a range that adds a lot of classic punch and removes a lot of boy band flavor from the mix. The whole song, including the guitar solo re-miked through a children's toy and an outro backed by a giant choir of Hungarians exists as a startling exposition both of the unique style of Jem and the powerful sound of Dec. Welcome to Nowhere continues the flair of the first tune, bouncing likewise from soft (in the vein somewhat of Milliontown's Snowman) to mad in very sudden shifts. This time, instead of a massive band sound filling out the loudness, a heavy riff in almost metal fashion forms the non-choral intense portions. Again, Dec stands at the front of the band, belting out another catchy melody. A third track, this time a fully-loud rocker called Pocket Sun, blends obtuse harmonies with some of the most interesting and obnoxiously contentious drumming to be heard from Andy Edwards to date. And it's about time travel. Saline promises beauty and emotion in a much more laid-back, personal manner. Essentially the album's ballad, it features some creative song changes and perhaps some of the most impassioned performance of Dec's anywhere on the album.

Dear Dead Days is certainly, however, the die-hard prog fan's track. It's buried in synths and arpeggios and creepiness much like something off of Milliontown. This song does not spare much time in grabbing its listener by whatever it can and dragging you forward. A startling (and again, somewhat metal) prechorus introduces another catchy chorus. Snippets and spots of instrumental madness push the track forward, and it ends with a sudden absence of itself and a rather confusing presence of Falling Down. Begun without a segue but not connected at all, this track is much softer overall than its predecessor. Powerful interconnections of voices hearkening back to Saline form the complex chorus structure. Also, this song has the album's longest instrumental portion: very nearly two minutes long. Most of that is a massive keyboard solo that simultaneously proves that Jem is both as talented as Wakeman or Rudess or Emerson and has enough style in his performance to actually give him a reason to do an epic keyboard solo in the middle of a song that has nothing to do with keyboard solos. This track, too, ends abruptly. You/I is a quick little filler of a track that features just Jem's vocals and piano and a bit of what's on his mind. While on its own mostly worthless, it gives the listener a chance to breathe before the last two tracks--a very important thing indeed.

Next comes the pop song Toys, a song barely over three minutes and completely self-contained. As far as prog goes, there doesn't seem to be a lot going on here. The vocals are firing almost the whole time, and the structure is very much verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chorus x2. However, the true genius of Jem is perfectly showcased here: not only does he not spend lots of time in the song playing nonessential parts, but he packs an intense amount of music into a particularly strong (and deviously catchy) track. There is not a weak second at all in this song, and that is a very impressive feat for any songwriter, no matter the genre. The track blows itself out, and the final song begins. Wonderland is, it must be noted, not quite six minutes long. Harrowing sounds turn the opening piano into a haunting tune, and this exciting, majorly improvised, and keyboard-blasted tune moves itself (with a lot of vocals again from Jem and John). Wonderland is the most Milliontown-esque track on Experiments in Mass Appeal, partly helped by the fact that it, too, happens to be about zombies. Subtle yet impossible keyboards blast this song shut. That leaves time for a bit of silence, a few noises, and a hidden track! Surprise! Or, it would be a surprise if everyone wasn't already expecting a sixteen minute epic here. And do we get a wild, noodly song here where Jem and the boys cut loose? No. Instead, we get a psychedelic, somewhat Phil Collins song that moves slowly very powerfully. An absolute surprise, so I'll leave it at that.

This album on paper (or computer screen or whatever) seems to look like it will be a major let-down, a loss of the proggy fun that was the band's debut. It's not. Instead, it handily surpasses the first in terms of identity, energy, focus, and melody. Definitely one of the top releases of 2008. And sorry for the painfully long review. It happens.

