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Frost* - Milliontown CD (album) cover





3.83 | 447 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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 grāce 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.

progaeopteryx | 3/5 |


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