Review by Negoba
4 stars Very Good Modern Prog - Veteran Producer Empties the Toybox

I picked this album up after numerous proggies put it on their best of 2008 list, and it was featured on Franz Keylard's podcast. I'd read the basic premise, that the band was a chance for pop producer Jem Godfrey to play, to make his own music without the constraint of commerciality. And what we get is exactly that, a producer in the control room using the full range of gadgets and whizbangs at his disposal. Luckily, though, Godfrey's pop sensibilities are fairly ground in, and this music retains melodicism, pacing, and precision despite it basically being an exercise in self-indulgence. The result is very listenable, adventuresome, and contains a few moments that are truly astounding experiences through headphones.

This album has two signature elements: the processing on the lead vocals and the extremes in dynamics. Both are bound to annoy some, and in some places these elements are overdone. The vocal processing is not as extreme as Cynic but it's nearly as pervasive, making lyrics sometimes difficult to make out. As a result, the voice becomes the lead melodic instrument rather than a story-teller. Similarly, there are many sudden drops from full blast / no headroom multilayered sections to quiet interludes that are so low they'd be inaudible in a car. In fact, it can be hard to tell the difference between a transition within and between songs. Strangely, this gives the album as a whole a cohesion that I enjoy. But I certainly understand that others have criticized this heavy handed choice from the control room.

The opening title song contains everything good and bad about the album. Starting simple and sparse, it grows slowly in layering and intensity until it reaches a fiery climax during a very good guitar solo, and then, boom, drops back to the beginning theme. We go through the cycle again twice, though with shorter sections and slight variations, and (slightly) smoother transitions. Subsequent songs continue with this formula, but also incorporate more complex time signatures, processed guitar tones, electronic beats, and plenty of layers.

Highlights of the album include the opening track, the chorus of Pocket Sun (track 3) which is remarkably melodic despite a pummeling rhythm and highly processed / distorted guitars, the development of the melodic themes at the end of the fairly straight ballad Saline (track 4), the overwhelming spacy multi-tracked craziness at 0:39 of Dear Dead Days (track 5), and the metallic guitar solo on Falling Down (track 6). The later tracks do let up a little in terms of strength, but not to the degree some have criticized. In fact, I really don't find any weak spots on this album, only good and very good. At the same time, nothing totally transports me either.

In summary, this is very good modern prog. The musicianship is very high, it sounds great, and the melodies are strong. Very enjoyable listen and easy to recommend.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars One of my first ventures into prog with knowing it actually IS prog. And also music that I listened, when I entered this site. I heard lot praise about him and so I was wondering what's all the fuss about. There are ideas I like, of course. But performance, (or the form it is presented in) is not so good by my opinion. Relying on heavy sound, there's switching between these hard parts and calm, acoustic guitar accompanied by vocals parts. After all, these tracks are not much full of good elements, it sound more like some casual rock outfit. Shame when considering all these names in this. It is melodic (oh yeah, there are melodies), but for what ? I can enjoy heavy parts, I can enjoy calm ones. I can even enjoy combination of these two, but not in this way.

3(-) for something that not only isn't interesting, but also disappoints. Not recommended for most, just fans that can "get into" this. Though there are good ones, like Saline, in overall it's mostly catastrophe. Good idea destroyed by the form in which it's presented. Maybe too modern-like (using elements I hate, or that shouldn't be in prog, as voice modulation, or some cheap tricks), maybe too unbalanced. Some tracks are good though, really. This is why I gave 3 worse.

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If you were to ask me if I'd be interested in buying a cd by someone who wrote for and produced Atomic Kitten I'd probably laugh at the ridiculous suggestion. However Jem Godfrey, the keyboard playing mastermind behind Frost* is that person and here is their second album, Experiments In Mass Appeal in my collection. Now I couldn't name you a single Atomic Kitten song but the tracks that make up this album are very good indeed.

All credit can't go to Godfrey though. He did his homework well and recruited the excellent John Mitchell (Arena, Kino, It Bites) for guitar duties. Also on board are IQ men John Jowitt on bass and Andy Edwards on drums and finally Declan Burke on vocals/acoustic guitar making a line up of some pedigree.

Progressive rock it certainly is though don't be expecting anything 70's sounding here. Frost* have their feet firmly in the current decade producing an extremely modern sounding prog album with strong emphasis on melody, no doubt down to Godfrey's pop involvements. Much as I love a good 70's keyboard sound full of hammonds, mellotrons, moogs etc there's none of that here. Godfrey sticks with synths, the nearest he gets to retro being electric piano. It works pretty well though he does swamp the mix a bit at times. All the other players put in a strong performance and Burke is a decent singer too.

The material is strong throughout with the highlight being Dear Dead Days and Falling Down which segue into each other mid album. As well as very strong melodies there's some fine instrumental work going on including excellent solos from Godfrey and Mitchell.

Overall it's quite a bombastic affair but there's room for subtleties and quieter moments like the ballad Saline which makes a pleasant diversion from heavier tracks. The final track Wonderland gives the impression of being an almost 16 minute epic. Disappointingly as good as it is it's cut short after just under 6 minutes. After half a minute of silence the track fades back in, or in reality an unnamed different track which is a quieter and more sparsely arranged piece than the powerful Wonderland.

So if you have you your feet stuck in the 70's then Frost* will not be the band for you. On the other hand if you fancy a bit of modern neo prog then this band are well worth checking out.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Collectors / fans only

My big apology if I am the only one who gives lesser number of stars with 'only' two. But look at the dictionary of stars this site has provided us...the two stars corresponds to 'collectors / fans only'. Why do I dare to say so? Quite simple: the music this album offers is quite confusing even though the composition is is simple and straight forward. In my case I am very disappointed with this release and it's worse than their debut album which I gave a true four stars rating because they really deserved it. What I experience with this album is totally different. The music is so boring to me, there is very little variation in terms of style, melody and/or harmony. Wanna have an example? Look at the ending part of opening track 'Experiments In Mass Appeal' which has repeated notes over and over in a very boring tone.

So since I purchased this limited edition version (CD and DVD - The Making of ..sort of..) I kept thinking about why the music is so boring to me despite my openness to accept various kinds of prog.

Fundamental issue in composition. This is the root cause of everything that makes me getting bored with this album. Almost all songs run in one straight forward structure with minor changes as the music flows. What the band (maybe Mr Godfrey himself?) made was the variations in terms of ups and downs in the vein of The Mars Volta. But this is just a question of volume, being up or being down, without peculiar 'curves' that enrich the composition. Yes there are excellent riffs like those in second track 'Welcome to Nowhere' but unfortunately it's not supported with other good music harmonies. The music is kind like having a loose end with no closure at the end that makes it weak in terms of structural integrity. Observe fourth track 'Saline' that flows nowhere and it sounds like a pop music. I really hate the way the new singer Declan Burke sings's not quite nice to my ears, too tiny. The fifth track 'Dear Dead Days' (6:50) sounds attractive at the intro part but there is DURAN DURAN part that makes me really down. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate Duran2, but I'm not keen to talk about that kind of music in this site. It's like Duran2 in Prog?

Underutilize John Mitchel's Talent. This is a great fallacy. Actually this something to do with composition writing. I know that Mr Godfrey is the major actor in this supergroup music. But I know for sure that John Mitchel is an excellent guitarist in neo prog music. His role in Arena is very dominant. ANd down here with this album it seems like the band (Godfrey) has under utilized his talent. He can contribute more to the music, actually. Looking into deep, actually the roles of John Jowitt and Andy Edwards are also not quite dominant here.

Sonic production. I am also disappointed with the sonic quality of the record especially in handling high volume. It does not sound good at high volume, all components are blended together and there are no separation of channels.

Overall, I do not recommend to have this album. In fact, it's a great disappointment to me having this two CDs version. I don't have any intention to watch the CD two (DVD) - for what if I don't quite favor the music? For the band .. please do not get offended. I am trying to be honest and I prefer being honest than being popular.

Don't shoot me.. I'm just a prog lover!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Now here is a fun album. It's one of those albums I picked up out of curiosity for the many raving reviews it got. Well, it's easy to see why. The music has a very immediate appeal: catchy tunes, big production, intelligent compositions and a strong emotional vocalist who knows how to balance on the edge of a cheese pit without falling into it.

I kept my final judgment about this album in limbo for quite a while. Direct mass appeal always makes me a tad suspicious and I'm not too big a fan of similar sounding bands like Muse, Kean and Dredge. But as it turned out my doubts were largely unjustified. A good year after its release, I find myself enjoying this still as much as the first time.

The opening title track is the best on the album for me: adventurous pop-rock with great melodies and a couple of strong compositional twists. Also Welcome to Nowhere is a striking marriage between the creative energy of prog and the emotionality of pop. And on it goes. Pocket Sun continues the strong quality curve. With its mix of prog and electro, this album accomplishes what I think Pure Reason Revolution tried to accomplish on their second album.

Saline is a sugary sweet ballad, but again it is done very tastefully. We're 24 minutes into the album till the opening of Dear Dead Days finally explains why this is called neo-prog. They luckily manage to avoid the many trappings of the genre, even though I think that the heavy dependency on electronics will make this song sound pretty dated in a few years. Not bad but not my favourite.

Falling Down brings me back into this album's spell. Again it's a lively and original interpretation on all things Muse and Radiohead without being derivative. Toys sticks very close to pop formulas but still it has a rhythmic approach that manages to grab my attention.

I would expect a slightly stronger closing track then Wonderland to hand out 4 stars but this band sound so fresh and frisky I can't help myself but to be charmed by it. Finally a prog collective that brings in a few new twists and sounds into this stale scene called neo-prog. A breath of modern fresh air.

PS. I probably won't be playing it all that much though as my wife thinks it way too lame and tame. (Yes she's a tough lady, totally into Agalloch these days) So be warned. Don't pick this up if you're in a really dark places right now.

Review by TheGazzardian
4 stars Roundabout is a very well known song. It hit the top 20 in the '70s. Show it to a non-prog fan, and you don't have to explain it to them (well, maybe the lyrics). They don't have to have a love of the genre to love the track. Yet it is inherently progressive ... even if a fan of progressive music doesn't like the song, nobody would argue that it's not progressive. It's an iconic song by one of prog's most iconic bands.

Listening to the album, I get the feeling that Gem Godfrey thought, "Why can't all prog be like Roundabout? Why can't I play it around my friends and not fear the accusation of listening to really weird / unlistenable music?"

Perhaps Roundabout wasn't the song that specifically sparked the move to make music in this direction. But the feeling on this album definitely matches the feel of that song - hard rocking, catchy music that's a little bit more than that, but that I feel perfectly comfortable playing around my friends.

All the ingredients for a neo prog album are here, from the somewhat heavy electric guitars to the keyboards. But where many other Neo prog albums try to sound like Genesis or another 70s band, Frost* is using these ingredients to really energise you. To lodge itself in your brain and not let go. And at this, it succeeds. That being said, this album has its quiet moments too, like Saline and You/I. My favorite tracks off of this album include Pocket Sun, Toys, and Dear Dead Days.

Overall, 4 stars - a great album to put on pretty much any time.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars This album caused quite a stir when it came out because it's predecessor, Jem Godfrey's band's debut, Milliontown had garnered a lot of attention and hope. Experiments in Mass Appeal is a collection of songs that are proggy but amped up and condensed to the point of being guilty of packaging for the masses. Where Milliontown had long, slower developing and more typically prog-paced songs, Experiments has created two- to five-minute monsters that would/could have been seven to twelve minutes long. Godfrey's experience as well-known pop producer has led him to this experiment--one that, in my opinion, he pulls off surprisingly well. To be sure, one of the album's songs, "Falling Down" (5:49) (10/10), is one of the most power-packed songs I've heard--and one of the best songs of 2008. Between Godfrey's keyboard/synth work and JOHN MITCHELL (ARENA, KINO)'s blistering guitar work the album is filled with highlights. The vocals are to my liking, though I've often wished to know what Declan Burke's voice would sound like without going so many treatments. Though there are many soft parts ("Experiments in Mass Appeal," "Welcome to Nowhere," "Saline"), it's the fast-paced, incredibly full parts that are so breathtaking.

Best songs: "Pocket Sun" (4:29) (9/10), "Experiments in Mass Appeal" (7:57) 8/10), "Toys" (3:06) (8/10), and of course, the masterful "Falling Down."

The "sixteen minute" epic, "Wonderland," is worth mentioning for its first six minutes--which are top-notch prog rock--but then the song just disappears. It just stops. After about a minute's silence another totally different (and, frankly, much blander) song returns. What's up with that?!

A good album--one that I don't listen to all that often (I think cuz it all kind of blends together, homogenized, if you know what I mean, in one sitting), though I listen to "Falling Down" and the song "Milliontown" quite a lot.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Experiments in Mass Appeal" is the 2nd full-length studio album by UK progressive rock act Frost*. The album was released in November 2008 by InsideOut. I wasnīt necessarily expecting a follow up album to "Milliontown (2006)", as I was under the impression that Frost* was a project more than an actual band, but as the lineup is more or less the same as the one that recorded the debut album (except for the new lead vocalist Declan Burke), I guess I was wrong in that assumption. In addition to bandleader/ keyboard player/ vocalist Jem Godfrey, Frost* consists of members from IQ, Arena, Kino...etc.

The music on the album is hook oriented progressive rock. Frost* very successfully combine hard rocking progressive rock (bordering metal at times) with clever pop melody hooks. The most pop oriented tracks like "Falling Down" and "Toys" come off a bit banale to me, while the more progressive tracks like the opening title track, "Welcome to Nowhere", "Pocket Sun" and "Dear Dead Days" are pretty impressive. The very pop oriented ballad type track "Saline" is a very well composed song and while itīs bordering sirupy, Frost* pull it off. The vocals and the vocal harmonies are pleasant and well sounding and the musicianship on the album is generally very impressive. But the professional sound production (clean, synth driven and powerful) and the way the songs are composed also deserve respect. "Experiments in Mass Appeal" is through and through a very professional sounding quality release. Itīs up to debate if the pop elements are a bit too dominant, but Iīm sure thatīs an aquired taste. Personally I like Frost* the most when they rock out or play their progressive stuff.

Compared to "Milliontown" I find "Experiments in Mass Appeal" slightly less interesting, but I still have great respect for how well produced, well written and well played the album is. Iīd say a 3.5 star rating is warranted. If Frost* were ever to make a fully progressive rock oriented album and skip a couple of the most banale pop elements, I think my interest in the band would increase significantly. They certainly have the right tools to succeed in a mission like that.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Others have already noted that Experiments In Mass Appeal sounds a little like an attempt by Frost* to clamber onto the back of the New Prog bandwagon, as pioneered by the likes of Muse and The Mars Volta - trouble is, by this point even Muse and the Volta themselves were beginning to lose their lustre, and this stab at the New Prog quiet/loud sound by Frost* doesn't really convince me. There's decent performances on here, but I'm not sure the songwriting approach is as polished as that on Milliontown. The attempt to create music which is distinctly proggy and yet at the same time quite accessible is an admirable, but I don't really think it succeeds at doing either.

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4 stars On their second album (there would be quite a pause before the third), Frosty the snowmen largely drop the neo-prog and concentrate on dissolving prog in modern rock sounds - heavy guitars, catchy melodies and lots of electronic effects. While being shorter, at the same time songs are pretty com ... (read more)

Report this review (#1544136) | Posted by Progrussia | Thursday, March 24, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Experiment Successful ! I appreciated very much the first FROST* album "Milliontown", but there was some incertainty that in EMA seem to disappear. Now the band has more personality and balances together neo-prog melodies with hard attacked rythms and guitars in a melting pot which brings out ... (read more)

Report this review (#242258) | Posted by progpromoter | Thursday, October 1, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I was very impressed with Miliontown, so I looked forward to this release. I can say that I like Milliontown a bit more, simply because some of the "sounds" that define Frost* were unveiled in that release, and reprised in this one. It's all part of a group finding its own musical identity, and ... (read more)

Report this review (#229843) | Posted by HotToad5 | Monday, August 3, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album by Frost* is in my opinion almost flawless. Every song is its own little masterpiece and I get extremely excited at the start of each track as I go through the album. I feel it is a good sign when it is too hard to determine a favorite track from an album and I have to conclude that ... (read more)

Report this review (#225399) | Posted by natewait | Thursday, July 9, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A Masterpiece! A REAL masterpiece!!! Frost* at their BEST! The albums consists of 9 wonderful tracks that have nothing to do with everything heard before. First of all, the album's production has all the elements of what a perfect progressive production must have. Everything is clear and caref ... (read more)

Report this review (#220761) | Posted by FatalV | Friday, June 12, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars After the great Milliontown album I was quite looking forward to the Frost's next CD. And. Quite a disappointment, for a start. WHERE THE HECK IS PROG? - that's what first came to mind. First song, Experiments In Mass Appeal, seemed like heard somewhere already. It took a couple of minutes to ... (read more)

Report this review (#209258) | Posted by Pampa | Monday, March 30, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Well this is my first review on PA, but I hope to start writing many more. Why is this relevant to the reader?You need to think of the motivation for me to start, and I can honestly think of no better place to start than with a relatively new release that quite simply, has blown me away. This al ... (read more)

Report this review (#206015) | Posted by DC | Tuesday, March 10, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Read the enthusiasm on the reviews, I was expecting more, and in my opinion this one is a weaker prog album than the excellent Milliontown (despite its lousy vocals). I have waited several spins to see if Experiments... was a grower, like it happens with many great records found here in PA. Inst ... (read more)

Report this review (#204070) | Posted by ingmin68 | Monday, February 23, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Transparent. That's my one word description of this album. These guys can write and play well - there's no question about that - yet the music lacks any purpose or emotion. Objectively, this should be a great record - lots of proggy elements in the form of multi-structured songs, tempo shif ... (read more)

Report this review (#203817) | Posted by FlowerA | Friday, February 20, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Good album, some excellent tracks - the opener is great, along with the firs tracks, all the way through to Dear Dead Days - sadly then the album takes a wrong turn and the rest of the tracks are simply disappointing. They're softer, granted, but not in the good soft way like the excellent track ... (read more)

Report this review (#201819) | Posted by Staker | Thursday, February 5, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Trully exceptional..This is only my fourth review here and I risk being accused of reviewing only masterpieces..Well the truth is that I find a bit unappealing to bash albums or bands..Thats why I tend to review something when I come accross something truely fantastic as this band and this album ... (read more)

Report this review (#199925) | Posted by surrounded23 | Tuesday, January 20, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I honestly did not expect an album like this when i first put it on. I knew they'd done a new album, but i hadn't heard much about it until I listened to it- Milliontown was good, but a bit too dominated by the title track, which is too long for their style of music in my opinion. I put it on, a ... (read more)

Report this review (#197137) | Posted by Brutha2 | Sunday, January 4, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Masterpiece. Frost* is one of the few prog bands that I can like immediately and continuously. Fans of Milliontown won't be disappointed. I don't know if I can make any sure judgments as to whether or not it surpasses it's predecessor, but it certainly achieves its Awesome in much the same way. ... (read more)

Report this review (#190423) | Posted by Atheil | Tuesday, November 25, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I'd been looking forward to this release from Frost* for a while now and finally got myself a copy, and I was quite impressed. I will first say that this album is drastically different from Milliontown-the songs are all shorter and more concise, and as the band acknowledged there was supposedly a ... (read more)

Report this review (#190112) | Posted by AdamantVision | Friday, November 21, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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